Set email marketing performance KPIs

1. Identify the most important email marketing metrics for your business, audience, and environment.

2. Select 4 metrics to track the performance of your marketing emails to ensure that you focus on the data that makes the greatest impact.

Common email-specific metrics include: Open rate. Click-through rate. Click-to-open rate. Social share rate. Forward rate. Conversion rate. Unsubscribe rate. Marked as spam rate.

3. Identify 6 metrics to maintain a healthy email list and track the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Metrics can help you evaluate or track your marketing success and the health of your email lists. You can select metrics to track separately for both individual emails and across your campaigns. These can include: Delivery rate: The percentage of sent emails that make it to recipient inboxes. The delivery rate is an indication of list health and may reveal issues like blacklisted IP addresses. List growth rate: The rate at which your subscriber list grows over a period of time. This metric helps measure the success of your lead generation efforts. Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of recipients who no longer want to receive emails from you. Changes in this metric, especially after updating your audience segments, can reveal the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Marked as spam rate: The percentage of recipients who don’t believe your email should have been sent to them. This metric can serve as a red flag for updating your subscriber list. If the metric gets too high, ISPs will likely blacklist you. Hard bounce rate: The percentage of emails that don’t get delivered because the recipient address is invalid. Hard bounces are permanent and an indication of recipient list health. Soft bounce rate: The percentage of emails that don’t get delivered because of a temporary issue, like a full inbox or server outage. Soft bounces only become problematic when they occur frequently for the same recipients.

4. Find industry benchmarks for the 10 KPIs you've selected.

Industry benchmarks provide an idea of what constitutes success in email marketing. Platforms like Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, and GetResponse publish regularly updated email marketing benchmarks by industry.

5. Include company-specific benchmarks to get an accurate picture of email marketing performance.

While industry benchmarks provide an initial point of reference, most email marketing is organization and audience specific. On the 10 metrics you’ve selected above, average your performance over the last 6 to 12 months to get a baseline for gauging future success.

6. Set your final KPIs by adding industry benchmarks.

For example, an e-commerce company that wants to track conversions may leverage company and industry specific metrics this way: The prior conversion rate for sales emails is 1.2%. The industry average conversion rate is 1.6%. Establish a goal to raise the conversion rate from 1.2% to 1.6%. Analyze emails performing under 1.2% to determine how they can be made more engaging. Analyze emails performing above 1.6% to determine what contributed to their success.