“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s use mine,” former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale

emfluence partners with our customers on a breadth of digital marketing initiatives, from website development and SEO to email strategy and delivery. In every engagement, we encourage customers to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). In Business to Business marketing, with longer, complex sales cycles, the right KPIs provide early indications of success and can raise early alerts that it’s time to recalibrate the marketing if a campaign appears to be off track.

The right KPIs should act as a dashboard with a scannable level of data that indicates overall progress toward a goal. KPIs

  • Put the focus on numbers, rather than ideas
  • Align metrics to the sales funnel, so marketers can triage and remedy areas of concern
  • Provide predictive indicators of sales, especially in businesses with longer, complex sales cycles
  • Invite historical or industry comparisons
  • Calculate the return of your marketing spend (ROI)

Establishing KPIs prior to a marketing initiative does require a small investment of time upfront and should be established with consideration of the following

  • Business objective. Does the message align to the goal? Does the offer or call to action drive the prospect deeper in the sales process?
  • Overall benchmarks for a specific channel. What are general open rates for promotional email?
  • Industry benchmarks. What are open rates in my industry? (Get a quick snapshot of our industry benchmarks report here).
  • Historical performance within your company. Do the expectations align with prior performance? If not, what is driving the improvement/decline?
  • Seasonality / cyclicality. Am I looking at comparative sales seasons and considering any variables that may impact the rates, such as closeout pricing on previous model years?
  • Sales conversion funnel. Are these results translating into a measurable sales lift?

With KPIs established early, monitoring becomes significantly easier.

KPIs on the emfluence Marketing Platform

The emfluence Marketing Platform provides essential metrics for email, including open rates, click-through rates, click-to-views, and contact scores.

  • Open Rate– generally defined as the number of people who opened at least once divided by the total number of emails sent. In the emfluence Marketing Platform you can track this as “unique open rate” and you can also track “Total open rate” of the total number of opens divided by sent. For industry benchmarks, see our twice-yearly post here. Triage: If your open rates are subpar, consider
    • Quality of the sending list. How old is this list? How was it acquired? Is it time to initiate a re-engagement campaign?
    • Frequency and quality of previous messages. If prior messages weren’t relevant or sending rates too frequent, you may have list fatigue. The only solution to this is to be more thoughtful in your approach to segmenting your audience and providing higher value content.
    • A/B testing of subject lines. Are you able to generate more initial interest with a specific benefit or offer?
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)– the number of total links clicked divided by the total number of emails sent. In the emfluence Platform you can track this as “total click through rate.” You can also track “unique click through rate” which is the number of people who clicked, divided by sent. This is an effective measure of interest and a leading indicator of potential conversions. Triage: If the CTR is lower than expected, marketers may consider introducing a testing variable. For example, a B2B marketer may want to test the interest level of engagement tactics might test a webinar offer versus a whitepaper.
  • Clicks-To-Views (CTV)– of the unique contacts who viewed the email, this is the percentage that clicked on a link. Triage: if this percentage is lower than expected, consider A/B testing of content, as described above.
  • Conversion Rate– the number of recipients who converted (bought, filled out a lead form, etc.) divided by total number of emails sent. This is also a measure of interest and engagement. Conversion rate is a gauge of the overall effectiveness of your message, call to action and offer. Especially in a B2B nurture series, be patient. Allow the multiple contacts to draw in the prospect as you learn more about the content they engage in versus the content they don’t.
  • Unsubscribes and complaints are indicators of the overall hygiene of your lists. Triage: If your bounce rates are greater than one half of one percent or unsubscribes higher than 2%, it’s time to consider either a re-engagement campaign, or a list cleanse.


Diving in to Contact Scores

Of particular importance to a B2B organization are Contact Scores, which allow users to make inferences about a prospects likelihood to buy based on their engagement.


The emfluence Marketing Platform calculates a Contact (or Lead) Score for each contact on your list based on preset criteria for Emails, Landing Pages, and Surveys. Views, Clicks, Conversions, and other weighted metrics, are used to calculate a contact’s score. You have the ability to create multiple contact scores in the system for different purposes. Multiple scoring models allow you to view and weight customer behavior differently, depending on your goals. For example, your marketing team may want to view behavior over the length of a campaign, while your sales team may only be interested in whose been actively engaged recently.

Applying KPIs Beyond the Email Channel

Data is important, but evaluating data in terms of broader context will lend more insight into your initiative. Once you’ve established tracking methods for email, you’ll want to broaden your approach to your other marketing channels.

If you’re interested in learning more about KPI setting across all of your digital marketing channels, join me for emfluence’s next Beer + Learn on March 21st in the Kansas City Crossroads. You can register for this free event here.

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