4 Important Email Marketing Metrics you Need to Measure and How to Improve Them

4 Important Email Marketing Metrics you Need to Measure and How to Improve Them

Email marketing is an effective marketing channel, you can easily tailor your emails to a buyer persona. Identify the most relevant email metrics for your industry and activities for getting the most out of every email campaign.

Ever since I started my career in sales and marketing 5 years ago, I’ve heard people say this: “Email marketing is dead”.

Let’s see some numbers and come to a conclusion.

Source: Statista

This was a study conducted by Statista in 2019 about the number of emails sent and received each day. They have taken the data from the years 2017 and 2018 and based on that they have made suitable predictions for the years 2019 to 2023. 

Based on this study, we can easily conclude that email marketing is here to stay.

Now, there are a lot of email marketing apps out there. Therefore, you need to choose the one that fits your needs and budget before you start your email marketing campaign.

Your marketing campaigns reflect your brand personality. So, it’s crucial that you have a solid email marketing strategy in place to be perceived well by your target audience. Now, as you see the huge growth in emails being sent and received year-on-year in the graph above, it’s clear that the industry is getting really competitive. That’s why, it is very important to consistently review your practices and make changes to improve your results. 

However, as Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

The same goes for your email marketing campaigns. You need to measure the most important metrics to make your campaign successful. I’ve explained 4 important email marketing metrics you should pay attention to and measure. I’ve also laid out the possible reasons for their poor outcomes and the measures you can take to combat them.

1. Email open rate

Email open rate is the percentage of subscribers who opened your emails. This is the most basic metric in email marketing. Your emails are of no use if your customers do not even open them.

To calculate your open rate, simply divide the number of emails that your recipients actually opened in a given campaign by the number of emails that were delivered. Multiply this result by 100 and you will get your open rate.

Email open rate = (Number of emails opened / Number of emails delivered) * 100%

Know how your email open rate compares to the average in your industry. 

Reasons for a low open rate

  • A low open rate indicates that you are not getting your audience’s attention. This can typically be traced to uninteresting subject lines or boring opening words in your email. 
  • Having said that, email clients might also be filtering your emails if they’re too salesy and moving them to spam folders giving your audience no chance to read them.

How do I improve the open rate?

Make the email personalized 

How to do that? There are 3 elements to it:

  • Make it relevant
  • Make it timely and
  • Make it come from a human

Here is a great example of a personalized email.

Source: Campaign Monitor

First of all, it is relevant—it addresses John by his name, and from the copy in the email, you can see that it knows John works in the creative department in an agency. 

And, it is timely—it understands what John needs during the holidays. 

And finally, it is sent by a human—John is more likely to trust the email as it was sent by another human.

However, this is possible only when you know your audience. One simple way to do that is to have a simple lead generation form on your website to collect customer information. But that’s not enough. You need to take that information, organize, and segment it based on your audience. It’s recommended that you collect that information and send it straight to your email marketing platform. 

The more specifically you can segment your audience, the better you can target your emails, and the higher your open rate will be.

Pro tip: It’s recommended that you A/B test your campaign to effectively optimize your open rate. Try out different subject lines, sender names, greetings, and even times of the day and week to see which one gives you the best results.

Make sure that your emails reach your recipient’s inbox

Okay, you’ve spent hours understanding your audience, developing a really good email marketing strategy, crafted the perfect subject line and email copy, and now you’re off to hit the ‘Send’ button. 

Before that, ask yourself these questions - will this email reach my recipients? And if it does, will this land in the right folder of their inbox? No matter how great your email is, it doesn’t help you unless it reaches your audience. Most people around the world use Gmail to send and receive emails. So, when you’re sending emails to them, make sure it lands in their primary tab.

Here are some things you should NOT do when sending emails:

  • Do not use spammy subject lines.
  • Do not use too many images in your email.

And here’s what you should do:

  • Protect your Intellectual Property reputation so as to not appear as a spammer in the eyes of spam filters and your recipients.
  • Authenticate your emails to let your recipients know it’s actually you who is sending them emails.
  • Use fewer images and links in the email body.

2. Click-through rate

The Click-through rate, also known as CTR, simply tells you how many times the links in your emails were clicked. A link in an email can be a call to action that links to a page on your website.

To calculate your CTR, divide the number of clicks the links received by the number of emails sent and multiply the result by 100. 

CTR = (Number of link clicks / Number of emails delivered ) * 100%

It is a very important metric you need to measure as it is a good indicator of email engagement.

Which types of emails have the highest click-through rates?

Source: ActiveCampaign

Reasons for a low click-through rate

  • Uninteresting content in the body of the email.
  • A visually dull CTA.
  • Email not optimized for the device the customer uses.

How do I improve CTR?

  • Make the content in the email body relevant and compelling so that your readers can take action.
  • Use clear and actionable calls-to-action.
  • Highlight your calls-to-action to encourage readers to click through.

Let’s take a look at the above email again.


The content is relevant to the reader—it is segmented well. The content is also clear and compelling—it speaks directly to the reader and calls for action.The CTA button is properly formatted and highlighted.

3. Conversion rate

The conversion rate is the holy grail of your email marketing campaign. This metric is simply the percentage of email recipients that have completed the desired action.

Your email has to have a clear goal for your readers. Do you want them to download an ebook? Do you want them to make a purchase? This metric tells you all that.

To calculate your email conversion rate, divide the number of actions in the email by the number of emails delivered. Then multiply the result by 100.

Conversion rate = (Number of actions / Number of emails delivered) * 100%

Let’s say the goal of your email is to have your recipients download your ebook. You send them an email talking a bit about it in the email body and then direct them to a landing page from the CTA where they can download it.

Some hypothetical numbers here. Say you send the email to 10,000 subscribers. Out of which, 50% have opened it, and then 30% of those people have clicked on the CTA to get to the landing page. But how many of that 30% have actually downloaded the ebook?

That’s the real measure of how successful your email campaign was.

So, what is a good conversion rate?

The average conversion rate is 0.2 %, but this depends on the type of conversion, the campaign you are running, and your industry. So, it’s recommended that you assign a monetary value to your conversions. This gives you a clear idea of its success and helps you make improvements wherever necessary.

Reasons for a low conversion rate

All the reasons that apply to a low open rate and click-through rate also apply to the conversion rate. But here are a few more reasons.

  • The images on your landing page or your email aren’t interesting.
  • Your copy isn’t persuasive.
  • Your landing page is distracting.
  • Completing the conversion is difficult or takes more steps than necessary.
  • Your tracking code isn’t working.
  • Your recipients do not like or understand your product.

How to improve it?

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your email conversion rate.

  • Optimize your emails for mobile devices

Over 55% of people open their emails on mobile devices. So, optimize your emails for mobile devices in order not to lose out on potential leads. Remember to check if your images are loading properly, your links are working, and the email interface is not getting cramped from device to device.

  • Create a sales funnel

You don’t ask your date to marry you the first time you two meet, do you? Similarly, never make the mistake of selling something to a lead during the first interaction. 

Instead, create a sales funnel. It is basically a sequence of emails sent on a predefined schedule to your leads for converting them into customers. To run this smoothly, integrate your CRM with your email marketing platform.

Source: AWeber

Selling is a long-term game. So, you have to give your lead time and scope to get convinced to buy from you. If possible, create free resources that can give them an idea of what they are signing up for. This will give them some compelling reasons as to why they should consider buying from you.

In this process, keep them engaged with good content and continue to build a relationship. When they start trusting your brand they will decide to commit to you.

  • Reduce the number of steps it takes to finish the conversion

The journey to finishing a conversion should be as short as possible. And every step that the user takes should smoothly lead to the next step. 

  • Communicate your product or service clearly

The copy of the email and the landing page should clearly explain what you are offering. For example, if it is a new feature that you are introducing for your product your email should have its details mentioned clearly— what that feature is about, how it will enhance their experience, etc. Enhancing this content with pictures, videos, GIFs, etc. will trigger a visual response.

4. Unsubscribe Rate


Well, this is the unfortunate reality in email marketing. Unsubscribe rate tells you the number of people that opted out of any future emails from you. This happens when your recipient clicks on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link (which is usually seen in the email footer) in your email.

Unsubscribe rate = (Number of unsubscribes / Number of emails delivered) * 100%

Reasons for unsubscriptions

You certainly don’t want your email campaign to drive customers away. But it’s natural. It happens. And here are some reasons why it happens.

  • Your recipients didn’t find your email relevant.
  • Your emails had misleading subject lines.
  • You have frequently sent them emails.

How do I reduce my unsubscribe rate?

  • Segment your subscribers like a pro.
  • Do not send emails too frequently.
  • Create useful and relevant content.
  • Ask for feedback

Pro tip: Users who unsubscribe can be an excellent source of valuable feedback. Ask them what exactly caused them to leave you. This can be a small survey. And you can use these insights to improve your campaign.

Email marketing can do wonders for your business if you can consistently track and optimize its performance. However, there are so many other email marketing metrics out there that you can measure to track your campaign. For now, start with these 4 to get an understanding of your campaign’s success. 

Tracking these will tell you when a campaign is working when it’s not, and what you can do to improve it.

Vimal Bharadwaj works as a Product Marketer at Automate.io. He is passionate about all things B2B SaaS. While not working, you can see him watching an NBA game or playing basketball or reading a book or ranting about something that in no way affects his life.

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