Proving it works
So, you’re running monthly emails and collecting open and click-through data to present to your boss. If he knows his stuff, he should really be saying, “So what?”
Open and click-throughs are not an end in themselves, it is the conversion rate that is far more interesting and provides more useful data. For example, if a key objective of your email campaign and website is to generate online customer enquiries for sales staff, you should be measuring the rate at which email recipients are submitting a sales enquiry. This way you can say to your boss, “January’s email campaign went out to 5000 people and generated 50 enquiries”. You can then take that data, match it with end sales data and in turn calculate an ROI.
Similarly, alongside your email campaign you might be running a Google Adwords pay-per-click campaign with the same objective. Knowing conversion rates for both campaigns will help you determine which is the most effective and where you should concentrate your resources.
Creating distinct URLs
Simply collecting clicks and opens stats from your email software only provides half the story as you cannot determine which email click throughs ended up as a conversion on your site. In order to track the full user journey from email click-through to conversion it is vital to tag your email campaigns. This sounds more complex than it is. If you have Google Analytics on your site, you can use Google’s URL Builder to create tagged links that you can paste into your email. There are 3 tags that you need to provide so that you can track your campaign in Google Analytics: campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name.
Based on the campaign describe above, logical names for the tags could be:
Campaign source: newsletter
Campaign medium: email
Campaign name: january_2011
Using the Google URL builder you would end up with a link that looks something like this:
A final thing that you must remember to do is set up your goals in Google Analytics so that it knows when a conversion has been achieved. Again, this is a lot easier than it sounds. Using the example above, your goal is to generate online customer enquiries. In order to do this, you’ll have a form on your website where customers fill out their contact details and ask a question. When they click “submit” they are then taken to a page that says “thank you, we will be in touch shortly”. This page is the goal as it is the last step in the customer’s journey. You need to copy the link to this page and enter it as a goal in Google analytics (find out exactly how to do this here )
All the building blocks are now in place. Once your campaign has gone out you will be able to fire-up Google Analytics and track conversions. Go to Traffic sources > All traffic sources. Then select the Goals tab. Then select Campaign from the drop-down menu (see the image below). There you can see all your campaigns along with their various conversion rates. Go show those numbers to your boss!