Email Marketing: Typical Mistakes of Effectiveness Estimation

Typical Mistakes of Effectiveness Estimation
The first thing we pay attention to while evaluating the effectiveness of email marketing is amount of delivered messages. The difference between amount of sent messages and amount of messages that didn’t find addressee and returned with an error. But it is not 100% true because the amount of letters that were deleted at once or blocked by SPAM filters are not taken into account. Such letters also should not be considered as delivered ones.

The second thing we pay attention to is amount of users who unsubscribe (refuse) to mailing. And if this amount is small, email company is considered to be rather successful. But it is also a delusion. Not all users who want to unsubscribe click the link to refuse getting the newsletters.

Often users simply press the button “SPAM”, “Send to SPAM”. So, it is impossible to detect real amount of unsubscribed persons. It is better to pay more attention to amount of passes to site and amount of opened letters.

Many email marketing specialists advise to pay attention to inactive subscribers who didn’t open letters and didn’t click links for a long time. In this case they advise to change format of sent letter to inactive subscriber for attracting his attention and awaking his interest again. Process of detection letter opening by receiver is connected with attaching an image to letter at external server. When letter is opened, request for an image to external server is sent. This request may be tracked and recorded. But many email programs block image loading from external sources by default, and that’s why it is impossible to track out the fact of opened letter. So, it is impossible to understand whether subscriber is really active. In this case it is recommended to send request of mailing confirmation.

Here is one more delusion. Many marketing specialists paste the form «forward to a friend» that gives the opportunity to send quickly copy of received letter to receiver’s friends. For this it is enough to write email address to the form, and the request for sending of letter copy to another addressee will be sent to server. Of course, this fact should be saved in a base and it is important to know amount of subscribers who forward your mailing to their friends. But this number will be unreliable because many users use the button “Forward” for letter forwarding and don’t use attached forms.

For example, you’ve decided to make a newsletter, and you have several lists of subscribers. You united this lists into one newsletter and analyze the result of letter opening, for example:

List 1: 80%

List 2: 0%

List 3: 30%

You see that middle coefficient is 37%, and it is necessary to beat an alarm because the coefficient is very low. But that is not so. Analyze the result of List 2. Let’s suppose, that List 2 contained only addressees from In this case it may be because of Yahoo because it could block all letters and send to SPAM. The other reason may be connected with the fact that the list is simply dead. So, don’t worry with conclusions, just analyze.

From time to time review the number of opened letters after sending the newsletter. Indexes may be approximately the following: 40%, 38%, 41%, 39%, 40%, 41% etc. In this case you conclude that 40% of your subscribers read your mailing. But really that is not so. Your mailing is constantly read by different readers, and it is not the fact that each reader reads your every mailing. That’s why the number of active readers may be significantly higher than middle results. For effective estimation it is better to pay attention to amount of readers who open at last one letter per month. If middle coefficient is 40%, number of real readers may be approximately 60-70%.


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