The Five R’s of Email Tracking


There is so much that goes into a good email campaign; the content team has to align with the creative team who has to align with the account team and finally the client has to approve… that is, if there aren’t more revisions. And don’t forget about testing to make sure it’s optimized, that all links are working, and your alt tags are updated.

So once you finally get it all together and get anxiety because you think you’ve missed something, double -and triple-check, and FINALLY hit send, you give yourself a pat on the back and move on to the next assignment.

But does it really end there?

In this article I am going to teach you some secret weapons you can use in your email marketing campaigns to drive your revenue further, by understanding which email metrics work best for your operation, and which strategies need to be reexamined.

The cool thing about marketing automation is that you can find out exactly what your customers or leads clicked on in your email, and follow their actions as they click from your email onto your website, thus following their journey and picking up their interests along the way. This is imperative in getting to know your customer.

So, let me first reiterate an important email marketing questions: “When it comes to tracking my email campaigns, what metrics should I look for? Opens, clicks, click-through, unsubscribes, bounces?”

I think it goes a little bit beyond that; to really use email tracking effectively you need to go beyond vanity metrics — you need to take the information in your reports and do something with it.

Now let’s look at the five R’s of email tracking, and how it can help create new opportunities for your operations:

1. Reward your most engaged subscribers

Where to look: Your clicks.

Why: Wouldn’t it be awesome if you knew who your most loyal customers are?

With marketing automation, you can identify your most loyal customers through their interactions with your business. Highly engaged contacts are an invaluable resource for your business because they can work as an extension of your marketing team. By providing an incentive for them to share and promote your content, it inevitably leads to more traffic for your website.

What to do next: Take the contacts that have interacted with most of the recent email campaigns (opens, clicks, goes to a website, etc.), and add them to a separate list of VIP contacts. Send this group a special campaign to reward their interest.

This could be an exclusive offer, a piece of helpful content, or information about joining a brand ambassador program.

Sephora does an excellent job at this by rewarding their most loyal customers with special VIB status:

Welcome to the top

2. Reengage those who have lost interest

Where to look: Did Not Open

Why: Not everyone who joins your list will stay engaged, but reminding subscribers of their importance and giving them a chance to reconnect with you could regain their attention and trust, if you’ve lost it. This can increase your open rates for future email campaigns and ensure your business stays top of mind with contacts that have started to tune you out.

What to do next: Send a special offer or incentive to encourage subscribers to reconnect with you. You could also send them a quick survey to gather more insight into what’s interesting to them. Ask two or three quick questions, like what products/services they are most interested in and how often they want to hear from you.

Here’s how The GAP sent a “Because We Miss You” email with a 40% off coupon to reconnect with their subscribers. They also included some subscription preferences:

No alt text provided for this image

3. Remove those you can no longer reach

Where to look: Bounced emails

Why: Emails bounce for a variety of reasons. Things like server errors, full mailboxes, and out of office messages often cause temporary issues, but out-of-date or nonexistent addresses are often permanent problems. Regularly removing contacts with ongoing issues will help you maintain a strong delivery rate and increase your open rate.

What to do next: Export a list of bounced emails and look for those with ongoing issues. If you have an alternative way of reaching a contact, via phone or in person, follow up with them for updated information. If you have contacts that consistently bounce, remove them from your list.

A good point of reference for this might be any contact that has not opened one of your emails in over a year.

Then, you can get in touch with them, letting them know they will be removed from your email list unless they opt back in to receive your content. Easy as that!

4. Reevaluate your sending schedule

Where to look: Open rate and unsubscribes

Why: Sticking to a consistent schedule can help manage your subscribers’ expectations of when they’ll hear from you. But how confident are you that you’re sending emails as often as your subscribers like? And do you know what time and day to send to get the best results? Getting your timing and frequency right will result in more eyes on your emails.

What to try next: Look to the industry trends to see what time and day typically perform best for your industry. After sending an email at this time, check back with your reports to see if your open rates are higher than usual. Many ESP’s can now do this automatically, so make sure you check!

To find the right frequency, you can survey your subscribers to ask how often they want to hear from you. While long-form newsletters used to be the norm, you should consider sending more frequent newsletters with less information to accommodate mobile readers. Just make sure you aren’t turning people off with too many messages — if you see a spike in unsubscribes, dial back on your sending frequency.

An example here is from Jack and Jones who are excellent at doing this. I receive their emails at 8-9 pm when I am home from work, relaxing, and actually have time to read promotions – and it works for me.


5. Reconsider your design

Where to look: Mobile open rate, click-through rate

Why: With more than half of all emails now opened on a mobile device, many small business owners need to give their emails a makeover. Switching to a mobile-friendly template makes it easier for readers to view your emails from any device. Following mobile best practices also encourages people to take action on the information you’re sending out.

What to try next: Best practices will tell you that email campaigns with about 20 lines of text and three or fewer images receive the highest click-through rate.

Make sure to track your mobile opens to see what percentage of your audience is opening emails from their mobile device. Before you send your email, send a test email to yourself and make sure your call to action appears prominently even on a small screen. After making these layout changes, check back with your click-throughs to see if more people are engaging with your links.

What can you do today?

Tracking your emails can help you stay on top of your marketing and identify new opportunities for your business. Try out one of these five ideas and check back with your reports to see if your actions are making an impact.

Do you know your customer?

Reward your most engaged subscribers,

Reengage those who have lost interest,

Remove those you can no longer reach,

Reevaluate your sending schedule, and

Reconsider your design.

And those are the five R’s of email tracking. Please reach out if you need a hand with this or have any questions related to email marketing or automation – I’m always open to helping out!


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