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Econsultancy has published a new report titled The Fundamentals of Email Marketing.

Subscribers can download the report in full. Here, I have picked out just a few slivers of wisdom.

Some of these points are marketing 101, but with so much new technology on the market, practitioners must keep the fundamentals in mind.

1. SMART objectives and a contact strategy

It’s worth going right back to the basics of setting SMART objectives. Email is often the get-out-of-jail-free tactic that marketers use when they’re in need of uplift in sales or conversions.

But, as the saying goes, act in haste and repent at your leisure. Marketers should take the time to set objectives for every email that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

SMART objectives will enable you to define clear KPIs and contact strategies for each email or email programme.

Your contact strategy will set out how often you send emails to your subscribers and in response to what events.

2. The three Vs of email capture

There are many tactics for growing your database of subscribers, but making the most of your owned and earned media to capture email addresses is vital.

Bear in mind the three Vs.


Fairly obviously, make sure your email signup and calls to action are conspicuous.

A few potential locations (the report includes further inspiration):

  • On the homepage (many use overlays to prompt users, though this should be undertaken after testing and consideration of UX).
  • On product pages and landing pages.
  • On your social media pages (or in card-based posts where appropriate).
  • On transaction confirmation pages.
  • In transactional emails.

A very visible sign-up prompt from Emerald Street

email signup


Why should someone subscribe? Enumerate the benefits of receiving your emails.


Make sign-up a speedy affair.

No clicking a button and then being asked for lots of details, simply allow people to enter their email address into a field and then click once.

If you want more information in order to properly target/segment, this can be collected further down the line, even as part of a welcome campaign.

3. Identifying the right metrics

Clear objectives should reveal appropriate metrics to track. Metrics for email can be split into process metrics and output metrics.

Let’s look at a number of them…

Process metrics

Process metrics are trend indictors over time but on their own do not necessairly indicate a successful campaign.

A few examples include (again, there are more in the report):

  • Accepted rate. The percentage of emails delivered against the total sent.
  • Bounce rate. The percentage of undelivered emails.
  • Open rate. The percentage of emails recipients opened.
  • Click-through rate. The percentage of recipients who click on at least one link in the email.
  • Click-to-open rate. The percentage of openers who click on at least one link in the email.

Output metrics

Output metrics measure business objectives and are a better indicator of campaign and email programme success.

A few choice examples:

  • New subscribers/registration rate.
  • Conversion rate. The percentage of recipients who convert according to the objective of the email.
  • Value of an email address. Average life span of an address x (Total annual email revenue / Average list size for the year). Use this to determine how much money you’re willing to spend on acquiring a customer.
  • Cost per acquisition. The average amount of money required to acquire one subscriber / customer.
  • Revenue per email. The amount of revenue earned from a campaign divided by the number of emails delivered, opened or clicked on.
  • Revenue per customer. The average or median amount of revenue generated across either all list members or those who convert.
  • Lifetime value. The total amount of money a subscriber spends with you during their lifetime.
  • Average order value (AOV).

Not forgetting open reach and click reach

Open reach and click reach are used to define engagement with email on a subscriber level and take into account customer interaction over a set period of time.

  • Open reach = total number of unique opens / total number on the list or segment
  • Click reach = total number of unique clicks / total number of subscribers in the list or segment.

These metrics can be measured over a quarter year, for example, or a longer period depending on the nature of the product lifecycle.

4. The three Vs of unsubscribing

The three Vs of email capture also apply to the unsubscribe.


No tiny font. Make sure subscribers can see the unsubscribe option.


Offer unsubscribers an easy-to-use preference centre. This allows subscribers to change their registered address, alter email frequency, or content preferences. That lets them update their data easily.

This preference centre may also offer contact via a different channel e.g. SMS or direct mail.


Again, it should be quick and easy to unsubscribe. Mobile optimised, with no signing in needed, and no lengthy two-week wait.