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How to identify and capitalize on your email conversions


Every email marketer wants their campaigns to perform well, whether that means getting a high open rate of your newsletter or more click-throughs to your website. This is all well and good, but what is the end goal? How do you measure if your campaigns are indeed a success?

One useful metric of success is the conversion rate of your campaigns. We define it as the desired result of a call-to-action. But I’m going to give you some tips on identifying your definition, measuring conversions and acting on them.

Defining and giving meaning to your email conversions

Before anything else, you must identify what email conversions mean to you. Because if it’s not clear to you, it might not be clear to your recipients either, in the calls-to-action you use.
If you work for a charity, a conversion would be a contact donating to your cause. Being able to track the amount of donations off the back of an email campaign is a great indicator of what makes your audience tick.

If you’re in retail, the goal would be to increase sales of your products. Attributing the ROI from an email campaign to a direct spike in sales demonstrates what content or incentives appeal to your database.

If a publisher, then a contact signing up for the newsletter or converting a trial into a paid for subscription could be your desired email conversion.

Once you know what you want to achieve, give it meaning by setting an objective for it. If not, you’ll consider any improvement a success and that’s not realistic. The objective has to be specific, measurable, achievable, and have a time frame attached to it. For example, ‘increase magazine subscriptions by 15% over the next year’.

Measure your email conversions accurately

While most of the elements of a SMART objective are defined by you and your team, you’ll need some help to measure them. So make sure you have the right technology in place to monitor and report back on the website activity or conversions as a direct response to your email campaigns. Sometimes this will mean integrating different bits of tech, but any respectable email service provider will be able to partner with you and make it happen.

By tagging specific web pages and recording interactions, you can monitor activity against the success of your email campaigns. Ensure that cookies are also enabled for your domains so that individual conversions can be tracked against the relevant contact. This will help you build an accurate profile of your subscribers.

Using a feature like Conversion Tracking in MessageFocus, you can retrieve individual data showing customer behaviour, such as transactions, items purchased and values. This is also collated into a comprehensive and real-time report to identify the ROI of specific email campaigns.

Email Conversions Report

An example of how an email conversions report would look like in MessageFocus

Acting on email conversion data

After capturing all this information about your recipients, why not use it to benchmark your conversion rates across different email campaigns? It will help you identify what performs well, where you can improve and what you should do next. Why not try:

  • Testing and optimizing your call-to-actions. Experiment with the wording, colour and placement of buttons. Try ‘download here’ vs ‘download now’, or ‘buy now’ vs ‘buy today’. You can find more testing tips and a handy planner in our comprehensive guide.
  • Test subject line impact on conversion rates. It might be that your subscribers are opening the email and don’t find what they’re looking for.
  • Re-target contacts that have started the process but haven’t quite converted. For example, send a follow up email to a contact that opened a form but didn’t complete the submission.
  • Trigger an abandoned basket email with personalised content to those who left an item behind.

Going past the standard email metrics of opens and clicks, and looking for the measurement of what success really means to you will help you make sure you get the best of your email marketing.


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