Measurement Hierarchies

Measuring and tracking email KPIs allows you to access and foresee how successful your different email campaigns can be in terms of lead and revenue generation.

Robbie Fitzwater
Updated on

You might have seen me talk a lot about the different perks of email marketing. The main reason why I can’t get over it is that it allows you to track your performance more accurately than any other form of marketing, such as social media. 

So, today I’m going to be diving deep into that concept and talk about KPIs, what they are, how they work, what are the best practices to improve them, and so on – in a nutshell, everything you need to know to up your email marketing game. 

Without any further ado, let’s get started!

What are Email KPIs?

So, KPIs (Key performance indicators) or OKRs, depending on the way your organization looks at them, are the measures of judging how successful your different email marketing or marketing campaigns in general are. These KPIs can provide you with various types of insights, considering how you apply them. But let me walk you through our concept of KPIs, what we think of them, and how we recommend using them.

I think our approach is a little bit unconventional in terms of thinking through how you can apply them for framing the individual strategy, then optimizing at a team level and then at an organizational level. 

For us, it is all about connecting the dots between what we are doing in an email on a daily basis and how we’re performing as an organization in terms of what we want to be doing and how we want to be growing.

We’ll discuss all of this good stuff and a lot more in detail down below that you can apply in different areas of marketing, so hang tight!

Our Top Email Marketing Metrics

Typically you’ll see them as the click-through rate, open rate, unsubscribe rate, etc. But we dig a bit more deeply into that. We look at them to understand how well we are connecting the dots between business outcomes and the work we’re doing in email. 

That way, we can pull a lot of information around how much revenue did we drive from our automations? How much did we make from campaigns? How well did we grow our list? How many percent of our e-commerce revenue comes from our email marketing? How good is our click-through rate? Are we able to make people take actions that we desire? How many people are opting in for our webinars, our newsletters, our VIP list, and so on, depending on how your business model looks like.

For example, for B2B businesses, it would be more of webinars, sign-ups, and marketing qualified leads, and for e-commerce, it would be more of direct transactions, how well our win-back or back-in-stock automations are working, etc. 

Not to mention that in the e-commerce space (such as Shopify), we have the luxury of connecting those dots a bit more definitively since every action is taken online and that sales cycle is also compressed and not as long as a typical B2B cycle that lingers on for months and years. 

So back to KPIs – this is how we structure and analyze them for our clients. And again, it’s going to be different for each of them based on their audience hierarchies and their requirements.

Overall, we really like this framework of aligning the marketing strategy with business objectives.

How to Measure KPIs in Email Marketing?

So for measuring email KPIs, I use three terminologies that are actually three layers of my KPI measurement framework. 

·      Engagement based metrics

Starting off with the engagement-based metrics, these are going to be more about email-specific things like opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and other goals you may have. Basically, it would be something more in weeds that the person at a higher level in the organization doesn’t need to understand. But for you, as an email marketer, it would give some really useful directional insights and help you figure out that, hey, this is working, and this is not, which area requires more of your focus and which doesn’t, which campaign is driving the desired results and which is not and so on. 

Therefore, as an individual email marketer, this should be on my personal dashboard and have my attention. Again, it’s not going to impact other people in the organization but knowing these details and having these insights is what’s going to help me make informed decisions.

·      Performance-Based Metrics

When we move a layer up, we have the performance-based metrics that are a little bit more robust than engagement-based metrics because, at this level, we involve other team members too, where we measure stuff like list growth and revenue from automations, flows, campaigns, etc.  

This would also make a really easy place for offering more subscriptions on different products. For example, if you have some replenishable product, and you offer a new subscription for it, that is where new subscribers are going to come in. 

So, I hope you can connect the dots here that first, we are engaging an audience, monitoring their clicks and activity, and then ideally have them move one level up and convert into buyers. Because that’s also what we want – revenue generated as a result of their engagement with our content that we share in the form of campaigns and automations since clicks alone will not feed our families. 

·      Value-based Metrics

When we move another level up, we realize better that, hey, why are those opens and clicks important? Well, it’s because they are connected to the number of new and repeat customers and the amount of revenue derived from them. 

So, at this point, it has gone far above and beyond the individual or team level; it’s the organizational level now. 

That’s where the value-based metrics come into the picture because they help us tie our high-level organizational goals with the work we’re doing at the individual level.

This is how this framework gives us a lot of power in terms of understanding what we are doing at different levels, what we must do, and how well it translates to people outside our team. 

For example, if I’m not a part of your marketing team, I may not be familiar with what do opens and clicks mean, but if I’m told that these clicks are what’s helping us drive that revenue, then I’ll be like, oh yeah, great then, keep doing that and more stuff like that.  

All in all, if you’re looking at your organization’s OKR or KPI, it’s all going to be connected and directly correlated. And this is the kind of framework we like to use with our clients to make sure that we’re pulling the levers that impact the revenue of the business’s bottom line the way we want to.

Even for leading marketing teams, I use the same framework where there are 5-6 members, each having their own individual engagement-based metrics that they’re shooting for on a daily and weekly basis.

And as a team, we have performance-based metrics to shoot for, and finally, on the organizational level, we again have a north star to look to!

I know this is a little bit upstream than the conventional email KPI concept, but it gives you a lot of power to communicate the value of what you’re doing and what goals you want to achieve in the long term.

Should I look at different KPIs for campaigns and automations?

As any other marketer, I’d say it depends. But your expectations from both should be different. Ideally, you should have a higher level of intent for automations because they are super contextual based on what somebody does or doesn’t do. 

They should be higher performing because those automations are going to send the same emails over and over again, so they need constant monitoring like how well are their click and open rate performing and how much revenue are they driving. 

And then, with those regular checks, you can finally figure out that, hey, this one is performing better than that other version, and so we need to go with this one. 

Whereas campaigns are going to be a little bit different than that. For example, for some campaigns, you’ll need to understand that they’ll drive less revenue than the others, but they might be engaging your audience in a better way. And that engagement is necessary for earning the right to ask them to take a specific action like buying your product or signing up for your VIP list. 

Also, that’s where you need to understand that some campaigns need to be looked at a bit differently. For instance, a content campaign and a promotion campaign are entirely two separate things. So to get what you want out of them, make your audience take specific actions, you reverse engineer the behavior you want to see to ensure you’re correctly judging their performance. 

And this process will be totally seamless and smooth because you’ll ideally be keeping all your monthly and quarterly records. That way, you’ll know all along how you’re performing, if you’re losing or winning? 

How to improve your KPIs? – Our Best Practices

So, how do we improve our KPIs? How do I suggest you do that? Here are three simple practices you can opt for;

1.    Make them visible

Make them visible to everyone in the organization, and help them understand what you’re doing and how you’re measuring that. The better you can explain it to them, the better position you’ll be in as a marketer. 

2.    Make the team accountable

And secondly, accountability is really important. Making those individuals and then the whole team accountable for their performances is a really powerful way to bring some improvements. This would make them realize that somebody has to take ownership and responsibility for their actions. Because simply, what’s accountable is what gets measured. So measuring those actions and how they affect your business is actually what’s going to help you learn and grow simultaneously. This will make a great information system if you want to improve consistently like you can collect all those insights and apply them directly to different matters. 

For example, has this worked before? Continue doing that. And for something that didn’t work as expected, you can discontinue that or bring about some changes, test those amendments, reapply those strategies and see if it results in any improvement. 

In a nutshell, this is a really great way to continually evolve your marketing.

3.    Mark it on your scoreboard

Keeping a record of what you’ve been doing all along is something you shouldn’t miss out on because this is what’s going to help you keep track of your performances, how well are you doing, if you’re winning or losing, where you need to stop and re-evaluate. 

It also really helps understand if you’re taking lessons from the past and making the correct decisions moving forward because we don’t want to be making the same mistakes, right? 

So marking it all on a scoreboard is something that will help you focus on the right things and achieve the right outcomes. That way, you’ll have no justification to continue doing what you’re doing if the results are not fruitful or are not leading you towards your revenue goals.

Conclusion

In short, I know my technique is a little bit unconventional, but this is something we have tried and tested for years for our clients, and it always works wonders, so we thought, why not share it with you guys?

So, hey, please take your KPIs seriously because, as I said earlier, what get’s measured gets managed. And without that management, figuring out what actions to take, which direction to move in, and what changes to bring would be next to impossible. 

I hope you found it all interesting and informative, and although I tried to cover as many points as I could, please let us know in the comment section below if you think we missed something because we always love having feedback from you guys, cheers!

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