Email Marketing: How to Tell If It’s Working

Email Marketing: How to Tell If It’s Working


So, you’ve put together a substantial email list and you’ve planned a strong email campaign. How do you tell if it’s working?

First of all, you need to know your business’s goals to decide which metrics you should track. Are you just trying to grow your subscriber list at this point? Or do you want to focus on converting existing leads? It’s okay (even encouraged) to have more than one goal. Whatever they are, know them and use them to help you focus on important metrics.


Some of the most commonly used metrics:

  • Open Rate - the percentage of your subscribers who have opened your email

    • Obviously, you want to get your emails opened and read, and the open rate can help you determine how well you’re accomplishing that goal. The open rate for any marketing email is only about 20%.


  • Click Through Rate (CTR) - the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in the email

    • CTR can help you determine whether you’re putting out content that is of interest to your recipients. Are they opening the emails and not clicking on anything? Adjust your content. Are you seeing a higher CTR on certain types of emails? Then you know those are working!


  • Conversion Rate - the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in an email and completed a CTA

    • Taking the CTR one step further, leads convert when they complete a CTA - for example, they download an ebook or sign up for a webinar. They’ve accepted an offer that you sent them, and this is a huge step in your relationship. You’ve given them something they needed!


  • Bounce Rate - the percentage of total emails sent that were undeliverable

    • There are two types of bounces - a soft bounce and a hard bounce. A soft bounce means that the email could temporarily not go through, maybe because the recipient’s inbox is full or the email server is down.  A hard bounce is a more serious issue. Hard bounces happen when an email address doesn’t exist. Too many hard bounces can have your emails marked as spam and damage your business’s reputation. Remove these email addresses from your list as soon as possible.


  • Unsubscribe Rate - the percentage of recipients on your email list who have unsubscribed

    • Hubspot cautions that it’s more useful to look at CTR and conversion rate because many recipients won’t take the time to unsubscribe. They’ll just delete the emails unread. However, if your unsubscribe rate is significantly higher than the average (around 0.3%), you’ll want to take a serious look at why that may be.


  • ROI -  the return on investment for your email campaigns

    • Basically, you want to know if you’re getting your money’s worth out of this email campaign. There are several ways to calculate ROI depending on your type of business.


You’ll need some tools to help you track these metrics. A good email service provider will provide many of these for you, but you can check out this link or this one for some additional tools.


After taking a look at the metrics from your latest email campaign, maybe you’re not seeing the results that you had hoped for. Could one of these be the reason why?

(Source: Hubspot)


  • Time and Date of Delivery - You might want to try sending your emails on a different day of the week or at a different time of the day. People seem to be more likely to click through around 11 a.m.


  • Frequency of Emails  - Recipients don’t want unread messages clogging up their inbox. Listen to feedback and adjust the frequency of delivery if you find that people are complaining about receiving too many emails from you.


  • Too Many Images - CTR decreases as the number of images in an email increases. Readers don’t want to have to wait for images to download to read the message.


  • Problems with Mobile Compatibility - Two-thirds of emails are read on a mobile device, so make sure your content is easily read no matter where it will be seen.


What are some metrics that you’ve found are important to your business?