Analytics and metrics in e-mail marketing and beyond


In the early days of the Internet, measuring the impact of your online activities was very simple. Those who owned a website were already satisfied if they could monitor how much traffic was being generated, how many pages visitors viewed, and which ones.

Back then, e-mail marketers monitored how much e-mails were being sent and coming in, how many people opened them, and how many times a link was clicked upon.

The integration of web analytics and e-mail marketing rarely happened, and web analytics by itself often consisted of nothing more than looking at some data that was gathered through a simple measuring tool or through the server.

Today, the Internet is no longer a new phenomenon, but a medium that has a drastic impact on all aspects of our business. Online applications and interactions have become the backbone of our business in a digital world. There's a shift of selling to buying going on and more and more aspects of the purchasing process are taking place online. Furthermore, people can use a huge amount of online channels to get into contact with businesses, and they'll do this whenever they feel like it. Finally, the Internet plays a crucial role in the way (future) customers find businesses and how they interact with them.

Therefore, whoever wants to serve his customers professionally and wants to generate and "feed" leads through online channels - the ones that people use - must have an integrated customer and online analytics approach that goes way beyond the tactical metrics of the early days.

Looking at the bottom-line and the customer life cycle

Nowadays, we should look at metrics and key performance indicators that tell us something about the bottom-line, and follow both the lead and the customer throughout the entire life cycle.

So exactly how does one decide which customer analytics are important in these online times? Web analytics expert Jim Sterne always advices companies to keep three things in mind: increasing the revenue, improving the customer satisfaction, and lowering the costs.

And remember: it's not only about the systems and metrics; it's about people and processes as well. All of these evolutions have an impact on the various forms of online marketing. A typical example is e-mail marketing, where data like the 'open rate', 'click rate', etc., don't suffice anymore these days.

Among the more strategic metrics and key performance indicators within e-mail marketing, we find, amongst others:

  • The steps which the receiver takes after clicking on a link
  • The behavior of people after actions, and the interaction with follow-up actions
  • The type of information that is valued the most by the subscribers
  • The percentage of leads from a campaign (for example, with downloading a white paper)
  • The percentage of leads that takes proceeding steps and becomes qualified
  • The percentage of qualified leads that is delivered to sales and effectively becomes a customer
  • The bottom-line: revenue and ROI

And the list goes on, but it's clear that simple metrics just don't cut it anymore these days. A solid integration between CRM, e-mail marketing, marketing automation, lead generation, etc., is crucial.

Furthermore, this doesn't only apply to e-mail marketing, but to other forms of digital marketing as well: they must be integrated too.

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