Email best practices

How to test your email campaigns for different KPIs

Split testing without a specific goal is just wasting time. But how do you identify and test the right KPIs for your business?. We tell you here.

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In our almighty A/B Testing Beginner’s Guide for Email Marketing, we told you that knowing what and why you want doing testing is crucial. Split testing without a specific goal is just wasting your precious time.

But how do you identify and test the right KPIs for your business? Not sure? No worries, help is on the way.

What is a KPI? We hear you ask...

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are figures that reflect a company's performance. KPIs are used by organizations to evaluate success against predefined targets. You might remember yours from your annual appraisal, we’re sure it was a glowing report! Different departments will have different perspectives and priorities, that together, are aimed to achieve the overall objectives of the business. For example, the marketing team might focus on market share, while accounting, might look at; profitability, cost coverage etc. Typical KPIs for an online business might include; website traffic, sign ups, and revenue. For email solutions (like ourselves) KPIs include; newsletter sign ups, open, click, conversion, spam, bounce and unsubscribe rates. We’re a big fan of rates ?.

KPIs help you to make qualified decisions and identify activities that might need to be rethought. Without them, how do we define success? Unless you're a 21st century Albert Einstein, you might find it impossible to make important decisions. KPIs are to the rescue, to help us answer three (seemingly) simple questions:

  • Are we achieving our goals?

  • Do we need to change our strategy and if so, how?

  • What are our current strengths and weaknesses?

How do you choose the best KPIs for your business?

The hard part is choosing the right metrics, and not succumbing to data paralysis. Follow these four steps and you’ll impress your boss, no kidding!

Step 1 - Define your business objectives: This one is crucial and will act as your foundations. If you don’t have clear business objectives, you won’t be able to set email marketing KPIs. Remember, every action you take should help you to achieve your KPIs and your organizations’ objectives. For example, they could include; selling product X, do great marketing and build brand trust - to name just a few.

Step 2 - Set specific goals: With your defined objectives in mind, you can now set specific goals. Good questions to ask yourself are; “What action should my subscribers perform after receiving my emails?”, “How is email marketing helping me reach my goals?”. Possible targets could be; more sales, increase unique visits, increase profit margins, more newsletter subscribers, fulfill your customer’s need, build a customer database for marketing, serve as a leading resource community. The list goes on!

Keep in mind that goals can influence each other. If you want to win more customers and gain more profit at the same time, with both new and existing customers, this can mean a target conflict. Be careful, not to define too many goals and make sure that you can measure your achievements objectively. How? (We hear you ask). With tangible results.

Step 3 - Set your KPIs: The business objectives are defined and your goals are set. Now it’s time to set up specific email KPIs, to measure your achievements. Ask yourself, “What data will validate my goals?”. You might want to consider, new sign ups per month, increased open rates, the number of visits to your website. We could literally go on forever, but we won’t ?.

Step 4 - Define KPI Targets: We’re no longer messing about, it’s time to set achievable target values ​​for each KPI. Setting concrete numbers will let you know if you achieve your targets. For example; 5.000 new customers, 250 sign ups per week, 30 percent open rate etc. Quantifying your success can help you react accordingly.

Email KPIs that you can test and how

Now you know how to define relevant KPIs for your business. It is time to get stuck in. The best way to achieving your goals is with split testing.

Newsletter sign ups

Before sending beautifully designed email campaigns to your target audience, you need to build a qualified contact list. You might think your list needs more subscribers, so increasing newsletter sign ups should be your first focus. Define a specific KPI target, including the timeframe you want to reach a certain amount of (new) newsletter subscribers.

The easiest way to win people is by implementing a beautiful newsletter subscription widget. Test the placement and the newsletter subscription widget itself. Play around with wording, button colors etc. Create different versions and analyze which one performs best.

Tip: Give your target group a good reason to sign up. Besides sending valued information on a regular basis, create a nice freebie (perhaps an ebook, whitepaper or promo code) and give it as an incentive. Try different giveaways to find the one your user really want.

Open rate

A good open rate is a prerequisite for the success of an email campaign. Define the specific target you want to achieve and the timeframe - then go for it. There are three elements which affect the open rate: Your subject line, preheader text and from name. Remember, to test all three elements.

Your goal should be to write compelling subject lines in your niche. No one wants to be the Buzz Aldrin of email marketing, you know (or not as the case may be) that guy who walked second on the moon after Neil Armstrong ?. Achieve your goal by playing around with; length, personalization, urgency, questions and even emojis. We have just the resource you need, to know everything about creating fantastic subject lines.

Think of your preheader text, as an extension of your subject line. It’s a second opportunity to wow your subscribers and convince them to open YOUR email.

The from name is one of the most underrated email elements. If you’re a trusted brand then the name is the only thing your readers need to want your email. True fans take all the information they can get. So choose it wisely. But not everyone's that lucky, build trust by focusing on that element - try different names. Split test more professional (Mailjet Marketing Team, Mailjet Team) against more personal versions (Juliane from Mailjet) to see what works best for you.

Click rate

In most cases, your open metrics are only the first step in pursuit of the final goal. You want your subscribers to open your email and perform an action. Perhaps it’s to download a specific piece of content, sign up for an event and of course… purchase your product. If your KPI is to increase click rate by X% - test your product pictures, descriptions, Call-to-Action’s, referral codes, social banners and any other elements you can think of.

Block, spam and unsubscribe rates

Building a nice contact list is hard work. Losing newsletter subscribers can be heartbreaking and you may be left feeling unloved. So take action by, treating your audience (as well as your family, friends and your significant other). Analyze your current block, spam and unsubscribe rates and set (realistic) goals.

The best way to keep your readers on your side is to create email campaigns which fit their needs. Ask them! What topics can’t your audience not get enough of? What products and services do your customers want? People want to be entertained. Test different types of interactive content - videos, animated pictures, polls, interactive maps, accordions and more.

You should look at your KPIs at least once a month. However, a daily evaluation can be useful under certain circumstances, so you can react in a timely manner. The frequency of your analysis might be dependent on the work involved. And last but not least, visualize your KPI in the form of graphs. It helps you keep track and shows your boss you understand what you are doing.

Whats your experience with set up KPIs and test for it? What are your struggles? Tell us all on Twitter.

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