As e-mail marketing techniques have evolved over the years to better capture the recipients’ attention, those efforts are consistently thwarted by do not mail lists and spam blockers. The delete key, bounce backs and junk e-mail accounts are the worst enemies of an e-mail marketing campaign. Because e-mail recipients continue to become craftier about how they avoid e-mail advertisements, and because fewer good e-mail lists are available, it’s crucial today for publishers and marketers to stay on top of their e-mail marketing metrics.
"E-mail metrics provide continuous reader feedback so that you can improve your content, timing, targeting and offers within your campaign," explains Bill Baird, president of Baird Direct Marketing Inc. Baird tracks the e-mail marketing metrics for 25 large and mid-sized magazines. "This applies to both editorial newsletter content as well as marketing. It’s analogous to receiving a reliable, behavioral indicator of interest in every single element of your magazine from your readers."
At Institutional Investor, e-mail marketing accounts for about half of its marketing efforts. "We use e-mail in a two-pronged approach, coordinating it with cover wraps and other direct mail efforts to reinforce the message and to provide subscribers with a choice for how to subscribe," explains circulation director Christina Vasiliadis. "These days it’s about being accessible for your subscribers to communicate in the manner they prefer."
Abraham Langer, vice president of audience marketing and Web operations at 1105 Media, says his company utilizes a number of tools provided through its e-mail provider that reports baseline metrics such as click through and deliverability, which he analyzes in an effort to boost performance. "List hygiene, which includes the implementation of an effective bounce handling policy, can dramatically improve your deliverability rate with internet service providers," he says. "The percentage of ‘bad’ e-mail addresses on your file has a significant impact on how a provider decides to treat your e-mail.
At Penton Media, e-mail marketing is used in all of its marketing campaigns. The publisher tracks some of the usual metrics-including open rates, click-throughs and bounce backs-as well as response by age, by industry and domain.
For Penton’s managing director of integrated marketing, Geoff Smith, optimizing e-mail marketing performance has as much to do with the people on his team than it does with the actual metrics. "You have to have the right people looking at reports who can spot trends and act upon them," he says. "No report in the world will do you any good if you don’t actively monitor them and act upon the data."