I have to confess that stats are not one of my favourite activities.
You’ve probably gathered, if you have been reading my blog for a while, that I like what I consider to be the fun stuff. Working out percentages and averages don’t come to naturally to me.
In fact, you and me are probably very much a like.
We both love the entrepreneurship side of running a business – the creating, the ideas, the learning of new skills. But when it comes to being the manager – the one who reviews our work and decides whether we’ve hit out potential each month – it’s easy to shy away from this role.
There is a great book that I highly recommend everyone who runs their own business read. Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited is a very readable book that takes you on a journey with Sarah and her pie shop.
The Split Personalities of Business Owners
Gerber talks about every small business owner having three personalities: the entrepreneur, the technician and the manager.
The entrepreneur is an easy role to play. As I have just written, that’s the fun one that you and I both enjoy isn’t it?
The technician role is fairly easy, if not sometimes a little boring too – as we have no choice but to play it. It’s the running of the day-to-day side of business and where we deliver what we have promised to our customers – delivering a workshop, designing a new website, posting out orders.
But the role of a manager, now that’s a tricky one! Well, at least that’s I find most of my clients telling me. It’s the role that you have to take to work out whether the ideas that you’ve come up with (aka your entrepreneurial role) and the stuff that you end up doing in your day-to-day business (aka your technician role) adds up to your expected targets and goals.
And this means measurement; reviewing results from your marketing campaigns, comparing actual income with expected income and analysing costs as well as profits.
Even if numbers come easy to you, spending time going through spreadsheets and statistical information isn’t the idea of fun for many business owners like you and me.
But does that mean you ignore them? Nope!
Let me give you an example of a big mistake that many small business owners make – measuring the success of your email marketing.
The Missing Link in Your Email Marketing
Now I spend a lot of time helping business owners with their email marketing. It’s one of my favourite marketing topics and I love spending time in this area. When I work with clients and members of my Web Tech Club on email marketing, it’s often around the content.
What do I write? What do I share? How often should my newsletter go out?
But rarely does the topic of measuring results come up … unless, of course, it’s me that does the bringing up!
However, if you do take the time to measure your results, it makes the whole process of deciding what to write, share and how often much, much easier. Once you know what emails work better than others, you can spend more of your time creating those types of emails. And, of course, you will start increasing your results.
But the big mistake a lot of business owners make is that they often only look at the wrong ones – open rates.
Now open rates are important. You need someone to open an email before they actually take action on what it is you have sent them. But too often, open rates are the only stats they are interested in.
Open rates are only the first step in gauging whether your email has been a success or not. Your other steps have to include the click-through rate AND the result of that click-through.
And this is the big reason why: Open rates do not mean read rates.
Just because someone is registered having opened your email, doesn’t mean that they have read it. An open is measured when an email is opened up in the reader preview window and no matter how clever technology gets, I doubt if we ever get software recognising eyes on the screen and the brain registering what is written ;o)
Knowing that 50% of your emails were opened on it’s own is not helpful unless you have two other stats to go side by side with it: click through rates and revenue.
And what … you mean you don’t always have a click through option in your email??! Oops – then you had better start right now.
Whether you are sharing something free and useful – such as a blog article or downloadable report – or an offer or opportunity for someone to spend money with you, you absolutely MUST ALWAYS have a clickable link somewhere in your email.
For example, if you have a 90% open rate but the click through rate to the offer you have made is only at 10%, then you know you’ve got people’s interest to open up their emails but then failed with the offer.
Could you resend the same with subject heading but oomph up the offer? (and yes, that is a technical term!)
However, if you got 10% open rate but 90% of that 10% clicked through, then you’ve done badly with your subject heading but your offer is very compelling.
Could you re-edit that email, use a different subject heading to get the remaining 90% who didn’t open it, to open it?
I mentioned revenue, too. This is, of course, something else you can measure once someone has clicked through and will help with identifying how you can improve your landing page. After all, you’ve done the hard work getting someone to your offer page … what else can you do to increase the actual sales made from that page?
As you can see, knowing your stats and measuring your marketing – in particular your email marketing – is incredibly important. And can make a MASSIVE difference to your results and profitability.
If you’ve got a question – ask it below in the comments.
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If this something you want to know more about, then you are going to love this month’s Web Marketing Masterclass where I go in to detail with the “fun” side of marketing stats.
Believe me, I hate spreadsheets as much as most entrepreneurs but when it comes to knowing how to get better results from the fun stuff, the fun stuff just gets more interesting.
Go Do It!
I hope this was useful to you. And if the only thing you take action is to make sure you add a clickable link to EVERY single email you send out, then my job is done! Go do it!!
Thanks for this Karen. Really useful, especially the bit about clickable links!
you are most welcome Anna – thanks for stopping and reading. Remember to take action too 🙂
This is something I have been paying a lot more attention to recently.
I read somewhere that the open rate is a very unreliable metric because of the different ways in which people read their email – have you found this to be the case?
It might seem obvious but I have found that ensuring that your clickable links look like clickable links really helps.
Blue underlined text is the accepted form – keep it simple!
Yes, Neil. Open rates aren’t always as accurate as a lot of people think they are. If the cookies aren’t bouncing back to your email system, an opened email can often not be measured. It’s important to look at trends over a longer period of time rather than specific individual stats.
Plus great tip on making the link obvious. Thank you for sharing. The words Click Here help too – although make sure you hyperlink the whole sentance rather than just the words “click here” to make it stand out even more.
So now I know you know I clicked on the link. I often click through a lot of emails and don’t read them so you are right in saying that open rates are not reliable. 🙂
this is really a key element and it’s great that you’ve brought it up. I’m always banging on at my clients about the importance of measuring the ‘action taken’ from emails and not just those that happen to glance at it.
Action is where it’s at.
….an interesting article…you can get software that tracks eye movement and can pinpoint exactly where someone leaves the page, you can then more accurately adjust your site.
We’re just about to delve into the world of email marketing so will definitely use this advice!