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June 10, 2019

Perform an Email Marketing Audit

Author: Kristen Bachmeier

Email marketing is one of the most effective, yet time-consuming, ways to get your prospects to engage with your product or service. The more time you put into your email marketing efforts, the more you can expect it to pay off. Right?

We’ve worked with countless clients on their email marketing. We’ve helped completely create an email design and content around that design and we’ve also assisted in more of a consultative role where we guide our clients on what to send. Either way, just like anything else in marketing, it’s important to audit and review what you’re doing to make sure it’s working.

I recently had a client ask me to put together a report about opt-outs and where we find the most opt-outs happened. Since it was a great learning experience for me, I thought it’d make a good blog post to share.

Gather your Email Data

Start first by compiling your email stats from the last 12 – 18 months. The timeframe you want to look at will depend on a few different factors, such as how many emails you send on average per month. For this case, let’s assume we send 1 email per month.

Got your stats? Good!

Export them into Excel if you can. From there, you’ll want to keep the following fields:

  • Subject line
  • Date/time sent
  • Open rate
  • Click-through-rate
  • Total opt-outs

When it comes to analyzing data, I’ve found that it’s easy to get bogged down when you try to pull too much information at once. It’s easiest to first start with key points and then dive deeper if you feel those key points don’t answer your questions.

Calculate & Sort your Email Marketing Data

The reason I mentioned putting your data into Excel is because it’s a handy way to do quick calculations on averages. For this mini project I worked on, I calculated the average number of opt-outs for ALL emails. It’s a nice-to-have-stat, but it is not very telling.

Then, I sorted the opt-outs from highest to lowest. In the report I was reviewing, I noticed that 11 emails over the course of 12 months had opt-outs of 100 or more. Given the size of this list, 100 opt-outs in 1 email is kind of concerning.

Let’s dig deeper!

Review Your Email Design

Once I had my list of emails with opt-outs of 100 or more, I reviewed each email design. This is where it gets a little time-consuming, but I am a bit of a data nerd, so I enjoyed it.

There were 11 emails with 100+ opt-outs. I individually clicked on each of those emails and I checked for:

  • Common design themes
  • The date/time the email was sent
  • Common content/copy themes

I was able to tie a few things together and made assumptions. One of the things that stood out was the design of the email itself. These 11 emails were from a similar template, which leads me to believe that there is something that needs to be changed with the design.

Things to Consider

An email marketing audit can take a few hours or a few days depending on how many emails you send per month and how large your list(s) are. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Are open rates good?
  • Are click-through-rates good?
  • Are you getting reported for spam?

Even if people are opting out, if your other stats are positive (a good open rate is 20%+ and varies by industry), then you don’t have too much to worry about.

On the other hand, if your rates are terrible, you may want to consider your list and where you got your names from. If they were not organically collected (i.e. users opted in themselves), it should be no surprise as to why they are not engaging.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Monitoring your marketing is good practice all around and I always tell clients to not get too comfortable in doing “what has always worked.” This may work for a little while, but businesses and the web are changing every day, and it’s important to keep up.

Here are some general email marketing best practices to always keep in mind:

  1. Make your subject line compelling – using the word “video” in a subject line has been proven to increase open rates
  2. Offer the option to unsubscribe or update subscription preferences (most email platforms require this now)
  3. Never EVER purchase lists from a 3rd party
  4. Segment your lists into groups and send messages that will be relevant to that group
  5. Do not send emails that are just images – make sure you have both a text and HTML version of your email that works on smartphones

Struggling with Email Marketing for Your Business?

Email marketing is one of the most time-consuming marketing activities, but it can produce great results if done correctly. If you need help with email marketing for your business, contact Atilus today and we would be happy to help you refine your email marketing tactics. Call us at (239) 362-1271 or contact us here.

Kristen Bachmeier

Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

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