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Question: What metrics should I track for my e-mail marketing campaigns?

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Answer: To ensure that e-mail campaigns become increasingly targeted and continue to drive results, it is important to track open, clickthrough and purchase rates (where applicable). This will help e-mail marketers determine not only the success of their campaigns, but at what part of the process their potential customer lost interest. Was the e-mail immediately deleted? Did the customer abandon the item in their shopping cart?

Additionally, tracking the results of viral marketing, such as the forward-to-a-friend option, is important to identifying a campaign’s real ROI and success. Recommendation can be the best form of flattery. If a recipient enjoyed your content enough to share with others, your message is probably effective. Now look at viral clickthroughs. Are these recipients reading your content? If viral recipients are not opening or clicking-through to read your message, consider why. Is your subject line engaging? Does your e-mail look appealing to someone who is not familiar with your company? Viral marketing can be an incredibly effective tool for b-to-b marketers. You may even consider changing the line in your e-mails to read “forward-to-a-colleague” instead of “forward-to-a-friend.”

Finally, with AOL blocking 1.4 billion pieces of spam each day, e-mail marketers must measure and track deliverability rates. With this, marketers must remember that in-boxes are becoming littered with messages from illegitimate sources, causing some users to worry about the contents and intentions of messages. Marketers must work with outsourced solutions that provide detailed deliverability reporting and include spam filter inspection that tests the message before it is sent. Those who fail to address deliverability will ultimately waste time and money on campaigns that are sent to bulk folders.

Tricia Robinson is chief marketing officer for Atlanta-based Accucast Inc. (www.accucast.com, formerly Socketware Inc.), a provider of e-mail marketing solutions.

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