Email Signature Analytics and its Role in the Metrics-Driven Marketing World
There’s no doubt, while investment is funneled constantly toward the sales team and often to R&D, marketing departments continue to have to fight for their budgets, needing more and more evidence to give credence to their value. It used to be that the only number that mattered to marketing was that of the sales team or of the entire company. Because the assumption was that, if marketing does its job right, it makes it easier for sales and the whole company will be soaring. But we now know it’s simply not as simple as that.
Modern online marketing is increasingly less about creativity and more about marketing analytics. What once was considered an art is now and forever in the column of science—if you can’t measure it, you can’t create successful marketing automation. Just face it: analytics is king in the new world of marketing online.
Performance improvement expert H. James Harrington said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and, eventually, to improvement.”
Some dub this trend in measurable marketing “Metric Lust,” but we just call it common sense. Metrics-driven marketing is an important part of the marketing mix that shouldn’t be ignored.
Today we give you the 411 on marketing analytics and especially email signature analytics for your metrics-driven marketing world.
What is Marketing By Numbers?
Start your foray into modern marketing by asking yourself: How informed is my marketing?
Marketing analytics enable you to focus on specific marketing campaigns, measuring the customer interaction with the campaigns, and then drawing insights and conclusions from the data to improve campaigns overtime. This is almost automated now by various marketing SaaS (Software as a Service.) It incrementally increases overall return on investment because drawing insights from marketing analytics enables you to tailor campaigns to your customers, better predict the success of the campaigns, and thus save money overall with better planned campaigns.
Marketing Automation Tools are an excellent investment.
There is no doubt that marketers have an ongoing plethora of tools to experiment with. And while some tools lean toward B2B and others toward B2C, there really isn’t much to help us differentiate them all in order to find the right tools for our clients. That’s why we need to experiment. And since we are most often bootstrapped and time-starved, we need to automate it all.
Marketing automation software not only allows you to do more on a smaller budget with a smaller team, it allows you to schedule and measure it all. Social media software not only lets you manage the ever-growing list of relevant socials, it totals all the results from different sources and offers you a side-by-side comparison to find what works best for your team, so you can invest more time and money on that winning channel. Email marketing tools measure not only how many of which people read your email when, but then who acts upon it from clicking out. And there are dozens of tools that measure what your potential audience is looking at across the Internet and who are taking the moment to click for more information and progress down the sales funnel.
What’s great about marketing automation software is that almost all of them have a free trial, which means that you can try as many as you like until you find the one you feel more comfortable with.
Marketing analytics help you know your customer better.
McKinsey defined marketing as: “Successful communication requires hitting the right audience with the right message at the right time: a small, moving target.”
By concentrating on marketing analytics, you are learning how to concentrate on the customer better. Analytics drive insights that allow you to build more accurate customer personas and profiles and discover new target bases that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
The evaluation will also reveal which customer groups are most responsive and which marketing messages are most powerful.
As the McKinsey report defined, this is a moving target, meaning that this isn’t just a one-time question to be answered. You can be sure that your customer base will change and, hopefully, grow overtime. You must be constantly looking to understand what is influencing your customer right now. This means you not only have to measure campaigns, you need to change your campaigns frequently to gain fresh insights and generate new data to pivot your customer profile and future marketing campaigns.
Marketing analytics make you better at online marketing.
As you evaluate your marketing activity, you gain more and more market knowledge. Marketing analytics allow you to measure everything faster so you can pivot in response to the data, tweaking campaigns as you go. And it helps you make informed decisions as to which marketing channels are working for your current customer base and thus where to invest more money into.
Measurable marketing is essential to all content marketing success.
According to The Guardian’s media network blog, all marketing leadership must measure the success of content. Yes, yes, we all fancy ourselves to be slaves to the craft, and we write to communicate with the people, not to please the bosses.Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. Yes, content marketing is king, but it’s metrics that proved its worth and put it on the throne and it’s metrics that can usurp it just as a fast.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, metrics tell us “how many people are consuming our content, what they are doing with it, and whether or not they like it.” To give you one great statistic in a pool of many, Forrester has found that customers allow content to guide them through the first two-thirds of their buying and decision-making processes.
Why email marketing is the king of kings.
You could be making 125,000 highly targeted brand impressions a month, and you probably aren’t. Big mistake. Huge.
Perhaps the most important kind of content marketing for your enterprise is email marketing. Think about it, what one stagnant place exists anywhere else on the Internet? Social media constantly scrolls, so short of paying a load in ad money or simply dedicating a hundred hours a week, you have little chance of catching their eyes. Your website content is important for search engine optimization and as an information resource, but your prospects have to go there.
Email is the singular space where people are spending the most time and where you have the least competition for your content marketing voice to be heard the loudest.
It’s also the place where you are achieving the most brand impressions. Think about it, if each of your employees are sending around 50 emails a day, that number of free brand impressions makes it a priceless platform for your messaging and marketing.
What parts of email marketing should you be measuring?
Yes, it’d be easy to answer “everything,” but the truth is that you almost never have the right resources and manpower to do it all. So what should you be measuring in your email marketing? Here are some solid suggestions:
- Activity: Number of emails sent.
- Open Rate: This not only tells you how many people are reading what you’re sending, but it’s a great way to A/B test subject lines, email providers and email marketing software and so much more.
- Clicks: Not only how many people are clicking, but where are they clicking? Do your recipients prefer hyperlinks, images, banners or what?
- Traffic: It’s not just about how many clicks you get for one particular campaign, it’s about increasing the overall traffic from email to your website. Use Google Analytics to view the different sources of traffic and compare—perhaps comparing this quarter to the last—to see how the campaigns are going.
- Unsubscribe: This doesn’t just give you insight of the success (or failure) of the certain campaign but it allows you to notice trends across campaigns in general and helps you answer the questions: How often should we send out campaigns? and What is my target audience really interested in (and disinterested in) reading?
- Responsiveness: Your marketing message can now reach people anywhere in the world, including, well, think about the places you’re checking email. 😉 That means your email marketing campaigns have to be responsive to whatever device they are using, wherever. This involves measuring open rates depending on device and it means you and your team need to test things out on all devices.
And, absolutely, you should be running marketing campaigns via your email signature.
What is email signature marketing?
As Hubspot wrote, “You know you’re a true email marketer if every single one of your emails includes a call-to-action.”
Email signature marketing is the final frontier in email marketing, content marketing and marketing in general. This underutilized—and most often misused—space at the bottom of each email is ripe for the picking. It’s taking it past the necessary contact information and consistent branding and starting to market to your contacts with specific email signature marketing campaigns.
Good email signature branding, like a digital business card, includes useful information, like your name and title, but also drives traffic to your website and increases your social media followers. It creates an err of professionalism by developing consistent branding across your entire organization that is always there.
Great email signature marketing includes actionable and evolving advertising with a solid CTA driving traffic to your website, offering deals or a free trial, promoting all-star, strategic content, advertising events, reminding folks of customer service resources available, and simply so much more.
When you combine the two, email signature marketing can pack a one-two punch that turns it into the marketing channel with the highest return at the lowest cost.
And you can automate and measure it all!
How on earth would you want to measure an email signature?
If you are familiar with Google AdWords, Google Analytics and/or simple website tracking, you can handle an email signature marketing app like Xink easily.
Xink is a comprehensive email signature management and campaign tool that is designed to enable company-wide control over email signatures and email-based marketing initiatives. Easy to implement and use, it is a powerful and intuitive tool that can reap dividends for your business, be it large or small.
Email signature marketing software allows you to understand how your sig line campaigns are performing. Xink provides you with a simple way to upload and schedule engaging campaigns depending on department and target audience. It also comes with click-through tracking and is compatible with analytics packages, such as Google Analytics, to deliver detailed reporting on how well your campaigns are performing.
As Gerard Honing of Sony Music Entertainment said about Xink, “They offer us the opportunity to schedule marketing campaigns with ease, and still having a standardized look. Our marketing has gotten more professional and our business communication shows our dedication to our artist brands.”
And it does even more than just what Gerald said. An email signature campaign is simply an awesome way to promote new products or services, highlight new content, run deals, promote an event your company is sponsoring or attending, and so much more!
Why is an email signature campaign better than regular email marketing?
Well, we don’t want to necessarily say it’s better—the two can work in tandem beautifully—but running a marketing campaign from within your inbox is certainly more deliverable. Spam filters, promotions tabs, updates tabs, Google’s Unsubscribe button, oh my! We have a lot of barriers to get through, a challenge facing even the most sophisticated of email marketing tools. Whenever possible, running a campaign within your traditional inbox will be more likely to get there.
“The key difference between promoting a message through an email signature verse an email marketing campaign is the ability to display your message to an engaged audience rather through dialogue rather than competing for attention among scores of other promotional emails just to get your message seen,” said Brandon Pindulic.
Four questions you must answer before starting to create an email signature marketing campaign.
Running an email signature marketing campaign starts off by answering some crucial questions.
- Who in my company needs an email signature campaign?
To start, you need to decide which email signatures should have campaigns running. We would venture to argue that all customer-facing, outgoing emails should end with some sort of banner advertising. You can use your email signature marketing software to decide and then automate which departments get which kind of campaign.
When you have BIG news like investment, feel free to blast it for a few days on everybody’s tail!
- What kind of content should be included?
Next you need to decide what kind of content you want to provide. This is basically limited by your imagination, but most email signature marketing campaigns should be geared toward supporting short-term marketing goals, as they should be constantly evolving. These should each include one large graphic that’s correctly sized. It should include a few words of text delivering a call to action.
- How long should this campaign run?
Xink allows you to define the date that content should appear and subsequently be removed from signatures, as well as which signatures which should receive the content. Recurring schedules can be defined if needed. Generally, material like disclaimers and other essential compliance details run all the time, while true Campaign content is usually a shorter deployment with a defined start and end date. What’s great about Xink’s scheduling tool is that you give everything a deadline, so you won’t be wishing Happy New Year in March and won’t be advertising your Labor Day sale in December. But you can still schedule it all ahead! You can even set up recurring campaigns if you’d like.
- Do I want more than one campaign?
Maybe, but never more than two. The order in which they appear is the order you put them in Xink’s WYSIWYG editor. Often companies like law firms run one campaign for advertising services and another for seasonal or disclaimer information, keeping all of this separated from the virtual business card-like information. SaaS companies often run shorter campaigns on top with a specific deal or advertising a new feature, while running tech support information or a link to their knowledgeable for a longer time period second.
If you want to include a Marketing Banner and a Corporate Disclaimer below that, it’s best to define the Disclaimer as a Campaign. This allows you to define the content once and assign it to as many signature definitions as required. With a Campaign, any and all edits occur in a single location, and are then applied to all templates to which the disclaimer (or Campaign) is assigned.
How to set up an email signature campaign.
Use a different email signature for First Message, Replies and Forwards.
We’ve all had this happen, where a long, important email chain is interrupted by a slue of email signatures and disclaimers. Xink lets you choose specific signatures for replies and forwards, cutting back on the valuable real estate you’re monopolizing. Think about it, if at all, you only need your rather long disclaimer to show up once and it covers the entire email chain.
This also means that you can run different kinds of campaigns with deals, once you’ve, say, gone back and forth three times and moved your prospect down the sales funnel or prepped a current client for an upsell.
Segment your campaigns by target audience and location.
You should always segment your campaigns to drive business goals.
Sales may want to offer a free trial, demo or deal, while marketing may want to push new in-depth content. Customer support often promotes walk-throughs of new features and links to frequently asked questions. Accounting may want to include links to Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable, and Human Resources may want to include a strong message of company culture along with important job openings.
Every message can and should be tailored and automated to reach the target audience. This includes helping to run internal campaigns that increase employee motivation and keep everybody in the look of company happenings.
As you look around your company, you’ll start to develop an instinct for how some recipient groups are better than others. And email signature marketing analytics only increases that insight.
Mike Puterbaugh from our marketing team said it best: “Consider your segments, both internaly and externally:
Who does your finance team email most? Is that a source of referrals?
Support should always link to the knowledge base; a single help ticket avoided is a real money saved.
As you go through each department, you’ll find trends like these. Don’t forget to talk to your colleagues and ask them, then turn their insider knowledge into email signature marketing success!
What can you know from an email signature campaign?
Email signature marketing is what you could call passive campaigning or continual marketing. You can schedule everything ahead to be sent to specific market segments and target audiences and then forget about it until you get a look at the real-time insights into your campaign results.
With Xink Campaigns, you can measure click-through rate or CTR on your email signature campaigns. It allows you to measure and compare engagement of your email signature campaigns with other email signature campaigns and other marketing strategies overall. It lets you know which campaigns are working, so you can tweak and improve them, leaving the losers behind.
Then, of course, you can know the conversion rate of whatever the next step is that you are hoping for in the funnel.
Xink email signature analytics also offer you geolocation marketing insights. This lets you know just where your most promising prospects are located based.
You can also measure things like new signups to your newsletter and follows to your social media of choice. You can also create separate sign-up forms to identify new subscribers.
The whole point is that you measure, learn, pivot, and repeat!
Run A/B tests to really be in the know.
You work really hard to A/B test your latest mass email campaign, squeezing out all the conversions you can by fine tuning email subjects, calls to action, and the length of the email body. With Xink Campaign you gain another important piece of the puzzle to test. It allows you to create a new promotional message and call to action easily, embedding tracking links to your customized campaign landing page. You delegate which employees will be using this new campaign, and then schedule for when it will run. With a click of a button, the two parallel campaigns start that result in more insights that fit into the overall campaign’s A/B testing results. What are those results? Email marketing perfection.
A/B testing goes hand-in-hand with audience and market segmentation. Once you have drilled down to specific target audiences and subsegments, that’s when your A/B testing and the analytics that come out of it really start to win.
Everything is done in tandem with analytics.
As a modern, metrics-driven marketer, you probably spend hours a week inside Google Analytics, trying to find your way to the secret formula of what your prospects really want. Xink easily integrate with Google Analytics as well as so many of your analytics platforms du jour. Xink also has native analytics so you can measure it all from within your favorite analytics tool or right in our very own.
Compare your own campaigns!
Not only can you use analytics to compare your email signatures with the rest of your overarching marketing strategy, you can use Xink Campaign Analytics to know which are your best campaigns overall and which departments have the most successful engagement.
Focus on what you do best!
We all know Tiggers hop best. What does your company do best? Use your email signature campaign as a multiplier for just that.
Marketing drives email signature campaigns, not IT!
At least Xink’s email signature marketing tool is so simple to use that marketers are driving these email marketing campaigns, not IT. If you have minimal experience using Google Analytics and creating posts in WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor you have all the experience you need to get started!
Sure you can and we’d recommend you to work with an HTML designer to make sure your email signature looks good on all devices, but there’s no need to involve IT to implement much of your campaigns. We’d actually recommend the opposite, as we think marketing is the best department to drive this branding consistency and advertising genius across your company, and we want Xink to enable you to stay agile and market responsive. We just don’t think these things can be possible with a heavy-handed IT department. We’re here to empower You, the Marketer!
Don’t let employees do it either!
Don’t bother to give your employees ten pages of instructions of email signature branding policies. Instead, set everything up and before you implement it, send them a quick not as to why you are doing this and what they need to know will be at the end of their emails. Trust us, they’ll be much more likely to listen this way and will be happy you’re doing the work for them. Just make sure to tell them to turn off their current signature or else it’s just a mess of two or more signatures visible at once!
Just do it!
There is no limit to the number of email signature campaigns you can run in Xink, so feel free to play around and experiment until you find the right voice for the right employee to sell to the right client.
But don’t just measure—talk to your clients!
Metrics-driven marketing isn’t the only element in your marketing mix nor perhaps the most essential. Marketing is some sort of mix between facts and judgment. The online marketing tips we’ve offered you will only go so far and only when paired with your most important marketing tool—your clients! It’s all about balancing the quantitative with the qualitative and nothing can replace the unadulterated opinion of a customer. Don’t forget to pick their brains and learn what works for them… then, create new test marketing campaigns based on their feedback and measure it all again!
So what are you waiting for?
Xink offers a 14-day free trial, so what do you have to lose?
Take a look at our other comprehensive posts on Email Signature Design and Email Signature Branding too! They will inspire you with lots of tips on how to optimize your email signatures to perform at their best!