Seasoned business-to-business (B2B) marketers know the importance of using email in their marketing strategy. According to a study conducted by Experian, email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than traditional media. Furthermore, once you have a prospect's email address, you can continue to send him or her emails for as long as they remain subscribed to your newsletter. But if you plan on using email to generate more sales or leads, you should track the following metrics.
Open rate is defined as the percentage of users who open an email over those who receive it. If you send a marketing email to 1,000 prospects and 300 open it, your email has a 30% open rate. Whether you are trying to sell a product or generate leads, you want to optimize your emails for the highest open rate possible. If only a few users open your emails, you'll have a hard time accomplishing your marketing goals.
Of course, you should also track the click-through rate (CTR) of your B2B emails. Basically, this is the percentage of email recipients that click a desired link in the email. Most B2B marketing emails contain links, often to product pages or online contact forms. If the recipient wants to learn more about your company, or purchase an advertised product or service, he or she can click the link. While this is perfectly fine, you must monitor your email's CTR to determine exactly how many users are clicking the link.
Not to be confused with website bounce rate, email bounce rate is the percentage of sent emails that did not successfully reach the target's inbox. Rather than reaching the recipient's inbox, they "bounce." There are two specific types of email bounces: soft and hard. Soft bounces occur when there's a problem with the recipient's inbox or server, whereas hard bounces occur when the recipient's address is invalid or closed.
Assuming your email is interesting and engaging, recipients will likely share it with their friends, family and/or colleagues. Therefore, you should track the number of times your emails are shared or forwarded. If an email receives few-to-no shares or forward, you may want to change the content or design to create a stronger connection with your target audience.
By monitoring these metrics, you'll have a better understanding of the overall effectiveness of your B2B email marketing campaigns. With that said, perhaps the most important metric remains conversion rate. A high conversion rate is paramount in just about any digital marketing channel, including email.