Few lead generation activities are as reliable and profitable as B2B email marketing. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can generate $36 in ROI.
It’s easy to see why. When your company sends B2B emails, you’re writing to another business contact. It lands in their work inbox. Unlike on a social media platform, you aren’t competing with news updates or envy-inducing tropical vacation photos.
You have the attention of someone who is in work mode. They expect to see business-related content. But, while you don’t have to contend with influencers selling the new “it” product, you are competing with other B2B marketers.
You can’t gauge how your competitors’ emails perform, but you have more than enough data about your email campaigns to continuously refine and improve campaign effectiveness.
14 B2B Email Marketing Metrics To Constantly Evaluate and Improve
Before we dive into the metrics, we need to discuss the missing metric: Opens
For years, marketers watched email open rates to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Changes around data privacy have made the open rate data you collect unreliable. You can and should still monitor it, but know the open rates are not as accurate as they once were. Use them for insight, but don’t rely on them.
On the plus side, there are 14 reliable metrics you can monitor and use to develop and refine the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.
1. Email list size
Your email list size will always be in flux. Bounces and unsubscribe contacts reduce it. Subscriptions and registrations increase it. Be vigilant about constantly adding to it organically. Weed out old addresses and disengaged contacts (more on this below).
As the number of contacts changes, you want to make sure your list doesn’t dip too low. An email list that’s too small won’t have the mass to generate marketing qualified leads to pass to Sales.
2. Email list growth
Static lists have short shelf lives. Without an organic growth plan, your list will fill up with disengaged prospects and invalid emails over time. This hurts deliverability to prospects’ inboxes and makes it nearly impossible to write campaigns that deliver qualified opportunities to sales. Monitor both list size and growth to be sure you’re continually adding new contacts, not just losing stale ones.
Purchased lists are not the solution
Organically grow your list through forms on your website that capture new email addresses. Have useful, engaging content that people find value in, like downloadable assets, quizzes, newsletter signups, and free offers. Use registration forms for events and webinars.
3. Sources of new email addresses
How you get new emails is another clue about what your prospects are interested in.
Did they hand over their email address because they want your newsletter?
What topics did you promise to cover?
Was it from a form they filled out to download a resource from your website?
What problem does it promise to solve?
Keep people engaged by sending related resources
After you get an email address, send automated email campaigns with links to blog posts, solution pages, and guides that lead your prospect through their Buyer’s Journey.
4. Overall engagement
Email engagement metrics like clicks and conversions serve several purposes. First, they tell you who is interested in what. Second, you can segment your list and send more content to people who are highly engaged. Send contacts who rarely engage fewer emails. Then, create a different strategy for disengaged contacts.
This increases your click-through rates. It shows email providers that people are engaging with your content and do not consider it clutter, junk, or spam. The more clicks your content gets, the better your overall email campaign deliverability will become.
5. Engagement by segment
In addition to list segmentation based on who is engaging with your email campaigns, create segments based on your target markets.
This helps with deliverability because you stop trying to be everything to everyone. Emails are more appealing. The content better aligns with what your target contacts are interested in receiving. What you write to engage a business owner has a different tenor than the email you send to an office manager who wields influence over the decision-making executives.
Look at your various segments and ask:
- What are they interested in?
- What characteristics broadly define the most engaged contacts? Are these the contacts we want to be engaging with?
- Who are the least engaged recipients? What do they have in common?
- Are certain solutions and services resonating more?
- Are people who are engaged the decision makers in the organization, or do they play a valued role in recommending new services?
6. Engagement by type of email and goal
You send an array of emails: newsletters, campaigns, updates, promotions. They all have different objectives. A high click-through rate would be a measure of success for a newsletter. But you want meetings, not clicks, from your sales-focused email campaigns.
List out the types of emails you send and assign a goal for each
Then critically evaluate performance against the specific goals. This will tell you which types of emails your lists engage. Knowing this helps you refine strategies you use in your other campaigns.
After you identify your top performing emails, sit back and ask why
For instance, if your newsletters constantly get the most opens and clicks, take the time to consider what compels people to engage with the content. Ask questions like:
- Who gets the email? Customers who know you or a niche target market?
- What topics do you cover? Do you write about these problems and solutions in other emails?
- What tactics can you borrow from the most engaging emails you send to improve the rest?
Your evaluation should give you ideas for additional campaigns and which topics people care most about.
If you saw a high click-through rate on a tip about writing better email subject lines, you could expand on that theme in a guide and send the asset to the same list.
7. Click-through rate (CTR)
CTR is one way to measure engagement. At the highest level, it tells you which emails in a campaign got the most engagement. Then, when you zoom in on the content, you see the topics contacts in your list cared about most.
How to calculate CTR
(Clicks / Delivered Emails) x 100
8. Conversion rate
Whenever your email has a specific call to action, such as “book a meeting” or “RSVP for a webinar,” you want to track the conversion rate. If people are not converting, that is a signal that your email list is focused on a different set of priorities, or that you are not talking about their problems in a way that creates an urgency to act.
How to calculate conversion rate
(Conversions / Delivered Emails) x 100
9. Bounce rate
Bounced emails are those that do not get delivered. Rather, they “bounce” back. While you may have contacts that show in your email list, they aren’t receiving your content. Bounces effectively reduce the size of your list without you realizing it if you aren’t paying attention.
How to calculate bounce rate
(Bounced Emails / Emails Sent) x 100
There are 2 categories to know and watch: soft bounces and hard bounces
Examples of soft bounces
The email doesn’t go through because of a temporary problem, like the:
- File you attached is too large
- Receiver’s inbox is full
Examples of hard bounces
The email doesn’t go through because of a permanent problem, like you:
- Tried to send to an invalid email address
- Have been blocked by the email client
Hard bounces hurt overall deliverability and can get you labeled as “spam”
Good list hygiene keeps you out of the spam trap. Remove hard bounces and make list hygiene a recurring task.
10. A/B test results
This might sound obvious, but you need to apply the results of the A/B tests you run. Not just to the next email you send, but to your overall strategy.
A/B tests help you refine your strategy, but the goal posts are always moving. Every test you run builds on the previous one.
Tip to boost engagement: Run an A/B test on a small portion of your list in the morning
Then use the winning result to email the rest of your list a few hours later.
11. Shares and forward rate
You want to pay attention to this number across your campaigns. It tells you which emails people found so valuable they had to share it with one of their peers. Not all email marketing systems capture shares and forward rate, but if yours does, this is a powerful signal that identifies what your target market cares about right now.
How to calculate forward rate
(Forwarded Emails / Opened Emails) x 100
Email is not a one-way conversation. Take advantage of that. This is where the real ROI is for B2B marketing.
Whenever prospects hand over their email address, start a conversation with an automated marketing email. Ask a question related to whatever they signed up for or downloaded. When they reply, qualify the opportunity, and pass the information along to sales.
Track which emails you use to initiate conversations
See which phrases and questions elicit the most replies and use them in future campaigns.
Your email provider will report how many people unsubscribe from your emails. You may not see why a person doesn’t want to hear from you, but that doesn’t stop you from digging deeper on your own.
Critically evaluate the emails that triggered the most unsubscribes
- Which segment was it sent to?
- What about the subject line and content caused people to leave your list?
Give people the option to opt out of your emails
Unsubscribes are disheartening, but it’s a deliverability best practice to add an unsubscribe link to your emails. Create a landing page that lets people choose how often they hear from you, or to unsubscribe entirely.
If there are contacts who don’t want to receive your emails, let them go. No matter what you write, they won’t read it. Don’t let them hurt your deliverability.
14. Total campaign ROI
You can only measure campaign ROI if the objective was to sell products and services. If you designed the campaign to maintain brand awareness and did not include any links to services, or calls to action for a meeting, you won’t generate sales to measure.
How to calculate total campaign ROI
((Sales From the Campaign – Money Invested in the Campaign) / Money Invested in the Campaign) x 100
Send Emails That Spark Conversations
If you aren’t moving forward in your B2B email campaign effectiveness, you’re moving backwards. Strong campaigns mix tactical and creative. It’s a continual process you do not have to manage on your own.
Through Do It For You and Do It With You email marketing solutions, our B2B lead generation experts keep you top of mind with your prospects. You decide how we work with you. We will write and send, or simply write, emails on your behalf.
Your content will focus on real issues your prospects want to solve
In carefully crafted, compelling messaging, prospects see your services as the answer to the obstacles they’re facing.
Schedule a call with us to discuss how we can support your business goals.