Catalog and Direct Selling: Evaluate Your E-mail
Do your e-mail campaigns measure up?
It’s time for a New Year’s resolution. Say it with me: “I resolve to no longer send e-mail simply for the sake of sending e-mail.”
Don’t worry; you aren’t alone. Pushing frequent e-mails with tons of offers and messages is an easy habit to get into. Low cost, easy to push, the sales just come in. It seems to be the proverbial “no brainer.”
Are e-mails easy? Sure. They’re easy to create, easy to push, easy to manage. And they also are easy to measure. A good e-mail campaign should have clearly defined goals and objectives, and should be put through the rigors of a comprehensive post-analysis just like a good catalog campaign. As with a catalog mailing, you should define your segments and develop performance thresholds for each based on break-even analysis and profitability requirements. Of course, breakeven for an e-mail campaign will be a fraction of the breakeven for a catalog mailing, but so will the response rate (and average order values are almost certain to be lower).
But what else should be measured? Working with friends from Ohio-based Web-sales strategy group DMinSite, I’ve put together a list of e-mail metrics to help you determine how well your e-mail campaigns are performing.
The basic e-mail reporting metrics include:
Pushed—the quantity of e-mails put into the system. Having a list of, say, 100,000 e-mail addresses in no way guarantees you’ll actually get that many messages through to recipients. Addresses must be clean and domains (such as Yahoo!, Hotmail and AOL, which employ bulk mail folders) must allow your messages through.
Bounced—can be “hard” or “soft.” A hard bounce is the result of mailing to an e-mail address no longer in existence. A soft bounce occurs when an inbox is full or the server is down; the technology pushing the messages generally will try to redeliver the message after a set period of time.