How to Properly use Email Marketing

I love numbers. Do you? 

So, today we are going to dive into properly understanding email marketing and using the metrics to drive the value we create for our audience which will increase your ROI.

How to Improve your Email Marketing KPIs?

1. Use split testing

2. Be a storyteller

3. Use call to actions (CTAs) to introduce users to your funnel

4. Incorporate welcome emails

5. Send relevant content

6. Segment your list

7. Measure results

8. Consider email frequency

How to Properly Use Email Marketing
Split Testing

Don’t just guess about what type of copy works. Test it. Use A/B testing to see which version of your copy gets more customer engagement.

You might need to do this multiple times to get the right tone for your email campaign or newsletter. 

Even if your campaigns are doing pretty well, this testing should also be done periodically to ensure your emails still have the desired effect.


  1. Utilize your email service provider’s A/B testing features to try out different approaches. Or try out an idea with one campaign, then send a similar type of email with a changed variable after a few days or weeks and measure the difference in engagement.
  2. You need to add value to your email marketing campaigns. Don’t just slam subscribers with sales pitches.
  3. Write high-quality, informative copy.

How to Properly Use Email Marketing
Why use storytelling?

Telling stories works because it activates our brain in ways no other communication style can.

When we hear simple information-–like product specifications and features for instance—it activates the part of our brain responsible for processing language. All our brains are doing is taking in the words and figuring out what they mean.

When we hear stories, however, our brain actually acts as if we are living them.

So by telling stories in your email campaigns as opposed to just listing features or specifications, you can help readers truly understand the pain your product solves, and increase their desire to purchase.

Send Relevant Content

Give people a reason to open your email each day with helpful tutorials, customer stories, testimonials, lifehacks, and more. One survey suggested that businesses could greatly improve their email efforts just by sending more informative content to subscribers, meaning people want quality content, and you have an opportunity to provide it.

Segment Your Email List

Segmentation plays an important role in scaling the results you see from email marketing. For instance, timely messages are based around events and localization. Depending on where your subscribers live, their holidays, their weather, and their culture, their expectations for content will be different, so splitting your list into appropriate segments will make sending the right content to the right people much easier.

In fact, you can get as specific as you’d like with your subscribers, and you should. Consider creating segments based on the type of special offers and content that people like. That way you’ll send exactly what subscribers want every time.

Additionally, certain subscribers are probably loyal, longtime customers, whereas others are just getting started. Use segmentation to break up these dynamic parts of your list. This way, you can continue personalizing your content and ultimately continue scaling your business.

Measure your Results

Email Open Rates

How to Calculate: Total Opens / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Weekly

Factors: There are a couple of factors that can affect your open rate. The first is the sender’s name, and the second is your email subject line.

*(Average open rate should be between 15-35%)

Click-Through Rates

How to Calculate: Total Clicks / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Weekly

Factors: Your click-through rate will be affected by the anchor text on the link, as well as the location of the link in the body of your email, the number of times you included the link, and even the copy leading up to the link.

*(Average Click-through rate is 2.3-2.6%)

Unsubscribe Rates

How to Calculate: Total Unsubscribes / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Weekly

Factors: There are many factors that can affect your unsubscribe rate. Unsubscribe rates can be high when you don’t have a strong welcome series, if your “from” name isn’t recognizable, if you use misleading subject lines, if you don’t email frequently enough, or if you email too frequently.

How to Properly Use Email Marketing

Complaint Rate (Spam Emails)

How to Calculate: Total Complaints / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Weekly

Factors: Reasons for high complaint rates include using purchased email lists, not including an unsubscribe link in your emails, sending irrelevant content, stale email addresses, and emailing too frequently.

Conversion Rate

How to Calculate: Total Conversions / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Monthly

Factors: There are many factors that can affect your conversion rate, depending on what a successful conversion is in your particular campaign. If a conversion is a successful action that happens on your website after someone clicks on a link inside your email, you’ll want to make sure that your website is optimized for conversions.

Bounce Rate

How to Calculate: Total Bounces / Emails Sent

When to Track: Monthly

Factors: Emails can bounce due to a non-existent email address, if the receiving email server is unavailable or overloaded, if the recipient’s mailbox is full, if the recipient is on vacation with auto-reply, or if the receiving server has blocked the incoming email.

Forwards/Shares Rate

How to Calculate: Total Forwards / Emails Delivered

When to Track: Monthly

Factors: Nurturing your email list is the biggest factor here. Don’t forget to nurture and reward your existing customers.

Campaign Return on Investment (ROI)

How to Calculate: ($ Sales – $ Invested) / $ Invested

When to Track: Monthly

Factors: The above formula to calculate campaign ROI is actually a pretty simplistic method, and measuring your true ROI can be tricky. For instance, it’s really tough to know when to measure your results. One email marketing campaign today could affect your results a month or even a year from now.

List Growth Rate

How to Calculate: New Subscribes – (Unsubscribes + Complaints) / Total Subscribers (over a specific period of time, e.g. the last 30 days)

When to Track: Monthly

Factors: If your list isn’t growing, it’s dying. Not only do people unsubscribe, but email addresses tend to go “bad” over time due to people switching email accounts and abandoning the old ones. Make sure you are constantly building your list and keeping your unsubscribes at a reasonable rate.

Consider Your Email Frequency

Send too many emails and you become another spammer who just annoys their subscribers causing them to unsubscribe. On the other hand, send too few emails, and your email list will become disengaged and start forgetting your brand. 

When it comes to best practices for how often you send email marketing campaigns, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Try to send at least one email per week. Otherwise, you’re missing out on sales opportunities and your list will become disengaged. 
  • Sending one to two bulk emails a week is ideal for most merchants, especially if you’re just starting out with email. 
  • Sending an email every second day (or even more often) will drastically lower engagement levels without generating more sales. 

The one thing to keep in mind, above all else, is to ensure that you’re delivering value with your emails. Whether it’s great content or personalized offers, as long as your subscribers continue to receive something of value, most will continue to engage with your campaigns. 

Hopefully, this helps achieve your email marketing best practices.


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