MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Future Guide to Email Marketing: How to Drive B2B Email Success in 2023 and Beyond, with Michael Barber

You know your email Open Rates and CTRs… but do you know the RFM of your subscribers? Do you know your reply rate ratios?

These helpful metrics are often overshadowed by the data provided by your email service provider. But Michael Barber believes these are more important, and they can be used to support investments in your marketing tools and team.

For more on these important email metrics, watch Michael’s video clip or read the transcript below.


So as we consider what future measures of engagement look like… Of course we’ve still gotta continue to track these sorts of things. Click through rate. Bounce rate. Unsubscribe. Spam. Complaint rate. And conversion rate.

But I’m gonna offer a couple of additional ones that I think we should be tracking brands as well.

Number one, a reply rate.

So this is essentially a pure ratio between who opened and who replied, right? Essentially, a really key measure of indicator if someone found interest in our campaigns, [and] how this relates to section one, our zero party data. There are tools out there that can help us manage this at scale inside our organizations.

Ann Handley’s got a really funny measure. I think she calls it like, “what they actually cared about the slash” metric or something like that… Go ask her if you get the chance, but she’s got a really fun metric that makes this interesting.

Number two is email read time. How much time are they spending on our campaigns?

Now, this is not a metric that the ISPs are telling us they’re looking at. But we think it may have something to do with those engagement scores they’re doing. And there are tools out there—like a sponsor of this conference, Litmus—that help us ensure that we understand how much time our subscribers are spending in our campaigns.

Those can be really interesting insights for a couple of things.

One, we can have that age-old argument—or conversation, if you will—inside our organizations of, “hey, are our emails too long? or too short? Are we delivering enough information in the inbox?”

But also, “is someone having a nuanced experience inside of that inbox with us? Are they spending enough time for the amount of content that we’re building inside of that campaign?”

The last one I’ll say is this, is your post-conversion metrics, I think become increasingly important.

And I would argue that as an organization you need to sort of take a step back for the future and think, “okay, what are the metrics that really have an impact for us as an organization?” (I know someone was taking a photo of that, so I’ll just back up if you wanna snap that photo right now.)

But those post-conversion metrics need to be customized for us as a brand. But at least at a top level here are some, if you will, more macro-level measurements that we can think about from a post-conversion experience.

First is things like email program revenue and profit.

What are we actually driving out of the inbox from a revenue perspective and a profit center for our organization? Especially if we’re doing something from an e-commerce perspective, or SaaS, or we’re selling services through that inbox.

Number two is revenue per email, or per subscriber, right? What emails actually deliver the most revenue for us? What are the subscribers that are leveraging that? What is it about the relationship with that subscriber that drives the most revenue with them?

There are key insights that we can think about there as well.

Subscriber lifetime value, right? How much is a subscriber worth to us as an organization? It can help us make some comparisons. Even things like subscriber recency, frequency and monetary value. Particularly important if you’re doing anything from an e-commerce perspective and email marketing.

And then it’s taking those and comparing them to non-subscribers. So the customer lifetime value of a subscriber versus a non-subscriber can help us have a really nuanced conversation with our executive team to say, “this is the value of why we invest in tools and platforms for email,” and the like.

And we can do the same thing with RFM, right? Recency frequency and monetary value of customers—that are subscribers—and those that are non-subscribers.

These become really key measures for us in the future as we think about those post-conversion metrics that go well beyond… the vanity metrics that happen inside of the inbox.

Published 7/26/23

Want more from Michael? He’ll be leading an all-day workshop this year on List Growth & Personalization to take your email game even further.

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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