How KPIs help using your email marketing budget more effectively

Mareike Juds
Head of Marketing & Communication

The declared goal: to achieve even more opens, clicks and sales with your bu

Let’s take a look below, the email marketing budget is fixed, the first newsletters have been sent out – now it’s time to analyze the campaign. The report tells you at a glance how well your newsletter has performed – and at the same time where to make improvements to use your email marketing budget more effectively.

In this article of our series on Annual email marketing budget we illustrate which key figures (KPIs, abbreviated form of “Key Performance Indicators”) are relevant and what they say – and how they can be improved! The declared goal: to achieve even more opens, clicks and sales with your budget.

Key figures help to better use your budget

It’s helpful to look at the email marketing budget as a kind of funnel:

Only a part of all recipients opens a newsletter; this proportion is measured as the open rate. A small number of openers click on a link, which is measured as the click rate. And of those who are now on a website, such as an online shop, an even smaller part converts, indicated as – surprise – the conversion or completion rate.

The image shows how 1,125 newsletter subscribers out of 10,000 turn into buyers:

In our example, 75% of the recipients open the newsletter. 3,750 (or 50%) of these 7,500 recipients click on the link in the email and are thus forwarded to the homepage. 30% of these people take up the offer and convert, this means 1,125 people out of 10,000 recipients become actual buyers. What does this show? Right. The number of recipients you contact is way higher than the number of people who actually convert (e.g. buy something from a shop).

So how can I increase conversions? One option is to simply contact more recipients. Easier said than done – these recipients must first be found.

Instead, it makes more sense to use the email marketing budget more efficiently. This succeeds if I keep the number of recipients – and thus the costs – and manage to turn more recipients into customers at the same time. For example, if the open, click and conversion rates increase by only one percent, the number of buyers is already 48.51 – in real terms between 48 and 49! But how do I get more recipients to open my newsletter, click more and finally buy more? The key is to make offers that are better tailored to the customer’s interests. This results in the challenge of getting to know customers as well as possible – because the better I know my customers, the better I meet their taste.

But how can I get to know my recipients so well that I can send them perfect newsletters they really want? That’s the point where report data can help. Categorized and interpreted correctly, they are the key to more success in email marketing – while keeping the budget unchanged.

What can you read from the key figures (KPIs) in your newsletter report?

Let’s take a look at the first two key figures: open and click rates. What do they say? And how can we improve them to use our email marketing budget more effectively?

Open rates

Done everything on your checklist – but still only 15% of recipients open your newsletters!

Competition never rests! Your company’s newsletter competes with countless other mails in a recipient’s mailbox – on average, private individuals receive 20 different newsletters per week. Maybe your mail just got lost in their inbox.

In general, the average open rate in email marketing is approximately 20 percent – globally and across all industries. However, these values vary widely from region to region and industry to industry, with some sectors already having a good average of 10 percent opens, while others regularly achieve 30 percent opens. If my open rate is permanently below the industry average, there are a few things I can do to improve it. The most important ones are:

The subject line

The subject line is the key to the open rate: it should capture the recipient’s attention within fractions of a second. Put on the customer glasses and be strict: Does it really meet the needs of your target group? A rule of thumb should be:

  • Put the content of your newsletter in your subject line! Your recipients then know what to expect of your mailing when opening it – and this promise should be kept.
  • Keep it short and simple – Your recipients don’t want to read novels in the subject line. Also avoid spammy words and phrases such as „SPECIAL OFFER“ or „click NOW“
  • Personalize the subject line. This significantly increases the probability of opens and conversions!

The sender’s name

The sender’s name is, along with the subject line, the first thing recipients see when your newsletter arrives in their inbox. Make it easy for your recipients and use the company name in the mailing address (this is also required by law). We recommend that you make the sender address available for replies and do not use a so-called no-reply address.

The frequency

Quality before quantity! Just because your calendar says you have to send a mailing each Monday does not mean there is always something to chat about or share. After having received three meaningless newsletters in a row, chances are your recipients are getting tired of opening your next mailing– even if this one could be more exciting!

Otherwise, there is no general rule of how often your recipients want to get your newsletters. This varies from industry to industry, but also from sender to sender. Find out what works best for you by varying your delivery frequency. The report gives you the answer after the test period.

Click rates

To achieve high click rates, the content of my newsletter has to be exciting, unique and irresistable to make my recipient desperately want to know more and click on the link. It’s not necessary to achieve creative excellence and invent elaborate competitions or create brilliantly phrased content for each mailing. Some successful newsletters only consist of a meaningful headline and impressive images, which are linked to the respective offer. Here too, the following applies: the offer corresponds to the recipients’ interests.

It also doesn’t have to take too long to create a newsletter: Automation tools such as our THEA ensure that recipients receive targeted offers and content – almost automatically.

To make sure a newsletter is well received by my recipients, an A/B split test can help: for this test, two different versions of a mailing are created. Each version is then sent to ten percent of a recipient list. After a predefined period of time, the result of the test delivery is evaluated and the version with higher open rates is sent to the 80 percent left of my recipient list.

If the subject line and content of the newsletter are optimized in such a way that more of my recipients open and click, I have already overcome important hurdles.


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