I've sent over 1 million emails, and I try to keep my open rates above 50%. But my top weekly newsletter KPI is not opens, clicks or conversions. Here's what I use instead, and my most important 5 email marketing KPIs.
For background, I've been sending my weekly two-minute "Steal This" newsletter since 2019, and I have a simple goal: Send my audience a lot of value in a short time each week.
I finally decided to focus on "opens per opener," because my best emails tend to get forwarded and opened many times.
Top 5 email marketing KPIs
So here's my top 5 email marketing metrics for a newsletter, in order from worst to best:
Sales / Revenue / Conversions - ⭐ I almost never sell anything via my emails. But I find that, because I deliver value each week, when I do promote my services, I get very high engagement rates, sometimes higher than my informational emails. In other words, I sell more by not trying to sell.
Click rates - ⭐⭐ My emails seldom contain important links, so my click rate tends to be low, spiking occasionally depending on the links I include. You email doesn't need to require a "click" to be valuable. Respect your readers' time.
Open rates ⭐⭐⭐ - This is a better KPI. But some weeks my open rate will dip because I mess up and hit the dreaded Promotions Folder on Gmail. (I can see when that happens because my open rate for the Gmail domain will be 40% lower than other domains). Also, sometimes my open rates will be super high just because I absolutely nail the subject line, like in January when I sent the email "I think Nopadon has lost his mind." In-general, I just try to keep my open rate above 50%, and keep my unsubscribes low.
Total openers per campaign ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - As an absolute number, that's critical, because it tells me how many people I'm reaching. I use that to set my target for the year. But it's a poor way to judge the success of any one campaign, because I gain subscribers each week, so I'll have more "total opens" in November than I did in February.
Opens per Opener ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Hence my main metric is "opens per opener" which tells me if my readers are opening my emails more than once or forwarding them, which I see as a good proxy for value delivered.
If you are one of those regular readers, thank you sincerely. And if you're not subscribed, you'll probably never see me again... subscribe here.