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January 2021 | by Megan Holcombe
Building a successful email marketing program takes hours of work, a lot of late nights, and gallons of coffee.
But how can you tell your hard work is paying off?
Taking an economic theory lens to your email marketing metrics can help you understand how to better reach your goals and improve your program.
At Activate 19, a growth marketing conference put on by email service provider and IMGE-partner Iterable, we heard from a social fitness app that took an economics-based approach to analyzing their metrics and defining the success of their marketing programs.
Strava — a social fitness app designed for cyclists and runners — monitored their success by analyzing their email marketing metrics as inputs, outputs, and drivers.
Inputs are factors that you have complete control over — your value proposition, the hours you spend on graphic design, or the messaging in your newsletter. They can be defined as the resources that you put into your program in order to achieve your desired outcomes, or the activities linked to performance.
These factors are easy to adjust or change because you control them directly. Inputs are the engines that drive the ultimate outputs of your program.
Output metrics are the raw numbers produced at the end of your process, essentially the stuff produced by your program. For an email marketer, the number of total donations, purchases, or even clicks function as outputs.
Outputs are different from outcomes. Outcomes measure the effectiveness of your program relative to your goals, not just the raw output of your campaign. They can be defined as the difference made by your outputs. For example, the total number of donors or the amount of money raised from an email fundraising campaign would be outputs, while winning election would be an outcome.
Simply put, outcomes are the benefits created by your outputs.
Which of your inputs actually affects your outputs for the better? Those “drivers” are your most important email marketing metrics. Identifying and focusing on drivers that most affect your desired outcomes is crucial to building a successful email marketing campaign.
Some inputs might sound good on paper, but not contribute to your target goal. For example, you might be spending hours creating custom email graphics for each send. But if your goal is to improve open rates, you could be using your time more wisely.
To reach that goal, you would need to make sure you focus on drivers that improve open rates, such as better subject lines and send times. Some other email marketing drivers including compelling call-to-actions (CTAs) to drive opens and clicks, or using good segmenting practices to improve inbox deliverability.
By changing a key driver, you are able to influence audience behavior and hit your email marketing goals.
Tracking your campaign’s success by measuring the right inputs and outputs is crucial to maximizing your potential and achieving the desired outcome.
Don’t have time to go to a digital marketing conference and learn about the finer points of email marketing? Don’t worry — Team IMGE is always up to date on the latest tricks of the marketing trade.
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