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How to Track Email Marketing Success Beyond Opens and Clicks

How many times have I told you to watch your email open and click-through rates? A lot, right? It recently occurred to me that I’ve never covered specifically how to carry this out. This blog post fixes that. Let’s dive into the details of how to track email marketing success.


How to track email marketing success beyond opens and clicks   


Open and click-through rates only tell you part of the story. It’s kind of like the number of connections you have on LinkedIn versus the number of likes, comments and shares you get. The former doesn’t tell you much, but the latter does.


To truly understand how impactful your email marketing is, you need to track the details.


The nuts and bolts of your open rate




There are more variables than you might think. If you send a monthly email, what week within month is best? What about the obvious ones – the day of week and time of day? And if you switched from weekly to monthly or vice versa, how does frequency affect your open rates?


Subject line


More than timing, subject lines will affect your open rates – sometimes dramatically so. I’ve written about this before, but some things you want to track over time are using questions, statistics, statements or phrases. Which drive the highest open rates? And do emojis help or hurt your open rates?


Figuring this out is where A/B testing comes into play. You’ll quickly learn what your audience prefer so you can replicate it again next time.


Preview statement


MailChimp lets you add a “preview statement” that is longer and therefore more substantial than your (short) subject line. Across the board, I’ve seen this help open rates. So I suggest using this feature.




This one always surprises me: Adding a first name to your subject line improves open rates. (I think it comes across as too sales-y, but maybe that’s just me.) I want you to experiment with it. Does it improve your open rate or not?


The nuts and bolts of your click-through rate


When I talk about click-throughs, it means you are sending people from your email to your website, a social media account or another third-party site where they can interact with your brand (like buying your book on Amazon).


Avoid sending people off on a new adventure that doesn’t involve your brand. You want to keep their attention, not lose it.


All good? OK, let’s keep going.


Type of content


By type of content, I’m talking about video, podcast, blog post, quiz, free ebook, etc. Everyone consumes content differently. You might find that your audience prefers podcasts or videos. If so, make sure that type of content is more prominent.


Order of content


Order matters. When I started putting the article I mentioned in the subject line at the bottom of my newsletter (rather than first), clicks went up for all the content. Play around with the order and see what happens.




This is a biggie, and it’ll actually help you improve your blogging. As I’ve written previously, you only want to cover five main topics, or categories, in your blog. This ensures you stay focused when writing.


What you want to write about versus what your audience wants to read are two different things. Make sure you track the topics that garner the most click-throughs. The success of your overall content marketing strategy depends on it.




What happens when you add or remove images? Do clicks go up, down or stay the same? You won’t know til you test it out. (Yes, you can use the A/B testing feature in MailChimp for this.)


Call to action


First of all, make sure you always use a button, not text with a hyperlink. Second, use a contrasting color for the button so it stands out. Third, change up the wording you use.


Calls to action are generally most effective when they’re commands, like “read more” or “register now.” You can try tapping into FOMO (fear of missing out) with a more urgent call to action, like “Hurry – buy now!”


Just try to avoid a really long phrase, like “Unlock the secrets to success today – download now.” People don’t like to read a lot of text in buttons.


Your turn


What have you found makes the biggest impact on your email marketing success? If you haven’t found the magic formula yet, contact us. We can help.


Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels

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