Content marketing is undoubtedly the most useful and reliable form of advertising today, with its subtle ability to convert new customers while maintaining relationships with old ones. Even when all best practices are followed, however, simply sending out deployments and newsletters is a blind action. It is email reporting that plays a major, albeit somewhat overlooked, role in the success of email marketing; without a concrete way to measure results, how can a business know if its customer communication is properly targeted, if its deployment timing is optimal, or if its objectives are being met?

In short, deployments and other email content marketing are inefficient at driving sales and conversion rates if the valuable data they provide is not interpreted and utilized. Features within the toolset of the Cool Life CRM record this data and make its analysis much easier for the user. Once a deployment has been started, various metrics are tracked in real time. These metrics can be accessed by using the Statistics tab to the left of the deployment, which opens an overview with a graph. By choosing from the menu on the left, specific detailed statistics can be viewed, which include number of recipients, open rate, click rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate.

There are numerous benefits of this data, all of which are centered on driving action for success. Analysis of deployment data is a surefire method of determining what content an audience finds worthwhile, what times of the week and times of day are best for sending emails, and what trends exist in target market behavior. Businesses can capitalize on this information by improving content and segmenting customer data accordingly for more targeted marketing.

The open rate denotes the percentage of recipients who actually opened and read an email; obviously, the higher this percentage is, the better the implications. When an open rate is too low for achieving business goals, it is not indicative of poor content, but of a poor subject line. Although certain words and phrases should be avoided in order to prevent both an email from being sent to junk folders and a company domain from being marked as a spam sender, it is important for subject lines to be eye-catching. They should adequately describe the topic of the email using compelling vocabulary, without being too short or overly lengthy. Writing more engaging, relevant subject lines will entice more recipients to open an email and read or view whatever content is inside.

The click rate refers to the percentage of recipients that click on a given link or URL within an email. When including newsletters as part of a content marketing strategy, it is best to insert a section of the article into the email as a teaser, attaching a link to the full version on the company website.  Thus, the click rate directly signals how many recipients were interested enough by a piece of content to want to read more. When click rate is consistently poor, this is the time to improve the quality and relevance of content or decide to abandon a specific marketing campaign entirely.

Open and click rates can also be used to judge whether or not the timing of a deployment was successful. Different target audiences might be more inclined to open or check their email at different times of day, so experimenting with deployment timings and comparing them against respective open and click rates can aid in determining the time of day or day of the week that results in the highest number of recipients reading emails.

Besides looking at the sheer numbers involved with click rates, more significant information can be gleaned by discerning which articles got clicked and which recipients clicked on what articles. The former sheds light on what topics an intended audience finds most appealing, which can greatly aid in choosing future topics for articles and deployments; the latter clarifies the interests of individual recipients, which allows for more accurate segmentation into marketing groups.

Perhaps people from a certain geographic region or gender were predominant among those recipients who clicked on a link. This is the sort of demographic information that is important for increasing the effectiveness of marketing. From these specific demographics, it is clear that a particular group has a special interest in the content topic, and thus an interest in the company sending the deployment. To further the example, future marketing campaigns of the same topic can seek to target that one geographic area or gender of recipient.

Additionally, recipients can be segmented based purely upon interest in a topic, regardless of demographics. When a recipient repeatedly clicks on article links, it is a rather telling sign of a genuine lead, as it denotes that an individual is highly interested in a subject or product. Follow-up emails sent specifically to these leads which detail the topic further or make some sort of offer will most likely serve to increase customer conversion rate. Sales and profits can be driven from this improved targeting of communication to customers and prospects.

Two other metrics to focus on are the bounce rate and block rate, both of which can be accessed from the deployment Statistics tab. Cool Life CRM uses an interface to display a global list of email bounce and block events that have resulted from any and all sent marketing deployments.

A bounce occurs when an email cannot be delivered due to a constant unchanging condition, such as the recipient email address not existing. When a bounce is logged by the system, the associated email address is automatically flagged as invalid. In any future deployments, invalid addresses will not be delivered to again, unless the bounce is manually removed by the user. However, if a recipient has provided incorrect information, it should be taken as a sign that they do not want to be contacted.

Blocks are similar to bounces, as they are logged when an email cannot be delivered. In the case of a block, delivery failure is caused by a temporary problem, such as the recipient email server being down or the recipient email inbox being full. The system does not flag email addresses associated with blocks as invalid, meaning future deployments can be sent to them.

From the system interface, logged bounces and blocks can be filtered by various criteria, such as email address, deployment, and date. Bounces and blocks can be selected and deleted from the system, which will cause the associated emails from bounces to be unflagged as invalid. Repeat bounces to large amounts of email addresses is an act that many ISPs and email providers deem to be spam-like behavior, so great care should be taken when deleting bounces. A high bounce rate is not desirable by any means, but a better solution than merely deleting bounces is putting more effort into improving the relevance of content so that more prospects are attracted into providing legitimate information.

Understanding how customers and leads interact with newsletters and deployments is the key to the most successful e-marketing campaigns. Companies can rely on luck and shots in the dark, or they can take the time to invest in insightful knowledge; the data and information gained from email reporting is invaluable in helping companies to create effective content that calls customers to action. Email reporting aids companies in identifying what parts of their marketing campaigns are going right and what parts are going wrong, as reports are opportunities to observe what works and what needs correction. Take the time to experiment with new strategies— the results could be astounding, since increased deliverability goes hand in hand with increased conversions, sales, and brand awareness.