Unbound Growth Blog

Small Business Email Marketing: The Second Commandment

Posted by Cheri Gaudet  6/5/11, 10:00 AM

Thou Shalt Measure Your Email Marketing Efforts

Calipers measuring dollar sign.Ultimately, one power decides the value of almost every business activity, including email marketing campaigns: the bottom line.

It's as simple as revenues minus expenses. Do you know how much revenue you can expect a given campaign to bring in, or are you hoping for the best every time you click "Send?" How about the amount you spend for every lead captured or every purchase made? These critical calculations not only help you improve the quality of your email marketing campaigns over time, but they help you set realistic marketing budgets and smart revenue goals.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Unsubscribe Rate. The number of unsubscribe requests divided by the number of people on your email list. The goal is to reduce this rate over time as the quality of your lists, content and calls-to-action improve. At least as valuable as the hard number is knowing who is unsubscribing, which can give you clues about how to improve your email content.
  • Hard Bounce Rate. The number of hard bounces (undeliverable emails) divided by the number of people on your email list. It's a basic measure of list quality and another metric you want to reduce over time.
  • Click Rate. The number of click-throughs to your website or landing page divided by the total number of recipients (i.e., the number of people who actually received your email in their inboxes). Among other things, an up-front, clear and compelling call-to-action will improve this metric over time.
  • Conversion Rate. The total number of leads or purchases generated by a campaign divided by the number of recipients (or clicks). Knowing your average conversion rate will help you set revenue goals for each campaign, and this is another metric that will improve as you refine your email marketing practices.
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL) or Cost To Acquire (CTA). The total cost of an email campaign divided by the number of leads (CPL) or number of purchases (CTA) it generates. Minimizing CPL or CTA while maximizing the conversion rate is arguably the holy grail of email marketing.


Need help getting started or figuring out how to improve your email marketing metrics? Contact us for some one-on-one advice.

Image courtesy of Brooks Elliott.

Topics: email marketing, advanced analytics

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