Email Marketing

What Use Are KPIs In Email Marketing?

When KPIs were introduced to a company I worked for, it was a requirement to support them enthusiastically and, having a certain ambition to go further at that time, I supported them enthusiastically. I’ve seen the flip charts. I’ve seen the PowerPoint presentations. I’ve seen successes. I’ve seen failures. One thing that I have seen over recent years is email marketing companies struggle in their focus on KPIs rather than ROI.

For those lucky enough not to know what the acronym stands for, it is key performance indicator. In other words, you choose a particular metric and the measure of that with regards to performance and improvement tells you whether you are doing well, or need to focus on a particular KPI. It sounds basic, mainly because it is.

There are some obvious benefits. For instance, if it is used for a short-term initiative, it can give direction to those working on it. However, it doesn’t stand alone and for it to be effective over the medium to long term it requires goals and targets.

What Use Are KPIs In Email MarketingThe problem with KPIs, specifically for email marketing, is that failure to improve towards a goal is seen as a failure. Yet we have much more effective alternatives to decide whether or not a particular action, or actions, have given rise to positive results or not. The in-built metrics that we obtain through, for instance, returns of email marketing campaigns tell us whether or not a particular initiative has succeeded, or has not. Which to believe? The specific and testable data or a glitch in a KPI?

Hopefully, you will see that I am not overwhelmed by blind enthusiasm for KPIs. That said, I think they have uses, although perhaps not so much for email marketing. There are other means of providing the data of KPIs, and in a much easier understood method, one which is completely trustworthy, and which costs nothing to implement.

There is a lot available on-line and in booklets/books on the efficacy of KPIs. If we look at them individually we will see that each can be better dealt with by better management, better feedback to staff, and better planning. For instance, keeping goals at the forefront of work is, supposedly, one benefit. Another is reducing information overload. Time-saving is there, as it normally is. And then we have one which for us might well seem a little strange; help get results faster.

It takes time, meetings, conversations, and staff commitment to generate a KPI, and to use it effectively. So there goes time-saving. To keep your staff aware of a major goal can be done in many other ways. Good management is one. As for reducing information overload, our returns from an email marketing campaign are, basically, basic. They are easily understood. And the same applies with faster results. You can’t get faster than us.

For SMEs, KPIs require a considerable investment, perhaps not justified in the current economic climate. The basics of email marketing with regards to data returns, which give precise directions, and with the advantage of testing, is a cheaper and more accurate route.

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