On a regular basis, the appropriate staff members should meet to review their digital metrics together. (Here's a guide to holding a weekly digital strategy meeting.) First and foremost in this meeting should be Google Analytics reports, along with social media metrics, streaming numbers, and other data points.
Email marketing can be a powerful channel for radio stations, and it can be automated for stations that have limited staff resources. So naturally, staffs should also review their email metrics in this meeting. Here are the key things to look at:
1. Click Through Rate
This is the percentage of people who clicked on a link in the email that they received. Because you want to use email as a tool to drive traffic back to your website, this is one of the most important data points to track. Your email service provider (ESP) should provide you with this number. According to Mailchimp, the average Click Through Rate for the Media industry is 4.7%.
2. List Growth Rate
This number will tell you how fast people are signing up for your email list. To calculate it, take the number of new subscribers, subtract the number of people who unsubscribed, and divide it by the total number of people on your email list. The faster your email list is growing, the better.
There are a number of ways you can try to increase this number, including: Promoting your email list on air more, putting the email signup form in a more prominent place on your station's website, or providing a more compelling incentive for signing up. Experiment to see if you can drive this number up.
3. Conversion Rate
Your radio station should have explicitly defined goals for website visitors. In other words, when people come to your website, what do you want them to do? Stream the station, enter a contest, click on an ad? (Here's more on setting goals for your radio station's website.)
The Conversion Rate is the percentage of email recipients who accomplished one of the goals. To calculate it, take the number of goal completions and divide it by the number of email recipients. This is a tricky number to calculate because you only want to count the goal completions that happened as a result of an email campaign. For example, somebody may come to your station's website because they clicked on a Facebook post, and then stream the station. That is a goal completion, but it shouldn't be counted towards the email conversion rate because it's the result of a social media post, not an email campaign.
To track this accurately, you'll need somebody who knows their way around Google Analytics and can integrate it with your email service provider, but it should be done.
4. Email as a Percentage of Incoming Web Site Traffic
This number tells you how much of your incoming website traffic is the result of your email campaigns. You will find this number in your Google Analytics dashboard. This metric will compare email against other incoming traffic sources, including social media, paid search engine traffic, organic search engine traffic, referrals (links from other websites), and direct traffic (when people type your radio station's URL directly into their browser. Because this is a relative number, there's nothing concrete to benchmark it against. For example, a sizable percentage of incoming traffic from email could mean that your email game is strong, that your social media game is weak, or both. Still, it's a good idea to keep an eye on this number because it tells you how important email is in your overall digital mix.
5. Open Rate
The Open Rate is supposed to be the number of recipients who open an email but, for technical reasons, it isn't always a reliable metric. While you should keep an eye on the Open Rate for any wild swings, the Click Through Rate is a much better measure of how your email campaigns are performing. According to Mailchimp, the average email Open Rate for the Media industry is 22.14%.
6. Unsubscribe Rate
The Unsubscribe Rate is the number of recipients who are opting out of your email list. To calculate it, divide the number of people who have unsubscribed from your list by the total number of people on the list. This is not the best measure of email engagement because there are lots of ways for people to ignore your emails besides unsubscribing, but keep an eye out for any sudden spikes in this number. That means you've done something to annoy your recipients and you don't want to repeat the mistake. According to Mailchimp, the average Unsubscribe Rate for the Media industry is 0.12%.
As with all digital data points, be careful about putting too much emphasis on the wrong metrics. It's easy to assume that just because you can quantify something, it's meaningful. That isn't always the case. At Jacobs Media, while we track all six of these metrics, I care most about the first two. Conversion Rate matters less for us, because the number one goal of our website is to capture email addresses, so everybody who receives our emails has, by definition, already “converted.” However, most radio stations will have additional website goals, so the Conversion Rate will also be an important metric for them.
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