As we have noted in previous articles an email campaign doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you take a little time to repurpose good blog posts or other web content and use a web based tool like Constant Contact or MailChimp you can put out a steady stream of solid email campaigns without expending too much time or effort.
The real question then becomes, “How do I know it worked?” The answer comes in knowing how to decipher the stats an email campaign produces. For the sake of illustration we are going to look at the kind of information MailChimp provides a user, in real time, to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign. Other services like Constant Contact and iContact use similar terminology.
Here is what you can see in a snapshot about any email campaign:
- Who was sent – The list of email addresses you chose for this campaign.
- Who bounced - Ignore soft bounces. These have to do with problems with the mail server the email was sent to and usually are just temporary glitches. Hard bounces almost always indicate a bad email address. Often times the visitor who gave their email address made a minor input error which can be manually corrected.
- Who unsubscribed – MailChimp allows a user to indicate why they unsubscribed. Whatever you do, respect the user’s wishes and don’t force their name back on a list. People don’t like SPAM for any reason.
- Who opened/Who did not open – Mail Chimp has a useful star rating that allows you to look at your list at a glance and see which names you need to concentrate on in your next campaign. You may, for example, want to target those are consistently reading your emails and target them with some kind of special offer or thanks.
- URLs clicked – Every good email should have some kind of call to action that links back to your blog or web site. In a quick look you can see how many people actually clicked on something and where on your site that took them. MailChimp also produces a graphical representation of your email that shows what percentage of clicks was made on each link. If you send out an email newsletter with multiple links this enable you to easily visualize how well the different sections of the newsletter did.
The Wider Net of Social Media Influence
Mail Chimp allows you to add various social media buttons on your email that allow recipients to become social media evangelists for our content. They can share your email through Twitter, mark it as liked on Facebook, or post a comment directly to Facebook that links back to the email campaign. This gets the ball rolling on organic growth in followers. You targeted 500 email addresses but those 500 might also spread the word with a simple click of a button to 500 more.
Both Constant Contact and MailChimp produce easy to read graphs and charts that help you to quickly determine the effectiveness of your overall email strategy. At one glance you can find the highs and lows of opens, bounces, click-throughs and other actions.
By studying these results you can make educated adjustments to your next email campaign and eliminate a lot of the guess work out of what will work and what will not.