E-Mail Marketing: Measuring and Optimization After the Click

Marketers looking to bring greater efficacy to their e-mail campaigns should take a close look at recent developments in paid search, the darling of online advertising. There, companies are increasingly turning to sophisticated analytics to improve ROI (define). In other words, they’re trying to find out what happens after the click.

The reason is easy to understand. In 2006, marketers will spend $5 billion on search, a number that’s expected to double over the next four years. Meanwhile, research shows 96 percent of search clicks lead nowhere, and very few marketers know the true efficacy of an online media buy.

What are smart companies doing to solve the problem? Market leader Google has invested in software that allows marketers to conduct online analysis of visitor behavior. Google understands its advertisers want to know how their search buys increase revenue and provide ROI. Using analytics, they can get in-depth information about their users’ behavior and adjust their campaigns to maximize results.

As marketers, we should take these best practices from Web analytics and apply them to e-mail marketing. To do this, we must realize traditional measures of success, such as the CTR (define), aren’t enough. Instead, we must apply sophisticated metrics to gain useful information.

Below are three examples of how we can gain greater insight into our customers’ behavior:

  • Segmentation. Segment the traffic from e-mail campaigns, not just on the initial visit but for every visit. This helps determine if recipients are higher value customers or if mailing lists need adjustment.

  • Intelligent comparison. Compare e-mail traffic to a site’s general audience. Do e-mail visitors visit more pages or generate more revenue per order?
  • Behavior tracking and metrics. Measure not only the clicks an e-mail generates but also the behavior of users once they reach the site. Examples of desired behavior and corresponding metrics include:
    • Behavior: Purchase
      Metrics: Average order value and visit to purchase-conversion rates

    • Behavior: Registration
      Metrics: Visits to registration page and registered users to purchase conversion rates
    • Behavior: Web self-service
      Metrics: Customer satisfaction surveys and offline call center cost deflection rates

Sophisticated metrics such as these can deliver a deep understanding of customer desire and motivation. By tracking them closely, you’ll be able to better serve customers and drive your company’s agenda — both before and after the click.

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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