The value of analytics to email
We had a recent analytics epiphany with an ENNclick client. We write the content for their newsletter, lay it out and deliver each issue.
We’d only published a few issues of the client’s newsletter when we realised the statistics that were generating from the email provider didn’t by default show a complete picture of non-subscriber traffic.
We use an excellent tool from Irish email company Newsweaver. It’s one of the few that produces a simple micro-site behind each issue allowing you to capture all subscriber activity. In so many ways it’s streets ahead of much of the competition both locally and internationally.
It also has very powerful tools for researching what subscribers are clicking on and how often, and categorising content according to each newsletter article’s relative popularity. But what we didn’t have was a way to analyse traffic that isn’t already subscribed via email.
With an email address as the unique identifier it’s relatively straightforward to track activity once a person clicks through from an email in their inbox and onto an article hosted on the web. Newsweaver usefully lets clients generate a sub-domain so anyone going to the newsletter on the web sees something like http://newsletter.brandname.com.
From a branding perspective this looks so much better than clicking from a newsletter and landing up on a domain that looks totally unrecognisable. After all, we’re all being told to be super-vigilant about spoof and phishing attacks, so it provides a level of subscriber reassurance if the newsletter’s supporting pages on the web have the same domain.
But, in analysing our overall traffic for the client it became apparent that there was a lot of traffic from sources other than existing email subscribers. People from all over the web were discovering the client’s e-newsletter website via search services and direct links, rather than through receiving the latest issue in their inbox.
And this is the key message. As part of your overall online marketing strategy, if you are using an email newsletter to point to pages on the web, just make sure that you also have a means to then measure the non-subscriber traffic that’s hitting those pages.
If your newsletter resides on your own site then you can use your existing analytics solution to make sure you can capture that vital data. But if you have a third party host, it’s vital that you don’t forget to include analytics on those hosted pages to capture all the non-subscriber traffic your newsletter’s pages are generating. It could be quite significant and change your perspective on just how important email is to your overall strategy.
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