Email marketers rely on knowing open and click-through rates. They tell us the quantity of attention we've won and show us opportunities to win more.
But what do your readers do when they leave your email campaign to visit your website? Adding Web analytics software such as Google Analytics to your email marketing campaigns can show you.
Google Analytics allows your email campaigns and website to exchange click-based crib notes to score conversions, page views and other behaviors. By adding a specialized code to each URL—called “tagging”—you'll have a system that shows the links that generate the most traffic and ranks the effectiveness of email marketing alongside other channels.
First things first: If you don't have an Analytics account, set one up. Google's installation guide explains how to place the tracking code in the appropriate files on your site.
To incorporate analytics in your next email campaign, start by using Google's URL Builder to turn your simple link into a tagged URL. Be sure to set the parameters so they'll make sense in your analytics report.
Do this for each link that goes back to your site, and then add the tagged links to your email campaign just as you would any other link. Send a test to check that every link from your inbox lands the user in the right place.
Once your mailing is out the door, Google provides a full report of what each visitor did and saw on your landing page. To find the report in Google Analytics, select “Traffic Sources” in the dashboard. You can choose to “View Full Report” or just display the “Top Traffic Sources.” Find the “Campaign Source” you tagged your links with in the URL Builder. Google ranks the popularity of your links and shows you the average number of page views, how long people spent on each page, the percentage of new visitors and the bounce rate.
With Google Analytics riding shotgun on your email campaigns, you'll have a heat map to guide your marketing plan. You'll also be able to learn what calls to action resonate most with each segment of your audience and how they arrive at the shopping cart.
Cassie Berman is an agency relations associate at Emma Inc. (myemma.com), an email marketing and online communications company.