Going beyond open and click rates

One of the traditional ways to measure the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign is to look at open and click-through rates. In this blog post, however, we take a look at another performance measurement that you might not have considered before: conversion rate.

What is a conversion rate?

When we talk here about conversion rates, we are talking about what percentage of your email subscribers have taken some kind of action that (1) can be tracked and (2) goes beyond opening or clicking a link in your email. Common examples might include:

  • what percentage of your email subscribers purchased something from your website, or
  • filled out a form or survey on your website, or
  • downloaded something from your website, or
  • scheduled an appointment with you, or
  • signed up for your event online

When one of those actions takes place, we say that the person has converted. You may have noticed that the above examples are all actions that take place on your website. If you use a website analytics service (like Google Analytics) you can collect data on how many of your visitors convert, and learn what brought those visitors to your site. By combining Direct Mail’s email reporting with your website analytics, you can find out how effective your email campaigns are at driving conversions on your website—in other words, what your email campaign’s conversion rate is.

Using Google Analytics

The rest of this blog will make two assumptions:

  1. You are using Google Analytics on your website
  2. You have already set up one or more conversion “goals” on your website that you’d like Google Analytics to track

If you haven’t done those things yet, we recommend taking a look at one of these great Intro to Google Analytics courses:

Tagging your campaigns

Let’s say one of your email campaign goals is to get subscribers to click on a link in your email that takes them to your website. Once they’ve landed on your website, one of your goals may be for them to take an action that will convert them into a paying customer (or a repeat customer). Google Analytics can show you what percentage of your website visitors have converted, and, with an extra 5 seconds of work on your part, it can also show you which email campaigns those website visitors came from.

To get these extra insights, you need to tell Direct Mail to “tag” the links in your email campaign. This is done by checking the “Tag for Google Analytics” checkbox that appears when you send a campaign. You can also optionally enter a custom campaign name (e.g. “Fall 2018”). If you do not enter a campaign name, it defaults to the subject line of your message. The campaign name will be shown in Google Analytics—it is not visible to your recipients.

 

When you send your message, Direct Mail appends some extra information to the links in your email. When someone clicks a link in your email, this extra information tells Google Analytics that the visitor came from your email campaign. This is what allows Google Analytics to attribute that visitor’s conversion (if they convert) to your email campaign.

Viewing the results in Google Analytics

After you have sent your email campaign, you can view open and click reports in Direct Mail like normal. To access the extra Google Analytics conversion data, you’ll want to sign in to your Google Analytics account in your browser.

Once you’ve signed in, click on the “Acquisition” link on the left-hand side, then click “Campaigns”, then click “All Campaigns”

You will see a list of all of the campaigns that Google Analytics is tracking. These campaigns include not only email campaigns sent by Direct Mail, but also other ad campaigns that you may be running to drive traffic to your site (like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, etc.). Find and click on the email campaign that you sent with Direct Mail—remember to look for the “campaign name” that you used above when clicking the “Tag for Google Analytics” button.

Viewing the columns left-to-right, you can see the metrics that Google Analytics is tracking: number of users, bounce rate, session duration, etc. The right-most group of columns may be the most interesting. These columns show the performance for the selected goal.

In this screenshot, we can see that the “Fall 2018” campaign resulted in 27 conversions for “Goal 1: Purchase”. This means that 27 people who received my “Fall 2018” email campaign clicked a link in the email and eventually went on to purchase something from my website—either right away or several days later. I originally sent this email campaign to 950 subscribers, so that makes my conversion rate 27 ÷ 950 = 2.8%. Nice!

If you want to see the combined conversion rate for all of your Direct Mail campaigns (instead of just one of them), click on “Acquisition”, then “Campaigns”, then “All Campaigns”, then click on “Source”. A list of all the campaign sources will appear—look for the one labeled “directmailmac”.

Conclusion

Open and click-through rates are not the only way to track campaign performance. Taking a look at conversion rates can yield additional insight. Direct Mail’s “Tag for Google Analytics” feature can help you uncover additional insights into how effective your campaigns are at converting leads into customers. If you have any questions about anything discussed in this blog post, or want to give feedback, please let us know!

Tip: Sharing your project with other users

Putting together an email campaign is often more than just a one-person job. The responsibilities of writing content, creating graphics, editing, analyzing reports, and more may be shared across an entire team of people. In these situations, Direct Mail’s cloud sharing features can really come in handy. In this blog post, we’ll show you how easy it is to share your Direct Mail project with other people.

Step 1 of 1

To share your Direct Mail project with other people, all you need to do is choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

If you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to first move your project into the Direct Mail Cloud. This is a necessary step because project sharing is built on top of Direct Mail’s cloud features.

After you choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar, you’ll see a list of people that are allowed to access your project.

To allow new people to access your project, click the “+” button and enter their email address. After you’ve entered their email address, pick what level of access (i.e. permission) you’d like to give them:

  • View: The person can view, but not edit your project
  • Edit: The person can view and edit your project
  • Edit & Send: The person can view and edit your project, and can send email campaigns from the project
  • Owner: The person can do all of the above, plus edit these sharing settings or remove the project from the cloud. Email campaigns sent from this project are billed to the owner’s Direct Mail pricing plan.

When you’re all done, click OK.

What happens next?

A notification email will be sent to the people that you added to your sharing list. The notification email tells them how they can open the project that you’ve shared with them. If the person doesn’t yet have Direct Mail installed on their Mac, the email will tell them how they can download and set up a free account.

If someone has shared their Direct Mail project with you, you can open it by choosing “File > Open from Cloud…” from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

Live editing

 

As you (or the other people you’ve shared with) make changes to your project, Direct Mail automatically keeps everyone up-to-date. Changes are synced across the Internet in real time. If two people change the same piece of data (e.g. a message, an address, etc.), the most recent change wins.

Change your mind?

You can change who has access to your project at any time. To do so, just choose “File > Share…” from the menu bar again. You can remove people from your project, change permission levels, or add new people. If you remove someone from the list, then Direct Mail will automatically remove your project from their computer.

Just for fun: updating your profile photo

By default, Direct Mail shows a generic “profile photo” next to each person’s name. You can add some fun to Direct Mail by updating your profile photo. Your photo will show up in the sharing window when other people share their Direct Mail projects with you. To update your photo, choose “Direct Mail > Direct Mail Account” from the menu bar at the top of the screen, then click on “Name & Picture”.

Conclusion

Whether it’s authoring content, proofreading, or building a list, email marketing campaigns often require the talents of a whole team working together. Direct Mail’s sharing features can make it easier to work together in real time—without resorting to workarounds like Dropbox or file servers. We hope you take a look at what’s possible, and please let us know what you think.

Direct Mail 5.4.1 Now Available

Direct Mail 5.4.1 is now available to all of our users. This update includes several bug fixes that increase the reliability and performance of Direct Mail, especially for users running Apple’s new macOS 10.14 Mojave.

The Preview window has also been updated with support for the latest iPhone models. These can be found under the “Simulate Screen Size” pop-up menu.

The Preview window in Direct Mail

Most customers will receive this update automatically over the next few days. If you want to update manually, simply choose “Direct Mail > Check for Software Update” from the menu bar at the top of your screen. If you downloaded Direct Mail via the Mac App Store, you can find the update there, as well.

Direct Mail updated for macOS 10.14, including Dark Mode support

Direct Mail 5.4 was just released today, and we’re excited to share with you some of the improvements that we have been working on…

Mojave and Dark Mode

“Mojave” is the name of Apple’s latest update to macOS, scheduled to be released later this month. If you’re planning on upgrading to Mojave, you’ll want to make sure you upgrade Direct Mail, too. One of the most eye-catching features in Mojave is an all-new “dark mode”. We have reworked Direct Mail top-to-bottom to make sure it looks great in this new mode, and we hope you’re as pleased with the results as we are:

Improved Design Test Browsing

Direct Mail Design Tests are a way for you to see pixel-perfect screenshots of what your email looks like in a variety of email clients (including mobile, web, and Windows email clients). Design tests are a great way to spot potential issues with your email design, or gain confidence that your email will look great when your recipients open it. In previous updates, we improved the process of ordering new design tests. In this update, we have improved the experience of browsing test results. Screenshots now fill more of the available screen space, and navigating between results is faster than ever. We’ve also made it easier to export the screenshots out of Direct Mail.

Sample Project and Tour

We wanted to make it easier for first-time users to learn about the powerful features packed into Direct Mail. New in Direct Mail 5.4 is a sample project that shows off some of the things you can do in Direct Mail. A guided tour at the top of the project window helps new users find their way around the app. The sample project and tour is available in the “Welcome to Direct Mail” window that appears on first launch, or at any time from the “Help” menu at the top of the screen.

More Than Meets the Eye

The improvements in Direct Mail 5.4 are more than just skin deep. We have squashed several bugs and streamlined the user interface to help you work more efficiently. We hope you to enjoy these new improvements, and look forward to your feedback! The Direct Mail 5.4 update will download to your Mac automatically over the next few days. If desired, you can update immediately by choosing “Direct Mail > Check for Software Update” from the menu bar at the top of your screen. Mac App Store customers will receive the update as soon as it is approved by Apple. Update: It has been approved, and Mac App Store customers can now download the update, as well.

Pro Tip: Customizing Content Based on Device

Direct Mail’s built-in templates are engineered to look great across a variety of devices and screen sizes. Even better, Direct Mail’s built-in editor ensures that any customizations, changes, or redesigns you make continue to look their best on all devices—with no extra work required on your part. If you’re a power user, though, you might find yourself wanting to customize your subscriber’s email experience even further based on what device they use to read your email. If that’s you, check out today’s pro-tip:

Did you know that you can show different content to your subscribers based on the kind of device they are reading your email on? This can be useful for customizing the layout or design of your newsletter for large or small screens. For example, the “Dive In” template that comes with Direct Mail uses this feature to show a slightly different header when the email is viewed on a mobile device.

Here’s how to do it (you must be using one of our modern templates):

  1. Click on the section that you want to customize
  2. Click on the right arrow at the bottom of the pop-up window
  3. Click on the “Visibility” pop-up menu and choose Desktop and Mobile, Desktop Only, or Mobile Only

You can use the Preview window‘s “Simulate Screen Size” feature to check out the results!

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