How Do You Solve A Problem Like Statistics?
Almost every business decision is driven by data. As the world becomes an increasingly digital landscape, there are more and more ways to capture data. This leads to a potential whirlwind of stats and figures that leave you wondering where to begin to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
For a marketer this is particularly prevalent as the success of your Campaign can easily come down to how good your data is to start with. This is especially true of email - without reliable contact data the Campaign isn’t going to get off the ground. However, the work continues after you’ve pressed send and the floods of statistics come your way. With all the touch points along the way and lifecycles of Campaigns and contacts, it can be difficult to work out where to start. Our article on The Journey of a Newsletter explores the various avenues were data should be considered along the way.
Where to begin?
Let’s stick with the fundamentals: how is your contact data? If you’re not checking your bounces, opt outs and spam reports then the answer is not going to be good. This is the first thing you should be going through and making sure you act upon on. Look through the bounces, why did they bounce and will this affect other emails you or your colleagues might send?
The next thing to look at is the activities. Open and click rates are the back-bone of measuring the success of an email campaign, but you can do so much more than just compare the view rates of your past ten emails. Who was doing the viewing, what device were they using, and have they become more or less engaged over time? Digging deeper into these statistics will give you a much more detailed picture of your email marketing efforts. It’s useful to know generally how the industry is moving, but it is vital you know how your audience behave and react.
How about the contacts that haven’t viewed your email? Are you keeping track of them? If you were intending for people to do something like download a document or RSVP to an event, why didn’t they? Sometimes it’s a simple answer - they missed your message in the chaos of their inbox - so you can just segment this list and send a follow up. However, it may be more than that. They might be ignoring your emails or, even worse, they are deleting your emails before reading them. If they were once engaged with your content and now they no longer read it, perhaps it’s time for you to evaluate your strategy. It may be time for a reengagement campaign.
With analysis of your recipients done it’s time to put what you’ve learned about them into practice. You should have already established what Campaigns are successful and acted upon that, but what about the contacts themselves? Make this information work for you. With the knowledge of how your contacts behave you will be able to categorise them, and should be able to segment them. Your segments can lead to the creation of more personalised emails allowing you to work with mail merges, relevant and dynamic content and even understanding the frequency with which you should be sending to specific people. The true value of collecting all of these statistics is in what you do with them.
All of this analysis sounds like a lot of work, and in reality it can be. Sometimes too much. If it weren’t then every email marketer would be doing it and there would be no point in advice, thought leadership and articles like this. The trick is to streamline the process as much as possible. Learn what statistics you really need for your market and industry, do the work periodically to build up a picture of the landscape and the moving trends, and if you can, automate this reporting. Get a digest of already or partially treated and filtered data so all you have to do is understand and react.