Home  › Email › Email Marketing
email-tricks

How to Create a Template to Track Key Email Marketing Metrics

  |  December 24, 2012   |  Comments

Don't overwhelm senior executives with too much information in your daily and weekly reports.

A key benefit of the email channel is its ability to provide tracking and reporting, but many organizations get overwhelmed by the amount of information available. This actually hinders their ability to use it effectively.

Case in point: an organization I'm working with sends out daily and weekly email reports to upper level executives. Here's the rub: the spreadsheet includes 45 columns worth of data! That's column A through column AU; if you print out the report, it's a full six pages worth of data in landscape format.

Here's how they get to 45 columns:

  • Two columns are the name of the email and the ID number to find the send in the email service provider's dashboard
  • 15 columns are dedicated to send quantity and bounce information
  • Six columns cover open and click-through information
  • Three columns are information on survey responses
  • Another three columns talk about conversions
  • Nine columns provide metrics on forward-to-a-friend
  • Four columns are about spam complaints
  • Three columns relate information about unsubscribes

While this level of detail may be necessary for the marketing manager, it's too much for the VP and other higher-ups (who requested the report); they're looking for a quick snapshot of what's going on. And this doesn't meet that goal.

Here's a quick overview of the basic reporting template I use with my clients. It's enough to provide a snapshot and let the people closest to the email program know where they need to investigate in more detail.

email-tracking-report-template-th

Let's start at the top! One of my pet peeves is getting documents from clients with no information on when it was compiled, who compiled it, or how to contact that person. If you have questions or just want to say "nice job!" it's difficult to know who to reach out to. Every report should have a standard header that includes this information (see above).

I also include some benchmarks and standards in my metrics reports; this provides context for the reader and puts the numbers in perspective. A 3.9 percent click-through rate may seem low, but when you compare it to an industry benchmark of 3.7 percent and an internal benchmark of 4 percent it doesn't look so bad. Including both industry and internal benchmarks is important; this way you're comparing performance to the larger email marketing world as well as what your company has been able to accomplish. Be sure to include footnotes on the source of these metrics.

The first three columns are basics: email name, ID number, and date sent.

When it comes to send quantity and bounces, I use just two columns: the total quantity sent (giving the reader a feel for the magnitude of the send) and the non-bounce rate (the percentage of email messages sent that didn't result in a bounce message). For a basic report, these two columns cover it; it's not necessary to provide the raw data on number of bounces or non-bounces, nor is it necessary to state the bounce rate as well as the non-bounce rate.

In the report mentioned above, there were 15 columns devoted to send quantity and bounces. That's because they reported on the bounces by type; while this information should be looked at periodically, it's too detailed for an overview report. If there's a serious issue going on, then this detail can be provided on a separate worksheet or in a separate report altogether.

The next three columns are devoted to open and click rates. I like to include both the click-through rate (CTR) and the click-to-open rate (CTOR) in my reporting. Once again, no need to deliver the raw number of each. The unique rates (one open or click per email address, not multiple) are considered industry standard and should be here; no need to include data on total (multiple) opens and clicks; there may be times when that's useful but it's only going to confuse matters here.

Spam complaint and unsubscribe rate each get one column here; once again, no need to provide raw data.

I don't usually include information on forward-to-a-friend or social sharing in my standard reporting, unless those are key calls to action for the emails being sent. These numbers are usually so small that it's just not worth reporting, but if you have a need or find differently, feel free to include them.

The original report included columns on survey responses, which were zeros for every report I viewed. If you're doing surveys, by all means include a column. But if not, remove it.

Conversions get two columns in my standard reporting - one for raw data and the other for conversion rate. Even if your goal isn't a direct sale, you can have a conversion goal for your email - if so, include it here. It might be average pages per website visit or leads generated. Either way, you should have some sort of quantitative conversion goal for your email and you should include it here.

Revenue gets the star treatment with three columns. If you don't have revenue attached to your sends, feel free to forgo these, but if you do, you should have some reporting for it. My standard is total revenue generated, average sale, and revenue-per-non-bounce-email (RPE). If you have data on return on investment (ROI), feel free to use that in addition to or in place of RPE. But if not, RPE is easy to calculate and will give you some measure of knowledge about how your program is doing.

Finally, I like to include a daily or weekly total in the report, so you can see overall how your email marketing did as well as how each send did.

Getting the numbers in shape is just part of a good report; you should also create, on a monthly basis if not more frequently, a qualitative review of your program. By this I mean looking at the numbers, explaining what caused any variances, and making recommendations for maintaining and improving performance. I'll be talking more about that in my next column.

In the meantime, if your reports don't look like this, here's your push to take a look and get them in shape! Clear, concise reporting will make it easier to see, at a glance, how your program is doing and where you can improve.

Until next time,

Jeanne

Email image on home page via Shutterstock.

This column was originally published on June 11, 2012.

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Jennings

Jeanne Jennings is a 20 year veteran of the online/email marketing industry, having started her career with CompuServe in the late 1980s. As Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, Jennings helps organizations become more effective and more profitable online. Previously Jennings ran her own email marketing consultancy with a focus on strategy; clients included AARP, Hasbro, Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International. Want to learn more? Check out her blog.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...