Email Thursday – Basic Email Tracking without Expensive Services



Today is email Thursday and I’m your presenter, Andy.

Today, we’re going to talk about some easy-to-use basic email tracking methods and how you can track, with little or no investment, how your users are interacting with emails you send.

If you use a large email service provider or employ an outside vendor for all of your site tracking needs, you’re likely aware of the metrics that most of these big-boys offer: Click Thru Rate, Unique Open, Unsubscribes etc. as well as historical data and trending for list quality, deliverability reporting, and maintenance. Many of these email service providers automatically recode every link in an email which enables robust reporting and allows you to give each link an alias to simplify report analysis. This way, instead of just seeing tons of links with associated click rates, you can see that the link named “Product1” received 12 clicks and “Product 2” received 100 clicks. In some cases, these email service providers will differentiate between the same URL links in the HTML and Text versions.

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In addition, there are services out there that will allow you to track a user from their first click on an email all the way through a transaction giving you insight into every page they’ve viewed, how long they were on each page, average time on site, cart abandonment etc. Basically, it amounts to an extremely in-depth understanding and provides a visual map regarding how your users view the email.

And this is all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t have a marketing budget that matches the GDP of a small, developing country nor do you have the staff to do much more than hit the big “Send” button? In many cases, email service providers will offer a full-service option where their production staff will assist you in setting up, QA’ing, deploying and analyzing each email send. However, this is a more expensive option than the self-service method and isn’t necessary if you can be creative with how you set up your campaigns.

Now although I can’t help you with money or staff, but I can give you some quick and easy tricks to help you identify areas that can help you optimize your emails and understand, even at a basic level, how your users are interacting with your messaging.

Now, as you can see, the link in the HTML version is different from the link in the text version. All links in each version should reflect this difference. That way, when the “extra” code (everything after product123.html) is carried over to your website, you can filter the incoming traffic by “entry page or entry URL.” This will tell you how many clicks each link garnered so you can do some basic comparison between the performance between the 2 versions. In order to get this basic insight into click activity that drives users to a specific page on your site, some sort of analytics tool is required such as Yahoo Analytics if you are a Yahoo Store owner, or Google Analytics which is free for everyone. Google analytics will provide you with code that you need to put on every page of your site, but the time spent performing this action can give you some great insight into the behavior of your users.

With some basic additions to your email links, you can at least track the different response rates between both versions. In addition to gaining an understanding between which version is more preferable to your audience (mobile platform users may prefer the text version, computer users the HTML), this basic system of tracking will broaden your insight into how your messaging may be custom tailored for each version. In emails we create here at Exclusive Concepts (like the one you received for this blog post), we often change the messaging and reduce the number of links in the text version thus making it simpler and easier to navigate through the email.

We offer Optimized Lifecycle E-mail Marketing as a service to clients who are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from their e-mail approach. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.

Thank you for listening – have a wonderful E-mail Thursday!