While digital channels are constantly evolving and new outlets keep popping up, email consistently remains the marketing outlet with the highest ROI. Whether it’s because of near-universal adoption, the potential to create personalized dynamic content that meets specific user needs, or the simplicity of email marketing automation, this channel engages leads and helps them convert more than any other channel. To understand how to improve your email marketing and start seeing these results, you need to know how to measure email marketing success.

Here are the metrics you should be tracking:

1. Delivery Rate

Your delivery rate refers to the percentage of emails that were successfully delivered to contacts in your list. Email bounce rate is the direct opposite of delivery rate, effectively measuring the same thing — how many contacts in your list are actually getting your emails?

If you have a low delivery rate or high bounce rate, it could indicate that you’re working with a low quality list, or that emails contained within your list are invalid. It’s also possible that your list contains a high number of role-based email addresses, such as sales@, info@, etc.

It’s important to regularly remove email addresses that bounce to maintain your list health and positive sender reputation. Additionally, many CRM and email automation platforms require you to pay by number of contacts stored, so saving bad contacts is essentially throwing away your marketing budget.

2. Open Rate

Once the email gets to your contacts’s inbox, half the battle is getting them to open it. This metric specifically compares the number of people who opened the email to the number of successful deliveries in the form of a percentage. Most businesses should aim for an email open rate around 20% – 25%, depending on industry, list size and list quality.

A lot of factors might impact your open rate. Be sure to carefully consider your subject line and preheader text, as these short pieces of information are the only opportunity you have to convince an email recipient that your message is worth reading. You should consider experimenting with emojis and personalization in both these areas to help boost your open rate. You’ll also need to make your subject and pre-header compelling while avoiding spam-traps too (see deliverability above!). Read more about Subject Lines That Convert.

Be sure to also be mindful of the send time — if you’re sending your email at an odd hour, it might get buried in an inbox between other marketing messages and never get opened. For B2B messages, it’s best to send emails around mid-morning, while B2C messages might perform better in the afternoons or evenings when people are more likely to check their personal accounts.

3. Click-Through Rate

Click through rate (or CTR) indicates a percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email. It’s important to note that this metric is looking at the percentage of overall recipients, not the percentage of recipients who opened the email. If your open rate is around 25%, you might expect to see a CTR around 3% to 5%.

Once the email gets opened, there are likely a few possible actions for your user to take. When designing your email, include links to your website. When sending a newsletter, have a variety of links to blog posts, articles and upcoming events. A sales-focused message, however, might only have one link, repeated in multiple places, in an effort to maximize click-through rate.

4. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is similar to CTR but takes it one step further. While CTR measures all outbound link clicks, conversion rate refers to the number of people who took the primary desired action. For example, in an email invitation to prospects for an upcoming event, have a clear call to action (CTA) that tells prospects to “Click here to reserve a spot.” Also include a link to your home page, a link to learn more about the event and a few links to other channels. While CTR looks at clicks on all of these links, email conversion rate would look specifically at the recipients who made a reservation after reading the message.

Make Measurements Count

To gauge the effectiveness of your efforts, you need to know how to measure your email marketing success.

There are many email marketing KPIs that you might track to understand your email marketing performance, but you should focus on the ones that make the most sense for your specific campaign and business objectives.

With analytics tools built into SharpSpring’s email marketing automation platform, you don’t have to ask yourself how to measure email marketing success — the data is immediately within reach.

For more on how to measure your email marketing campaign, talk to us or get a demo.


How to Measure Email Marketing Success is part 3 of 4 in our new “Measuring Marketing Success” series! Check back soon for our next installment.

Rebecca Wentworth