Marketing & Growth

Does the ROI From Your Email Marketing Measure Up?

By Rieva Lesonsky

No one can deny email marketing is still a crucial part of every business’s marketing strategy. In fact, according to data from Ascend2 and Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex’s report “Email Marketing Trends—B2B Benchmarks for 2015,” B2B businesses use email to boost engagement (62 percent), generate leads (57 percent), improve customer acquisition and retention (43 percent), and nurture leads (42 percent). When asked if they believe email marketing will help them achieve these objectives, a whopping 91 percent of respondents say it can. That’s a lot of confidence and obviously means email marketing is working for these businesses. But how does your email marketing success compare to theirs?

When measuring email marketing success, most marketers look at a few key metrics: Seventy-three percent of survey respondents consider the click-through rate the most useful metric to determine success. Conversion rate comes in a close second at 71 percent. And although open rate and email ROI—the next top contenders—lag behind at 42 percent and 40 percent respectively, ROI is important to understanding an email campaign’s performance so you can better understand your customers and increase your sales.

You can calculate your email marketing ROI by gathering a few numbers and entering them into this online email marketing ROI calculator. You’ll need to know:

  1. The type of calculation you want to solve: whether by time period (month or year) or by email campaign.
  2. Your email volume (the number of emails that were actually sent, not bounced addresses)
  3. Your open, click and conversion rates
  4. The net conversion value. This is the monetary value that an average conversion adds to your email campaign profit, and is also called contribution margin.
  5. The total costs (all the costs involved in your email marketing campaigns)

It’s difficult to benchmark your success against other companies’ campaigns unless you know your competitors’ key metrics. MailChimp recently released its Average Email Campaign Stats of MailChimp Customers by Industry (or you can check by company size).

To increase your numbers, here are some tips to follow:

  • According to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing report, 66 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device—so make sure your email is readable across all types of mobile devices.
  • The first step to getting your email opened is getting past the spam filters. Avoid spammy keywords and phrases such as “Clearance” and “Lowest price.” When it comes to subject lines, don’t sell what’s inside; instead tell what engaging content the recipient will get to read.
  • If your analytics show recipients think your email is spam it means they don’t remember your company. Make sure the “From” and “Subject” lines contain your company name.
  • Know your audience. B2B email recipients don’t want a sales pitch. They want to be informed about options, read helpful or entertaining content, or learn about real-life solutions. Use “more info” as your call to action, instead of “buy now.”
  • In the B2B sales process, there are usually many channels of approval to go through, so make sure your email isn’t too geared towards one decision maker. For example, touch on the technical advantages of your product or service, but don’t get so techy that you turn off other readers who might not understand.

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