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The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide To

Improving Your Email Results

with Jay Baer

Convince & Convert

In this Ebook, you will learn how to:

A. Identify the key metrics for your program

B. Accurately diagnose program weaknesses

C. Plan and enact changes to improve your email marketing performance

D. Adopt a never-ending approach to enhancing email metrics using Emma

Step 1

Establish a Solid Foundation for Email Metrics

Scenario A

Rachel is a content marketer for a software company, so she and her team create and publish content to help inform her audience. Rachel uses email to promote new articles, videos, and graphics as they are developed.

Recommended Key Metric:

Clicks to content (total clicks and percentage of recipients who click)


Since Rachel’s objective for her email program is to distribute content marketing assets to her customers and prospects, she can gauge the success of her program by monitoring the number of clicks to content promoted within each campaign, as well as click rate. While other metrics related to opens and unsubscribe activity are important, click activity and email content engagement are the primary success indicators for Rachel’s program. You go, Rachel!

Scenario B

Tyler works for an ecommerce company that sells smartphone cases. Tyler secretly hates Apple for changing the size of their phones about every twenty minutes. As it relates to email, however, Tyler uses it to encourage new and returning customers to purchase phone cases online, instead of at the crappy mall kiosk. Tyler sends email to his subscribers when new cases become available and provides special offers and discounts.

Recommended Key Metrics:

Clicks to product links and sales from email.


Since Tyler’s goal is to encourage purchase activity among his subscribers, his key metrics include clicks on individual product links, as well as total sales generated from his campaigns. In this scenario, Tyler can rely upon Emma for his click metrics, view purchase activity from email through an integration with his ecommerce platform (like Shopify or Magento), and track post-click activity on his ecommerce website. Tyler is all about the cash.

Scenario C

Sylvia is a real estate agent who informs her clients and prospects about available property listings on the market. She sends emails regularly that feature photos, specs, and pricing details for homes in her area.

Recommended Key Metrics:

Open and click activity from key prospects.


Overall open and click rates are useful to Sylvia as she evaluates the response to her campaigns, but to accomplish her business goals she must determine which key prospects indicate interest based on their open and click behavior. Armed with knowledge about who opened and what home listing they clicked, Sylvia can make smart decisions about how she follows up with contacts. She is using email interaction behavior as an indicator of interest. Sylvia is smart like that. If she sends out a profile of a six-bedroom home, the people that click through to look at the photos probably need some space. Conversely, people with five kids are unlikely to look at an available high-rise, one-bedroom listing.

Scenario D

Andres is the curator of a local museum. He uses Emma to help him keep museum members and previous visitors informed of upcoming exhibits. Andres uses a newsletter format for all email campaigns, which he sends at monthly intervals.

Recommended Key Metrics:

Open rates and click rates over several months.


Given the nature of Andres’ newsletter style, it will be crucial to monitor the interest level of his subscribers by reviewing open rate, click rate and unsubscribe activity habitually. Email campaigns sent according to a regularly scheduled cadence must be measured over the long-term to ensure recipients are still motivated to open and engage with each delivery. After all, Andres needs to keep the museum top of mind, and entice return visits when exhibitions change. But he has to make sure his subscribers open and read his emails when it’s time for a new exhibit.

Step 2

Watch & Learn

Ask A Question:How can I improve my key email marketing metric(s)?

Gather Data:Review metrics from previously sent campaigns, if available. Make observations from campaigns sent most recently. Identify trends specific to your key metric(s). Document high and low levels for key metric(s).

Form a Hypothesis:Develop a general theory about how slight modifications to your messages, design, cadence, or program will lead to improved results. Also, speculate about what you can expect if no changes are made.

Do an Experiment:Choose one element to alter according to your hypothesis and test it against your audience. More on this later.

Analyze Your Results:Review mailing response metrics and test results. Determine if your hypothesis was true or false.

Report Results:Collect and document test experiment results to inform future campaigns and hypotheses.

When using this Scientific Method, make sure you write down your hypotheses (C, above). This helps you keep a specific focus on what you think will work. For example: “I believe that sending this email at 4pm will improve open rates by 20% in comparison to my current send time of 11am.”

In addition to his line about anecdotes not equaling data, my friend Tom – he’s a professional market researcher and analyst – says: “Good markers use data to prove themselves right. Great marketers use data to prove themselves wrong.” I want this on a poster.

Step 3

Email Analytics Assessment

Key Metrics Defined

Delivery Rate Successful deliveries as a percentage of list size.

Open Rate Number of subscribers who open as a percentage of emails delivered.

Click Rate Number of clicks within an email as a percentage of opens.

Unsubscribe Rate Number of recipients who unsubscribe as a percentage of emails delivered.

SPAM Complaints Total number of recipients who mark the email as “SPAM” or junk for each email send.

Active Ratio Number of email recipients who consistently open and interact with emails as a percentage of list size.

Post-Click Activity The volume of leads generated, products sold, or other brand-specific objectives completed as a result of email marketing to a targeted audience. � Note: Metrics for post-click activity are usually available within a website analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) or ecommerce analytics (e.g. Shopify) platform.

Medicine Instructions for Use

List Validation This step is recommended when the integrity of the list is in question. List validation allows email marketers to verify that all email contacts are legitimate. Third-party services/tools like BriteVerify, DataValidation, or XVerify can provide validation to improve delivery rate and overall list hygiene.

Subscribe Process Review When bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, or SPAM complaints escalate, it is best to hit the “pause” button and retrace the steps taken to sign up new email recipients. List quality is damaged when your email arrives like a surprise, uninvited party guest. This is like when Apple (them again) decided to just add an entire U2 album to everyone’s iTunes without asking. Conduct a thorough review of your subscription sources to confirm all subscribers have the expectation that they will receive messages from your brand.

Subject Line & From Name Testing With Emma, you can conduct Subject Line or From Name testing to improve your open rates. Test only one element at a time (either Subject line or From Name) to configure a true A/B split test. More on testing later.

List Segmentation If your message is not hitting the mark for all of the subscribers on your list, consider segmenting the message into meaningful groups. Relevancy is the killer app. Delivery of a more unique and specific message to smaller groups of subscribers can boost relevance improve results. The dividing lines upon which you segment the audience are only limited by the information you are able to collect from them. For instance, you can segment by location, product interest, demographics, content preference, previous interactions with your email messages (e.g. recipients who clicked a link in an email vs. recipients who did not), etc.

Content Alignment Did you hear about the woman that tried to bring an emotional support PEACOCK on a plane? It doesn’t make any sense, right? That kind of incongruence can occur in your email program, as well. Do you have promising open rates, but dwindling click behavior, and/or do your stats show good click volume, but subscribers bail out once they hit your website? If so, your email program could be suffering from content dissonance. Review your entire send process from your subscriber’s perspective and make sure there is a natural harmony from subject line to email content and everything that follows. Eliminate or edit anything that feels like it’s out of place throughout the journey from inbox to email to landing page.

Call to Action Even your most loyal and passionate subscribers have limited time and attention to interact with your message. You know what nobody says? “I sure wish I could get more email.” Keep your message simple and its purpose clear. Add a call to action or modify your existing ones so that the recipient’s next step is super obvious.

Content Testing If email subscribers open your messages often, but clicks are hard to come by, consider content testing. With Emma, you can do an A/B test to determine the true impact of modifying a single content variable. Choose your content testing elements wisely. Maybe you could use a better photo? Maybe the style or placement of the links could be improved? These elements can have the most significant impact on click rate and click volume.

Layout/Design Alterations Another option for improving email engagement is to alter the overall look and feel of your email layout. Subtle modifications to design can influence email metrics significantly.

Re-engagement When a portion of your subscribers tune you out repeatedly, a re-engagement campaign may be the best solution. These campaigns seek to answer one simple question, “Would you still like to receive emails from our brand?” � A well-executed re-engagement campaign can often result in A) renewed interest or B) a natural list cleansing to remove previous subscribers that are no longer fully engaged. Re-engagement campaigns rely on list segmentation (see above) to identify subscribers who have neither opened nor clicked any of your most recent campaigns. Note that the benefit of a re-engagement campaign is to remove uninterested subscribers before they mark your message as “SPAM.”

Step 4

Email Stimulus & Mailing Response

Plan:Determine what impact altering From Name has on open rate.

Do:A/B split test use of the brand name vs. the spokesperson’s name in the From Name field.

Check:Review results of the test to find that the spokesperson’s name produces a higher open rate.

Act:Apply the From Name change ongoing.

Plan:Determine if the same From Name alteration has the same impact with other lists and/or audience segments.

&and so on.

Step 5


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