The task of tracking what happens in your emails – feels like a big one. It might even make you feel a little dumb. I know tracking any analytics, stats, or performance in the form of numbers has the power to make even the smartest entrepreneur want to call it a day.
Personally – I go a little bit cross eyed when I think of how to track any type of performance in my business.
But the information is valuable.
So – let’s come up with an easy setup for each activity you want to monitor.
Step 1: What stats do you already track and don’t even know it?
Some logical first stats to watch:
- Clicks on links in your emails
- Open rate
- Spam complaints
Setup required: None.
Most email marketing systems allow you to view these and other very basic stats by going into your dashboard. Login and look around for anything called “reports” or “dashboard”, and if you still can’t find it – go ahead and search the site for reports.
Step 2: Decide on a few more important metrics to track.
Next let’s take a deeper look at what happens to emails after the open, after the click…and how to follow those initial actions people take.
- Email subscriber growth + source
- Days emails work the best
- Emails that turn people into customers
The basic process goes like this:
User clicks a link > link leads to a webpage > webpage has one action that the user might take (for example: make a purchase, fill out a webform)
So – how do you follow someone from that initial email you send all the way to the form or purchase they make?
How do you differentiate actions taken by people who come to the page from a link on Facebook or Twitter?
First – set up some goals in Google Analytics:
This is useful for tracking all kinds of activity and is a great way to see where people are coming from.
Next – now that you’ve got some goals set up in google analytics – drill down and set up analytics inside your email marketing system.
Choose your adventure and follow directions:
All I did to find this information – google email marketing analytics. If you use another email marketing system, you can find this information! Google it!
Easy hacks for tracking when you’re too lazy to set it up
Track email feedback on your emails. Make sure the reply-to email is not your personal email. Set a separate “support” address for people to reply to.
Then have someone (maybe you!) go in weekly to make note of the number of positive/negative responses to the email. Copy and paste comments into a google spreadsheet – don’t worry about reading them completely – but try to categorize the emails by good response/bad response.
Schedule time to go into this spreadsheet a few times per month.
Eyeball the links being clicked the most and from where. This is super basic but useful if looking at your reports gives you a headache.
Create bit.ly links for each place you post links – this is an easy way to know where people are clicking! Compare that to actions taken on your page and you’ll understand very easily where actions are most likely initiated and a goal is accomplished.
Use Google URL Builder for links inside your emails. If you have a specific series of emails running as a sequence, consider using a special URL created by google. Build your URL here.
Simply input your actual url to track – and then add additional details that will then be tracked and pulled into your google analytics account.
Expert tips from some people we love at LKR:
Amy Porterfield, Social Media Strategist
I’ve recently started to include an image in each of my emails that acts as a visual call to action. Not only does this strategy grab the attention of my reader right away, it has also increased my click rates by 15%+. Here’s an example of an image I used in my emails while mailing for an upcoming webinar last month:
Liz Lockard, SEO and Analytics expert
Making sure you’re set up so that your email campaigns are tagged with Google Analytics is a must. With MailChimp, it’s a simple checkbox as you set up every campaign. #2 Making sure Google Analytics is configured to track whatever the goal of your email is (if there is a specific one) – meaning an interest list signup goal or making sure your sales are tracked in Google Analytics.
You can learn even more by finding out WHERE on your site people are signing up most for your newsletter. Sure, you can find this out from within Google Analytics if you have a newsletter goal setup, but you can go one step further and add hidden fields to your email signup forms. This helps me know if say my sidebar or footer signup forms are more effective. Specific how-to from MailChimp on hidden fields here.
Matthias Hager, master of all technical at LKR
Nothing fancy here – Most email tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and so on allow you to track basic stats like open rates and click-throughs. These numbers aren’t particularly accurate, but they can be useful. The hard part is putting them to use. You can stare at statistics and data until your eyes bleed, but this does no good unless you actually do something, anything, as a result of those numbers.
One way to better track links in Analytics you can add the following code to the end of your link:
or use Google URL Builder to generate the link. Then – just shorten that ugly link with bit.ly or pretty link.
This is a good article that explains it even better.
Your Action Steps
- Set up analytics using your email marketing system.
- Try 1 of the expert tips or hacks in your next email or series of emails.
- Share in the comments below what you do to track the effectiveness of your own email … or fess up if you don’t!