Email Marketing Metrics

Email Metrics & KPIs

In a digital marketing world where we are often found in analysis paralysis, I thought it might be benefitial to simplify to a select few metrics or KPIs used for Email programs specifically.  Obviosuly ALL the others out there are important as well depending on the goals you are pursuing, but these are a few that you cannot miss.

– Status Ratio:  Gotta count your actives, inactives, held, and unsubscribes to make sure your engagement is going the right way. Your unsubscribe ratio is one you specifically should be watching.  If this is growing, you are doing something wrong.
– List Counts: A couple lists you should keep your eyes on are Total subscribed, Total Sent to (which can get you ave emails per customer), Total Openers within 180  (and 90) days, and clickers within 180 days.  Need to know the opportunities to send to for any marketing campaign.
– Retention Rate:  Count how many of your new subscribers have opened, clicked, or visited with a 90 & 180 day window.  This will tell you if your onboarding is helping or hurting.
– Delivery Rate:  No brainer.  This will tell you how good your acquisition strategies are or how clean your reputation is.  …note, this is not Inbox Delivery…which is a GREAT metric if you have access to ResponsePath or something similar.
– Open Rate:  Industry standard is around 25-30%.
– Click Rate:  Industry standard is around 5-10%
– Complaint Rate:  If you don’t know this one, you will learn the hard way.  Ave complaints are absolutely in every ESP deliverability algorythm.  If you have high complaints, you will NOT get delivered to inboxes.
– eRPM:  Grab the revenue per mille and compare it up against your CPM to make sure that you are far from frustrating your leadership with bad ROI.

Starting with these will get you to a good Digital Stride with your customers through email.  Let me know if you think I’m missing any.  Enjoy!


Creative Digital Marketing Interview Questions

I’ve worked for some cool companies, and have had a lot of great opportunities hiring great people to influence great digital marketing efforts for the overall benefit of the company as a whole.  Someone recently asked me how many people I have hired, and my answer was an estimate of just under 100.  Seems like quite a few, until you think about how many people I had to interview to get to that many hires.  With all the experiences I have had, I do know how to get quickly to the point on learning if a person is a good fit.  We likely all know the big questions we should be asking in regards to digital marketing (strategies, analytics, prioritization, etc), but I wanted to post this article in response to some creative questions that will really help you learn quickly if they are the right fit.

  1. “How do you organize your personal closet?” or “How do you load your dish washer?”  The answers to these questions can easily point out if the candidate is organized or not.  For example:  If the candidate says that thier closet is always a mess, or they have no rhyme or reason for the dish washer…you can trust that their organization skills are less than ideal, and you just may not want to hire them as a Web UX specialist.  A good answer would like fall down the lines of “I keep all shirts up top, and pants on the bottom, and segmented out by color and by season.  Now that is a intentional planner and organizer.
  2. “If you could go to lunch with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?”  You can learn MANY things with this question including characteristics like chemistry with your existing team, thoughtfulness, laziness, intention, etc.  Try it out.  I promise you will learn something significant about the candidate.
  3. “What is 20% times 2 dozen?”  This is simple math that any analyst should be able to get.  If they don’t get it, you might want to reconsider what you are hiring them for.
  4. “How many manholes are there in the United States?”  Crazy hard right?  You obviously should not expect that the candidate is actually going to be able to get it, but it is important for them to try.  A response of “I have no idea” can prove a lack of creativity with analytics, whereas someone with a drive in discovery might say “I grew up in a town of 5k, and there were about 20 manholes, so since there are over 300 million people in the US …60k X 20 = 1.2 million manholes.

If anything, the answers will bring some enjoyment out of interviewing again.

UX Specialists Responsibilities

UX/UI Specialists Responsibilities

Let me guess why you are reading this…

You’ve been told for a long time that a true eMarketing Company cannot make it without having a dedicated UX/UI Specialist for all your customer interfaces, so now you are considering getting one.  Well, before you hire one, consider what you will actually use them for.  Here are typically the primary reasons.  1) User Experience Design  2) Information Architecture  3) User Experience Analyst.  Every company needs something a little different, but as EVERYBODY in your company should be focused on bringing a better User Experience to your Site, App, Digital Marketing Channel …it definitely helps to have someone dedicated around to making sure that every bodies pursuits are organized.

Below is a list of responsibilities that I prioritize when considering a UX Specialist.

  1. Full Site/Mobile App review and audit – Take advantage of a fresh set of eyes on EVERYTHING that your company does or sells.  Have them go through all flows and funnels and detail the opportunities.
  2. Manage the current UX 1-N List:  You must have a list of things you’ve been thinking about doing.  Make sure that each of them now has justification and analytics on each of them so you know you are working on the right projects.
  3. Conduct User Testing: There are SO many ways to get feedback from customers.  Make sure the services that you typically use are on the list of ways they can go compile data.
    • Focus Groups
    • Interviewing Employee relatives
    • Face to Face Interviews
    • Field Research
    • Testing labs
  4. Detailed Analytics:  This person has GOT to know how to tell stories with data.  Once they have it, make sure they are…
    • Providing weekly UX meeting to show high Level findings and results
    • In depth funnel reporting
    • Heatmaping readouts and shifts on the site
  5. Design Team Requests:  They can’t do everything, so this person should be able to help provide Prototyping, Layouts, Wireframes, and whiteboard sessions based off of Analytics to make thier jobs even easier and reduce less guess work.
  6. Creating User Personas:  Do you actually know who your customer base is?  If not, UX should be able to help do this for you based off the data that you do have.  It might need to combine Google Analytics with several other data points, but having your complete company on the same page about who your customer is, will benefit you in the long run.
  7. Customer Journey Map: Knowing the most important channels and methods that your most valuable customers get to your site is CRITICAL.  Unleash thier ability to go look at customer logs, and attribution to allow them to tell you what journeys are the most valuable to the company.  These stories are not easy if you are trying to find value, but they are so worth it for purposes of ROI, Attribution, and effective Digital Stride with your customers.

Daily Digital Customer Device Journey

We all know what devices we personally use throughout the workday, but there is something really cool about being able to count it and watch it.  That is the beauty of digital marketing.  If you have been recently challenged with desktop/tablet/mobile conversion rates, or can’t seem to understand what your audience mindset is at a specific time of the day, hopefully the below can help whether you are retail, entertainment or information.

I used an index to find the variance of sessions by device (desktop/tablet/mobile) throughout the day, along with lining up the hour of the day.  The hour data in the below graph is in MST, but primary visitors are east/west coast …just like everybody else. The reality is this:

  • Devices to your site by time of dayMorning:  The majority of a customers digital journey starts at work (on a desktop) as they are either shopping/researching items that they thought about the night before, or during bathroom preparation.  You’ll notice a small blip in tablet in the morning thanks to commuters, or people reading up on news during preparation.  Stride Opportunity:  Delivery your promotional emails early, because the more emails read on a mobile device, the less the conversion and those come later in the morning.
  • Afternoon:  During the lunch hour, people are mobile.  Whether they are driving, sitting in a restaurant, or in a park watching the world pass by.  So it makes perfect sense that we would see a spike in mobile sessions.  Stride Opportunity:  Drive engagement with the intention of brand recognition.  You may not want to have big spend initiatives here, but rather viral or share-ability.  Also a great opportunity to pitch mobile app downloads to your viewers (by way of App Takeover) because viewers will likely not convert, so focus on getting your marketing assets in front of them.
  • Nighttime:  We all do it.  Netflix, Hulu, YouTube from your couch, dinner table, or bed on your favorite of 3 tablets in the house.    Stride Opportunity:  Make sure your promotions are clear, loud, and optimized here because these shoppers will either be tough to convince, or really easy due to laziness.  It depends on your audience and customer segments.

Bottomline, know your audience, try to understand thier journey, and deliver the right message to them knowing what device they might be on for the best opportunity of conversion.


10 Ideas for Website Personalization

I recently had some time with a company that was struggling to find some great personalization ideas to use on their website.  I have used personalization heavily on several of the sites I have worked on, so this topic came easily for me. I decided to document them and see if it could benefit anybody else by providing some fuel to do personalization well.  Personalization isn’t for everybody though, you do need to know plenty about your customers in order to utilize it well.

  1. Landing pages:  Depending on if they are a returning customer or not, you can control what type of banner/content is displayed to them.  New Customer:  Educational message about what you do.  Returning customer:  Banner specific to best products and services.
  2. Landing pages:  Do you know what products or brands they have interacted with in the past on your site?  Make sure you have a direct tie into those products when they first arrive to reduce bounce/exit.
  3. Customer Interest:  Have you asked the customer any explicit questions about their interests during account registration? Make sure these categories are captured on homepage, landing pages, email programs, social posts and any customer engagements you attempt to make.
  4. Marketing Assets:  Does the customer already have a couple of your marketing assets? If they already have your mobile app, be smart and don’t ask them to download it again. What other assets can you have them download? Browser app. Email sign up, Mobile App, SMS list, Social channels, etc.  You can do this easiest through a proactive lightbox or modal, that way it is not intrusive to the customers flow.
  5. Customer Interest:  Make sure to have a widget about recommended products or brands. Best locations for this are either in your emails, internal search results, blog, or on your 404 page.
  6. Customer Interest:  Do you know what gender your customers are? Customize experience with colors or products at the top of the page based on their answer. If you don’t know what gender they are, take some liberties with the first names on your list and bounce it up against a gender matchup to understand your customers a little more.
  7. Customer Interest:  If you send a welcome email, make sure that it matches well with the referral topic (referral code) that they signed up with? It needs to match their expectations or else you will lose them fast.
  8. Customer Interest:  If you have a strong email campaign, results have shown adding localisation, gender or known technology (ie. iPhone) to your subject line and content.  I’ve personally seen engagement go up to 40% when you can appeal to their personal journey.
  9. Customer Interest:  If the customer has purchased with you in the past, maybe they need an accessory to the item they purchased? Or maybe they are looking for an easy way to repurchase, so give them a fast path to purchase again.  Ease is critical to our online shoppers.  Always give them an appropriate path based on their potential comfort with conversion by motivating with dynamic CTA language.
  10. Customer Info:  Use the customers account information to show that you know who they are.  You definitely do not want to me “big brother” and share an email address globaly, but if you know the customers first name, show that you know something about them.  Put it in your super-header, put their name near the sign out, but make them feel like you know who they are.

That’s my quick list to help fuel your pursuit. What am I missing?


CRM explained

What is CRM? Simplified Version

What is CRM? 

In the world of digital marketing there is a very popular acronym known as CRM. We’ve all heard it.  It’s an acronym that all executive leaders like to talk about, all managers act like they know how to use, and analysts feel the right way to quantify it.  Well, before you step into a world of high cost software packages, or massive agency budgets, I’d like to recommend a simplified view of what it really is.  Wikipedia defines it as:

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

…but I would like to simplify it a bit and suggest that we rename it to be Count, Relate, and Monetize.  When simplified like this, it may actually seem like a task you could actually accomplish rather than dream about it for a long time and never do anything about it.


Starting with the basics, do you really have visibility as to how many assets or existing customers you have to make your Digital Marketing efforts do well?  Assets?  …Examples of assets are:

  • Registered customers
  • Active 180 day email open subscribers
  • Active mobile apps
  • Active browser apps
  • Social followers
  • Mailing list
  • SMS lists

Understanding the trending and volumes of these assets is critical as you start the planning of your marketing by realizing the biggest area of opportunity of assets to engage with your customer base in the first place.  Spoiler alert …CRM is all about building audiences for your promotions, and communicating the promotions to your valuable customers through your assets. You will not do it well without the growth and optimization of assets like these.


The goal of relating with your existing and potential customers is to engage with them.  Engagement with your customers means that you are that much closer to a potential conversion with the most valuable customers in your business, BUT if you don’t have the means to communicate with them, it will not be very easy.  This is why asset “Count” is so important to the “Relate” piece of CRM.  You can’t rely on PPC, Organic, and Radio spots alone to drive engagement from your existing customers, but they need to be a piece of the overall omni-channel communication experience.

The difficult part about relating with your customers is that you have to figure out WHAT topics or content to engage your customers with.  Well, just like you would bring up topics that your friends would have interest in, you need to find implicit ways (unless you have explicit questions in your account signup) to understand what they would like to receive from you.  Some implicit examples might be:

  • What has the customer put in the cart?
  • What categories did they visit on your site?
  • What have they clicked in previous emails?
  • What have they purchased in the past?
  • Do you have a social login?  Grab the Social Interests from it.
  • What have they looked at in your mobile app?

Once you are able to start capturing these Implicit actions, this is where you are able to start building audiences.  Audiences are critical to understand before you start doing any marketing as this is the most significant form of personalization that you can give your customer.  Deliver messages to your customers that are in tune with what matters to them.  This matches perfectly with the studies of Implicit Egotism that shows that customers are organically prideful, love to be catered to, they love the fact that companies are listening to them, and ultimately this will help with a conversion decision of the journey.  Counting and trending your audiences segments will also help form future products or promotions as well.


Now that you have found simple ways to count your assets, and build audiences to relate well with your customers, now you need to find which combinations will bring in the best profitability and engagements for your efforts. You need to COUNT which combination of asset and communication…

  • brings in customers with the highest LTV (life time value)
  • acquires New Customers the most effectively
  • re-engages with your ageing customers
  • influences the highest omni-channel engagers
  • cross promotes other assets
  • promotes your most frequent visitors

If you can answer these questions with your reporting, then you now have the knowledge to go do some profitable communications and  build beneficial relationships. For some of you conservative marketers out there, yes, RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetization) is secretly captured in this model, but I dare not suggest that RFM is fit for every company out there.  It needs to be tweaked to fit the specific benchmarking needs for each company goal.

Bottom line, if you are able to COUNT, RELATE, and MONETIZE in these simplest of forms, you can do CRM.  For some, the right answer might be to install big software packages that integrate with every system that you have based on the volumes you are working on, but you don’t always have to go that route.  Regardless, the goal should always be:  The right product, the right channel, for the right customer, and you will continue to win with engagement in a profitable way.