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How to measure your e-mail marketing activities

Chances are high that you, as an online organization, have famous “subscribe now” button on your webpages that let’s visitors subscribe to the (weekly) newsletter. And chances are high that in your newsletter software you can observe all kinds of statistics like ‘clicktroughs’, ‘opens’, ‘bounces’, etc. But what happens next? And how do your customers read your newsletter? How do you measure the return on your e-mail investments?

Ok, so how can we enrich these data? How can we learn more about how our newsletter is being read by our customers? Most e-mail marketing software packages provide us with information about opening rates, and bounce rates and stuff like that. They offer us the statistics of how many e-mails received their destination, and how many e-mails were actually opened by their receivers. But after that receivers go to your website via the newsletter. And what happens next?

Using Google Analytics

When you have created a properly functioning Google Analytics environment on your website the next step becomes relatively easy. Google has this application in called Campaign tracking. It lets you define the following elements:

1. Campaign Source. This term identifies the name of the source of the link. For example, when using these tags for social media you can enter “Twitter” of “Facebook”, when using it for email marketing call it “Newsletter” or “Newsletter_eGovernment” when you have multiple newsletters.

2. Campaign Medium. This therm is used to identify the campaign instrument used. In the case of email marketing, your medium is ‘email’. In the case of social media this is “social_media”.

3. Campaign Term. This term is used to identify paid keywords in google adwords campaigns. I would suggest using keywords that specific newsletter like “week14” or “no14”.

4. Campaign Content. This term can be used to describe the content that the link refers to or to check what kind of keywords stimulate clickthrough behaviour.

5. Campaign Name. This identifies the name of your campaign. The Campaign Name helps you differentiate between various campaigns or unique messages within each. Most Email Marketers use their message subject line or other identifying value for this parameter.

Google provides a free tool that can be used to generate URLs: http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55578&hl=en

Once you arranged this, and also have a Google Analytics E-commerce environment you can even track what you earn with email marketing. When you create reports from these data it’s easy to calculate what you earn (directly) with your email marketing activities.

Using software like ClickTale

Another interesting source of information concerning how people read your newsletters is by using the online version of your newsletter. A lot of newsletter tools automatically generate an online version of the newsletter in case the emailclient of the receiver doesn’t support HTML. In these cases the user is directed to the online version. In this version you can run javascripts and thus run Google Analytics and even e.g. ClickTale which films users while observing your newsletter. When tracking this behaviour online, you can learn how users read your newsletters in order to improve these. And don’t forget to communicate your online newsletter by social media and your website to stimulate traffic. When people come to the online version of your email: make sure that there is a subscribe button there also.

Succes in improving your online newsletter measurement!

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