I received an email from an online retailer today that was a hot mess. It had no text, only one gigantic image, and the image had no alt text or anything to indicate what the email was about before I consented to loading the image.
Fail — major fail.
With the sophisticated software and programs available today for email marketing, the state of emails I receive from huge corporations blows me away. Historically, email marketing has been an afterthought. There are those that do it well. Really well. But it seems to me that a majority of email marketing is this last-minute, “crap I forgot to do this,” throw something together, send-without-testing nightmare that converts a fraction of what it could — or nothing at all.
So, what is the difference between doing it right and doing it completely wrong? Tracking. If you’re consciously tracking how well your email marketing efforts are performing and truly analyzing the conversion rates, there’s no way you’d relegate it to last minute.
In this article, I’m going to show you the basics of tracking your email marketing efforts in Google Analytics. Next time, I’ll to show you an Excel reporting format that will marry data from Google Analytics and your email marketing platform to give you even more insight into reader behavior, conversions and more.
Let’s start with one of the basics — a dashboard. Dashboards are the easiest way to see specific data without wasting a lot of time digging into singular reports. With a dashboard, we can pull pertinent information in, apply a custom segment, and see data immediately.
The dashboard I’m going to share today gives us insights into some specific data related to email marketing. It is set up to draw upon the labeling you do within your email marketing. If you are not labeling your medium as “email,” then this will not work right for you; you’ll have to build a custom segment that uses your chosen medium “label” (I’ll show you how to do that in a bit).
Let’s review the basic information this Email Marketing Dashboard displays, just click the link to add it to your own analytics!.
Revenue By Source
Source here refers to the specific email campaign you’ve created. This can be a descriptive name or the date the email was created. This information is pulled in via your referral URL, so be sure you’re using the Google URL builder or using the Campaign naming tool within your analytics platform.
Visits & Revenue By Browser
Visits and Revenue by Browser shows us what types of browsers your email marketing visitors are using. Why is this important? Because you want to be sure your email marketing visitors are receiving a stellar experience, regardless of what browser they’re using. The underlying point here is to test your website in all browsers, even those you don’t think are important. In our example below, Chrome only got 60 visits, but provided a good piece of revenue. Don’t underestimate this information.
E-Commerce Transactions By Product
Knowing which products perform well and which do not perform well can help you fine tune your messaging. When you review the products that don’t perform well, are the photos/descriptions poor or in need of updating? Do the products you feature within the email perform well, or do readers consistently buy or book other products or services? If this is happening, take a closer look at the products you’re featuring or how you’re featuring them.
Visits By Region
Where your customers are coming from is a big deal. If you are a local business, you might want to adjust this widget to be visits by city. That will help you see the local towns that send the most business as a result of your email campaigns.
Visits & Pages By Device
For email marketing, device is a big part of why you may or may not be effective. Making sure your emails display information on a variety of screens is very important, as a significant number of emails are read on a mobile device. Always test your emails in multiple browsers, on your mobile device, and on any other devices you can. I always recommend a run through an iOS device as well as an Android device. If your campaign is a huge image that won’t resize to fit a smaller screen, rethink the structure of your campaign.
Visits & Revenue By Campaign
Each email campaign you send out should have a “campaign name” and be labeled as such either using your email marketing software or a custom URL built with the Google URL Builder tool. This is a unique name that can be used to see results for individual sends.
Goal Completions By Goal Completion Location
Because everyone has different goals set up, I’ve added an overview report to this dashboard — if you have goals created, they’ll all be represented here. If you don’t, then this will be blank. I do recommend all Google Analytics users have goals of some sort enabled, so look into that before you just delete this widget. If you have specific goals you want to track, you’re welcome to add them to this dashboard by just clicking “add to dashboard” at the top of any goal report.
You are, of course, welcome to adjust this dashboard to fit your specific needs, but I feel this data is a good “starting point” for our conversation.
Email Marketing Custom Segment
So now you have the dashboard, and you are seeing data; but the issue is, it’s not specific to your email marketing campaigns just yet. For this, we need to build a Custom Segment, which we’ve done before. This is where you may have to tweak my instructions if your “medium” label is not “email.” Use whatever label it is you’re using for your campaigns.
This is an easy one. First, click on “Advanced Segments” at the top of your dashboard.
Now, choose “New Custom Segment” from the right hand side.
Now, choose “Include,” “Medium,” “Containing” and then type “email” in the text box to select it as your Medium. If you have more than one type of medium that includes email marketing, add an “OR” statement. Again, if you’re not using the label “email,” use whatever you’ve chosen to name this medium.
Name your custom segment and save it. This creates a custom segment that you can apply to this email marketing dashboard whenever you need it.
Unfortunately, these custom segments don’t STICK to your dashboard just yet (soon, Google?) so you’ll have to apply this every time you re-enter this Dashboard.
I hope this dashboard provides a ton of actionable information for you to start analyzing your email marketing campaigns. One of the first things you’ll be able to do is split-test your email campaigns. Design two different blasts, send each to half of your list, and see which one performs better. Do big headlines work? Do photos with or without people seem to be more effective? With this type of dashboard, and good email marketing software, these types of testing are easier and easier to perform and measure.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.