Skip to content

The Email Metrics That Matter (and My 3 Top Email Marketing Tips)

Written by Jacob Salem

Email isn’t dead.

Not by a long shot.

Though I love Facebook dearly, I can’t deny that email is critical.

Consider these numbers:

In March 2017, Facebook had 1.94 billion monthly active users, while Radicati reports 3.718 billion active email accounts.

Now, granted, people often have multiple email accounts, while they often have only one Facebook account.

But still…there are stats a mile long about how people love email (and email marketing).

Maybe so.

The fact is, in my experience, that email’s a necessity.

Or it is if I don’t want people texting me all the time.

(And I don’t. Not really.)

It serves a purpose, it can keep things organized, and, let’s face it, it can be convenient.

When you’re setting yourself up for email marketing, there are some metrics that you should pay attention to. (And there are some that, honestly, aren’t as big a deal.)

But before I give you those metrics, here are my 3 top email marketing tips:

1. Don’t use pictures (including logos!) at the top.

And if you must (because some people MUST), make sure the alt text is something interesting, not just “cool image” or “my logo.”

Here’s why:

  1. Email systems are increasingly using this as a way to detect marketing emails. And when they see a logo/image at the top, BOOM, it goes into the “promotional” tab or the special folder of never-being-read.
  2. Ever notice how your email may give you a little one- or two-line preview of the email before you open it? That alt text from the image is what will show, instead of the text you’ve spent so much time perfecting. So be sure to spend some time on that text (it usually is limited to a set length of characters).

Or, better yet, don’t use images at the top. 🙂

2. Automate smartly.

I’m all about automation.

But (and we’ll cover this in tip #3), there are ways you can be just plain foolish in your automation.

It’s smart to use people’s first names, because that makes things personal.

But there are times when it can feel…not so personal.

I know you know what I mean. You’ve gotten those kinds of emails too, haven’t you?

The ones where you just signed up to get a newsletter and suddenly someone’s writing you like they’re your BFF.

Or you get something that’s clearly an auto-send but somehow isn’t quite right (like they haven’t updated their funnels in a while).

So use automation, use it a LOT. But be smart and mindful about it.

3. Be personal.

People buy from people. I’m proof of that.

I have, at times, literally sold people on things that I have no clue how to do. And I’ve figured it out.

(That may just mark me as a rookie, but I think it speaks more to the fact that we all crave a personal touch.)

Don’t be afraid to share a bit about yourself (you like dogs, you have a pet koala, your favorite state is sleep, you drink too much coffee, whatever), and don’t be afraid to invite your readers to do the same.

And then, when you get replies, REPLY BACK.

That’s part of being personal. 🙂

And a bonus tip: Only use ONE call-to-action per email.

This is so hard. SO hard. You have SO MUCH to offer.

I know.

I’ve been there.

I AM there.

But still, if you give people choices, they will take them. But they will, in general, only click once.

Do you want those precious clicks divided? Or do you want them laser focused in one place?

You want them focused.

Give people too many choices and they’ll just abandon making a decision altogether.

Keep the decision easy by making it limited to ONE THING: one click!

(That’s not to say you can’t offer that option to click multiple times per email. You can and should. But make sure that it’s going to the same thing each time.)

Here are the email metrics that matter most to me:

Open and click rates

Open rate is just what it sounds like: number of people who opened your email, described as a percentage.

If you can’t get people to OPEN your email, you can’t do much else, right?

Click rates (also called click-through rates) are the percentage of people who click on a link within that email.

Worth noting: people who have clicked have also opened.

Depending on your industry, you’re probably looking for open rates in the 20% range and click rates in the 2% range. That’s not to say you won’t take things much higher than either of those, though.

Click-to-open rate

I was first introduced to this by a client, and I was quick to jump on it, because it’s a hugely useful metric.

Click-to-open rate is the percentage of people who click of the people who have opened the email.

For example, if 173 people have opened your email, and 49 people clicked on your email, that’s a click-to-open rate of 28.3%.

Usually — and depending on your industry — you’ll want to see these around 25%.


This is the money metric for me: the percentage of people who click through and complete an action.

Maybe they click and submit information on a great landing page.

Maybe they actually click and download the ebook you offered them.

Whatever it is (and the sky’s the limit), this is important.

It’s not easy to get people to take action. And yet, as marketers, that’s exactly what we’re after: ACTION.


2-Day Training Event

September 28th & 29th | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM | The John Hancock Center | LimitedSpace: 8 Seats Left | MSRP: $697 | Special Price Today: $497