The Basics: Numbers That Matter In Email Marketing

Marketing is often about numbers. You want to increase revenue, improve growth, decrease the unsatisfied customers and so on.

Email marketing especially relies on numbers. Click-through rates, open rates, bounces and more are piled on to the list of metrics to watch. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of these stats, so you need to prioritize. What numbers really matter and what ones can be set aside?

Here are the most critical five numbers for success in email marketing.


If an email doesn’t make it to the recipient’s inbox, it bounces. An email can bounce for a number of reasons, but it’s usually because the email address is no longer active. These bounces can negatively affect your deliverability, making it harder to get your emails to the people who are active on your list.

A few ways to lower your bounces:

  • Require subscribers to confirm. They need to be able to access the email address they used and click a link in that confirmation email.
  • Ask subscribers to add you to their address book. This is called whitelisting and ensures that their email service won’t block you.
  • Remove inactive subscribers from your list. Depending on how often you send, start trimming your list of people who haven’t opened a message from you for a while. For example, if you send weekly, erase subscribers that haven’t opened in a month or send an email asking them if they still wish to be on your list.


You want subscribers to take action. This action can be something as simple as opening your emails (and if this is the most important, that number will be more important), but usually it involves clicking on a link back to your website. If you have a high click-through rate, you’ll have a high open rate, since readers need to open the email to click the link.

So how do you get subscribers to read and act?

  • Make your message compelling to open. Ask a question in the subject line, use a teaser or make a promise (that you keep).
  • Entice readers to click. Get to the point right away and let subscribers know why they need to click by answering “what’s in it for me?”
  • Make the link easy to access. Don’t bury your link or button in loads of text; make sure it stands out right away!

Monthly Subscriber Growth

Ideally, you’ll have a large list and more subscribers keep coming in. The actual number of subscribers you have shouldn’t be top priority; it’s quality over quantity. However, you still want to see your list grow. Checking out your monthly growth rate can help you see if you are on the right track. Use a graph so you can get a visual of what’s happening.

Here are three tips to help grow your list faster:

  • Focus on providing great content. Stellar content will help more than just your growth, it will also increase click rates, decrease complaints and increase overall revenue. The more people like your content, the longer they’ll stay on your list and the more likely they’ll be to share your information with others.
  • Test your offer. Try a different incentive to see which one brings in more subscribers. You can include a bonus for signing up, such as an e-book, podcast or video you created.
  • Learn from your unsubscribed. Look at what message subscribers are unsubscribing on and note any patterns.


If someone marks your email as spam, that’s considered a complaint. These complaints can negatively affect your deliverability and growth. Complaints typically occur when there is some type of miscommunication between the sender and recipient.

Here are three ways to avoid complaints:

  • Set expectations. Tell subscribers what they’ll be getting, how often and how it will help them.
  • Include unsubscribe information at the top of the message. Subscribers shouldn’t have to hunt for a way to get off your list if they don’t want to receive your emails anymore.
  • Stay consistent with sending and design. If you have long periods of time between messages, subscribers can forget about you. If you change the look of your emails every time, subscribers won’t recognize you.

Revenue Per Email

If your marketing goals include bringing in more revenue, then you want to know how your email marketing campaign performs with regard to this aim. You’ll need to track how many purchases come from email. This will give you an idea of what the return on investment is for your email campaign.

What can you do to make more money with your emails?

  • Make your call to action stand out. You want to explain to readers what you’re offering, why they want it and provide an easy way for them to get it.
  • Create a premium email campaign. Have readers pay to subscribe (like a magazine subscription) if you have content you can sell.
  • Use segments. Sort who has showed interest in what and send targeted emails based on previous interest or purchases.

Now clear your head and get back to your spreadsheets… to look at the numbers that matter!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column


About The Author: is Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email marketing service provider for small businesses, where she works with business owners to grow their marketing efforts. An experienced optimization consultant, Crystal has consulted with over 500 businesses to improve their email marketing efforts for optimal results, and regularly provides marketing training to AWeber customer solutions staff.

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