7 Key Email Marketing Metrics Ranked & Explained in Plain English

Email marketing is a mix of art and science.

What’s the art part? That’s idea generation.

The science part comes from analyzing the results of your email marketing ideas.

So let’s go through the most important email marketing metrics and what they mean for your business.

Open Rate (most overrated)

Open Rate is the percentage of your subscribers who opened your email. 

If you send 10,000 emails and 5,000 people open it, you have a 50% open rate.

A high open rate means:

    • Your subjects line are effective

    • Your subscribers value what you have to say

A low open rate means

    • Your emails suck and your readers don’t trust you

    • You’ve abused your email list

So why is open rate the most overrated email marketing metric?

The Technical Reason: open rates are not reliable because of the way Apple iOS handles email, and because of some user settings.

The Money Reason: emails that get the highest open rates never generate the most sales. This is because super-sexy headlines often overpromise and underdeliver – so they don’t build trust.

So yeah, don’t obsess over open rates.

Related: How to boost your email open rates

Click-Through Rate

Your click-through rate (or CTR) is the percentage of your subscribers clicked on a link in your email. 

If you send 10,000 emails and 1,000 people click, you have a 10% click-through-rate.

Technically speaking, you only count emails which were delivered to inboxes, but we’re keeping this super simple for this article.

A high click-through rate means:

    • Your content is engaging and relevant to your email subscribers

    • You make effective calls to action (CTA) in your emails

A low click-through rate means:

    • Your content stinks

    • You don’t make effective calls to action in your emails

    • You’ve abused your list and you’re not trusted

Click-rates are reliable because they can only be registered by an action.

And let me state the obvious – an email with no links can’t be clicked. Just keep that in mind when you are an analyzing a list.

I don’t have links in all my emails.

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate is the percentage of your subscribers that took a specific action, like buying your online course or joining your premium subscription service

A high conversion rate indicates:

    • Your email list trusts you

    • You are making strong calls to action

    • Your offers are great

    • Your sales page is strong

A low conversion rate means:

    • Your subscribers don’t trust you

    • You make weak calls to action

    • Your subscribers don’t want what you’re selling

    • Your sales page stinks

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of your emails were not delivered because of problems like incorrect email addresses or your email was blocked.

A high bounce rate (bad) means:

    • You need to clean your email list

    • You need to improve your emails

A low bounce rate (good) means:

    • You have a good relationship with your email list

    • You write effective emails

Unsubscribe Rate

Your Unsubscribe rate: the percentage of your subscribers that unsubscribed from your email list.

A high unsubscribe rate (not good or bad) means:

    • Your content is not engaging

    • You are targeting the wrong people

    • You push your products hard

    • You have not set the right expectations for your list regarding send frequency

A low unsubscribe (not good or bad) rate shows:

    • Your content is engaging

    • You are targeting the right people

    • You don’t sell hard enough

    • Your emails are not being opened (people can’t unsubscribe if the don’t open your emails

Email List Growth Rate

Your email list growth rate tells you how fast your list is growing each month. (or whatever time frame you choose)

A high email list growth rate means:

    • Your list marketing is working

    • Your content is great

A low email list growth rate means:

    • You stink at lead and/or traffic generation

    • You need better content

Emotion Rate

I created the term “Emotion Rate” for the number of emotional reactions you get to an email.

For example, do you get:

    • People writing you back saying “I loved this” or “are you an idiot?”

    • People talking about your emails on social media

This stuff is hard to track, but if you are getting lots of emotional reactions, you are on the right path.

Your emails are resonating with people.

So Which Email Marketing Metrics Are Important?

I rank these email marketing metrics in this order:

    1. Conversion rate

    1. Click Rate

    1. Email List Growth Rate

    1. Emotion Rate

    1. Open Rate

    1. Unsubscribe Rate

    1. Bounce Rate

Why this order? Because I value what makes you money.

And what makes money?

Getting people to buy, which requires making good offers, getting people to click, growing your list, and so on.

Many newbie email markets will obsess over unsubscribe rates and bounce rates, but this is a mistake.

You don’t want to base your strategy around the people that don’t like your messages.

You are far better off doing more of what buyers like.

And why is open rate ranked so low?

Because as you know, email open rates are not accurate.

And very often – the email that gets lots of opens does not make you money.

If you want to learn the stuff that does make you money, enter your email below.

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