How to Use Data Driven Marketing to Track E-Mail Effectiveness - dummies

How to Use Data Driven Marketing to Track E-Mail Effectiveness

By David Semmelroth

It’s important for data driven marketing campaigns to have a clear call to action. You need to communicate exactly what you want them to do. In the case of e-mail campaigns, you typically direct the customer to your website. In fact, most campaigns contain a link to your website in the e-mail itself.

The simple way to think about responses to e-mail campaigns is that the customer proceeds in a straightforward fashion. They click the e-mail. They read the e-mail and become interested. They proceed to your website and potentially end up making a purchase.

Data driven marketing monitors website open and click-through rates

Customer behavior is actually a good deal more complex than a nice linear progression from clicking your e-mail to purchasing. They may read your e-mail on their smartphone and wait until they get home to browse your website on a larger computer screen.

They may click the link to your site but visit it several more times before making a purchase. Some customers may be registered on your website and others not. Customers can take vastly different paths to finally making a purchase.

When analyzing the success of an e-mail campaign, one thing you will want to know is what percentage of people who received the e-mail actually opened it. This is known as an open rate. Of the users who do open your e-mail, you also want to know what percentage actually clicked the link to your website. This is called the click-through rate.

Your e-mail service provider will be able to tell you both these things. Open rates and click-through rates are standard metrics in e-mail marketing. Even these simple-sounding methods can be a little tricky, though.

You — or more accurately, your service provider — need to avoid over counting. Reporting of these rates must take into account multiple views of the e-mail as well as multiple clicks on the link.

Data driven marketing monitors website view-through analysis

More recently marketers have gotten interested in diving deeper into what customers are doing after they click a web link. This sort of analysis is known as view-through analysis. Be aware, though, that this term means slightly different things to different people.

If you’re running an online advertising campaign involving streaming video, you’ll obviously care how many clicks you get asking to view the video. But more importantly, you’ll be concerned with what percentage of those viewers actually watched the whole video. This second number is referred to as a view-through rate.

The term view-through is also used in the context of website traffic analysis. In the case of e-mail campaign response analysis, it is an extension of click-through analysis. After a user lands on your website, they have a lot of options. They can search for a specific product, for example. They can browse products by price. They can simply wander around exploring various pages. Or they can leave.

Understanding view-through behavior can be very helpful in designing future e-mail campaigns. In particular, knowing what products your customers are searching for and viewing helps you to focus future messages on what’s most relevant.

It’s important to understand customer barriers to purchase. What is it that’s preventing the customer from buying? View-through analysis can be very helpful here as well. When a customer abandons your website, you can tell what they last looked at. You can also tell where they went.

Many websites, particularly ones that sell retail products, allow you to view products by price ranges. A user might be looking at refrigerators in the lowest price category and then immediately jumps to a competitor’s website. This would be a good indication that you have a price-sensitive consumer.

You may decide to offer this customer a discount on a higher-quality model. The assumption is that the customer didn’t see anything in their price range that was satisfactory. Bringing a slightly higher end model into that price range might be enough to get them interested.

View-through analysis can also help in another way. Nobody ever said that when you embed a link to your website in an e-mail, it has to point to your home page. If you understand what pages users are gravitating toward, why not send them directly to what they’re interested in? Making the shopping and purchase experience convenient is a key part of making a sale.

Creating customized landing pages turns out to be a very powerful tool in your e-mail campaign tool kit. These pages are easy to create and they can be modified almost in real time based on the data you receive from your ESP. If the products you feature on your landing page don’t seem to be capturing many clicks, you can change them very quickly.