After you have sent an act email marketing campaign, the next step is to examine the email reports that communicate to you the results of your campaign.
I have always thought that reports are overrated. Not just email reports, but all reports. In my opinion, reports are only as good as the action you take based on what you see in the report. If it is not easy to react to a report they can be somewhat useless.
There are four basic outcomes when you send an email:
- the email is opened
- the email is unopened
- the email bounces
- they opt-out of your email
It is my belief that a 25% open rate is excellent on average. Having stated that, because of the fact that 75% of the people do not open it I have always suggested that the most important part of an email is the subject line. I suspect that more than 75% of all the people you send an email to see the subject line. Therefore, the subject line is very important. This blog post is not about the subject line, it is about reports. But the reality is that you have to keep reports in perspective.
Add Some Fields to Your Act Layout
I suggest you create a field in act called email marketing status. After I send the campaign I like to know all the people that opened my email. The potential exists that if 25% of the people open my email this time, another 25% might open it the next time. If I know all of the people that have ever opened one of my emails that tells me something. It also tells me which individuals have never opened my email. This particular field can be a checkbox or can be a regular field. I also suggest a date field called AEM Send Date. Act doesn’t update the last email field in act when you send a campaign; you’ll have to do this manually.
Over time, I can observe all the people that have never opened my email. If these individuals are important to me, I might want to send them a letter or pick up the phone and call them.
In addition to creating a new field that tracks the status, I also urge you to install in your layout two system fields that are updated automatically by act email marketing. They are checkbox fields. The first one is opt-outs and the second one is bounces. These are searchable fields that allow you to look up the contacts in which these apply to.
Act Email Marketing Reports Weaknesses
Imagine for a moment that you are in the ice cream business and you sell chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to send an email with a links in the email for specials on chocolate, vanilla and strawberry? Act will tell you how many people clicked on those links, but it will not tell you who clicked on those links. This is a weakness of act email marketing. For those of you who have used Swiftpage email in the past, you’ll know this is an option. Again, unless you have time to follow up on this information, it is highly overrated.
In summary, I believe it is very important to have realistic goals for your email marketing campaign. Reviewing these reports can be very effective in helping you assess your goals. Many users of act email marketing are small businesses that do not have a lot of time to follow up on the outcomes of these campaigns. If you do have the time, it can be very effective to scrub these reports for good information.