August 2016

Trade secrets from an email marketing measurement expert

Our State of Marketing Report tells us 80 per cent of marketers agree email is core to their strategy. So, this Cloudcast podcast from Phoenix Direct’s Holly Wright is an invaluable resource. Holly outlines some of the common mistakes that prevents a lot of email marketing from meeting targets, and how to make it more effective.

Hear the Cloudcast Podcast here.

Phoenix Direct is a digital marketing agency specialising in the apparel industry - driving revenue for clients primarily through email campaigns. In particular Holly is an expert in email marketing measurement and the use of data in supporting email marketing campaigns. She explained to the Cloudcast team some key strategies for ensuring you derive the highest possible revenue from your email efforts. Here are some of her recommendations:

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Stop getting too obsessed about one-off metrics with every single blast you do.”

Email can generate huge amounts of data and it is hard for marketers to know exactly what to measure. But Holly’s most important - and potentially most reassuring - advice was to take a step back. She sees a lot of marketers become obsessed by every little data point: for instance, focussing on open rates on each individual email blast. This can be time consuming and Holly recommends taking a higher level view. She focusses instead on the trends. If the open rate across a whole month is down then that is something worth analysing. If your digital marketing strategy is sound, you should just keep executing and not get hung up on every little data point.

Google Analytics
This was essential advice from Holly - make sure Google analytics is switched on. This is a common mistake - especially for small-to-medium-sized businesses. But if your Google analytics engine isn’t tracking traffic then - as Holly puts it - “you’re flying blind”. How much website traffic your bulk email drives is fundamental to measuring your email marketing campaigns. So turn it on!

What Do I Measure?
When asked what Holly measures, she had a simple answer - “the raw dollars”. There is no better KPI than revenue. In particular the raw dollars per email. This way she can play a role in forecasting revenue. With a model of how much revenue each email campaign drives, the email marketing strategy can align with the sales strategy to help the sales team meet their targets.

But Holly also likes to measure another key metric: dollars per email subscriber. She does this over a time range - usually a month - and it helps her track the value each subscriber can generate, and how it is changing.

A/B Test the Right Things!
Another danger of email measurement, Holly says, is the temptation to test everything against everything else, which again is time consuming if it doesn’t teach you anything.

With A/B testing, be sure you’re testing the most strategic and longest-lasting elements of your emails. Just a one-off test of this subject line vs another one is fine. But what did you really learn from that?”

As well as being careful to test the elements that actually inform your strategy, there is also the temptation to test too tactically. Holly recommends testing over several campaigns and over a period of time as there are too many variables to say your conclusions are always correct.

Holly also has helpful advice on personalisation, as well as how and when to push your email subscribers towards a purchase. Take a listen to the podcast to learn how you can make your email marketing efforts best practice.


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