Metrics That Matter
By Regina Brady
Analyze performance to optimize future e-mail campaign results.
One of the wonderful things about e-mail marketing is that we have many different ways to measure its performance, and we can use this information to better understand our customers, to learn from each campaign effort, and to improve future mailings.
Any good e-mail reporting system should provide a wealth of detailed data on campaign performance. It's important to take both a "macro" and "micro" approach to e-mail reports. Look at overall results, and then dig into the details to optimize campaign results in the future.
It all starts with the standard metrics that are collected. Here's what to look for:
1. Delivery statistics. Has your e-mail been delivered? Most programs break out invalid addresses and bounces. Invalid addresses have a problem with their syntax, such as a space in the e-mail address, a misspelling of the domain or a mal-formed extension. There are hygiene programs that can correct invalid addresses, although you should apply them cautiously so that any correction does not result in your sending e-mail to someone who has not given you permission to contact them via this channel.
Bounces are e-mails that did not reach their destination and were returned to the sender. Technically, information is included with the returned message that allows the sender to know why it was undeliverable. These generally are categorized as hard bounces and soft bounces.
Hard bounces indicate the domain or the individual at the e-mail address no longer exists. These addresses should be retired immediately, or you can drill down further to examine reason codes and selectively retire these names.
Soft bounces indicate a temporary condition that makes the e-mail undeliverable. The mailbox could be full. A server could be down. Resend soft bounces for up to four campaigns, then retire any names that could not be delivered successfully.