Email marketing remains one of the most popular and most profitable forms of marketing in the modern world, despite the emergence of higher-tech and trendier marketing strategies. The power of email marketing comes from its remarkable efficiency; it’s a communication channel used by practically everyone, for various purposes, and launching a campaign doesn’t take much time, money, or effort.
Accordingly, with the right email marketing strategy, you can plan and execute a campaign capable of generating a high return on investment (ROI). Most people do this by optimizing for email traffic—but what exactly is email traffic, and how can you monitor and increase it?
Table of Contents
- What Is Email Traffic?
- How to Monitor Email Traffic
- How to Get Email Traffic
- 6. Optimize your subscriber list for quality.
- 7. Weed out or fix inaccurate data.
- 8. Increase your subscribers organically.
- 9. Segment and target your lists.
- 10. Personalize your messages.
- 11. Polish your subject lines.
- 12. Invest in quality content.
- 13. Include visuals.
- 14. Keep your spam score low.
- 15. Incentivize clicks.
- 16. Create clear calls-to-action.
- 17. Make your landing pages relevant.
- 18. Utilize multiple channels.
- 19. Incentivize forwards and shares.
- 20. Send blasts consistently.
- 21. Learn and improve.
- Related posts:
What Is Email Traffic?
There are two ways to define email traffic:
- The first definition refers to email traffic in the marketing sense; it’s the number of people who visit your website after clicking a link you’ve provided within the email.
- The second definition of email traffic refers to a productivity or workload metric; it’s the inbound and outbound emails sent and received from your email account, or your team members or employees.
In this article, we’ll focus on the first definition of email traffic. But if you’re here to learn more about the second definition, then you should start a free trial of EmailAnalytics, because our tool tells you everything you need to know about your email traffic (or your employees’).
Now, back to the first definition. Assuming your website has some valuable course of action for visitors to take, like buying a product or filling out a contact form, increasing traffic is one of the best ways to increase your overall revenue.
There are several things that must happen if you want to generate email traffic. For example, you’ll have to make sure your emails are being delivered, you’ll have to make a good impression with those emails, you’ll have to get people to open the emails, and you’ll have to get people to click the links you’ve included in the body content.
This is why it’s important to monitor your email traffic, and find ways to increase it; by studying the behavioral patterns of your target market and tweaking your approach, you’ll eventually get a bigger and more relevant stream of traffic to your site via email.
How to Monitor Email Traffic
Let’s start by explaining how to monitor email traffic. Most email marketing tools have built-in functionality that allows you to design, distribute, and measure various metrics associated with your email campaigns. For example, you’ll be able to see how many people opened your emails, how many clicked a link in your email, and more.
However, for a more detailed view on your email traffic, the best approach is to use Google Analytics in at least some capacity. With it, you’ll be able to measure and analyze all your inbound email traffic, and segment metrics to track specific cohorts within that category. If you set up UTM tracking codes for your URLs, you’ll be able to track traffic in even greater detail. To take things even further, here’s a guide to website visitor tracking software.
Once you’ve chosen a tool (or multiple tools) to monitor your email traffic, you can use these strategies to get the most out of your monitoring:
1. Measure email traffic directly.
The easiest metric to track is your total email traffic, or your email traffic per demographic segment or list segment. This tells you how many people are visiting your site after clicking a link in your email. As you make positive changes to your email campaign, this metric should consistently increase. If it decreases or remains stagnant, it’s a sign you’re doing something wrong.
2. Evaluate your click-to-open ratio.
You’ll also want to look at your click-to-open ratio. This ratio tells you how many people click the link within your email, compared to how many people opened the email in the first place. If you have a problem with clicks, but not opens, it means your content isn’t compelling enough, or that your content is irrelevant or low-quality. If you have a problem with opens, that usually means a deliverability or subject line problem.
3. Check your bounce rate.
The bounce rate for a landing page is the number of people who leave the page after visiting it from another source. If your bounce rate (from email traffic) is too high, it means you’re not doing a good job of retaining the email traffic you’re attracting. This could be a problem with targeting the right demographics, but more commonly, it’s either a mismatch between email and landing page content or a quality problem with your landing page.
4. Track behavioral patterns.
Google Analytics offers you the ability to analyze the behavioral patterns of your inbound traffic, per traffic segment. Use this to your advantage and track how your email-originated visitors behave; for example, do they tend to gravitate to a specific page? How many pages do they visit in an average session?
5. Measure your email traffic conversion rate.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to track your email traffic conversion rate. You may be getting a high volume of traffic from your email marketing campaign, but are those people taking meaningful actions once they’re on your site? If not, you may struggle to achieve a valuable return on investment (ROI). You can fix this by attracting more relevant traffic or by optimizing your site for conversions (which is a strategy somewhat separate from your email marketing campaign).
How to Get Email Traffic
When you have a baseline for your email traffic, you’ll want to take measures to gradually increase it. These are some of the best strategies to help you do it:
6. Optimize your subscriber list for quality.
First, make sure you’re optimizing your subscriber list for relevance and quality. Ideally, every member of your email subscriber list will be interested in your brand and subscribed voluntarily. To achieve this, try to attract all your subscribers naturally, with manual signups and invitations to your known readership and followers; buying a list is inadvisable. The more relevant and interested your audience is, the more likely they’ll be to click links, visit your site, and buy from you. Even if this means working with a smaller list, you’ll end up seeing better results.
7. Weed out or fix inaccurate data.
Take the time to periodically scrub your list for inaccurate or obsolete data. Many modern email management tools will help you do this automatically, flagging email addresses that are no longer active and highlighting missing fields. This will prevent you from sending to irrelevant addresses, and will keep your quality score high.
8. Increase your subscribers organically.
Assuming your content quality and subscriber relevance remain high, increasing the size of your subscriber list will almost always increase your total email traffic, so focus on increasing your number of subscribers. You can do this with on-site signups, social media blasts, advertising, and multiple other marketing methods. Just make sure your subscribers know what they’re getting into, and only add them to your list if they sign up voluntarily.
9. Segment and target your lists.
You can increase email traffic by providing your subscribers with more relevant, targeted content. And the best way to do that with a big list is to segment that list into different demographic sections. For example, you can break your list down by location, or by demographic segment, and send different types of content to each segment.
10. Personalize your messages.
Personalization is huge in the world of email marketing; people don’t want to read messages that were sent to thousands of people with equal value. At the very least, optimizing your subject line and greeting with customer-specific information. To dig deeper, personalize your drip campaign with emails tailored to individual circumstances.
11. Polish your subject lines.
Subject lines are the first thing that your subscribers will see when receiving your emails; they’re responsible for first impressions, and will dictate whether your subscribers open your emails. In some ways, they’re the most important part of your message, so spend time polishing them for appeal and persuasion.
12. Invest in quality content.
The body content of your emails also needs to be good. If you make simple mistakes, like spelling errors or including content that doesn’t load, you’ll leave readers with a bad impression—and they won’t want to visit your site. Instead, provide them with the best content you can, and make sure it’s relevant for your audience.
13. Include visuals.
People respond well to visual content, even more than written content, so try to include some visuals in every email. Photos and videos make your email more compelling, and strong, bold colors can help guide your users to the right calls-to-action (CTAs). Just be sure you don’t go overboard, or you might overwhelm or annoy your readers.
14. Keep your spam score low.
If you typically engage in shady or questionable email marketing tactics, you’ll end up with a spam score that prohibits you from achieving high deliverability, or could even get you on an email blacklist. You can keep your spam score low by avoiding charged terms that are frequently flagged, optimizing your list for relevance and deliverability, and choosing the right delivery methods. You can test your spam score using one of these email testing tools.
15. Incentivize clicks.
If you want people to visit your site, you need to give them a reason to visit. For example, you can provide users with a discount or a special offer if they visit your site. You could also link them to a full version of content you’ve only teased in the body of your email. No matter what, there should be a clear benefit to visiting.
16. Create clear calls-to-action.
Along similar lines, you’ll need to make sure your email contains at least one clear call-to-action (CTA); there needs to be a link to your site, with some kind of compelling language meant to persuade a click. For example, something like “visit our site to learn more about _____!” is much more compelling than a simple URL, or the title of your on-site article.
17. Make your landing pages relevant.
Some email traffic bounces immediately because the landing page doesn’t match the visitor’s expectations. For example, you might have convinced your email readers to click a link to learn more about a given topic, but the landing page is an obvious sales pitch for a product that’s only semi-related. You need to set accurate expectations for your email subscribers, and optimize your landing pages to appear both high-quality and compelling for the visitors who make it through.
18. Utilize multiple channels.
Email marketing is best suited as one of several marketing and advertising channels within your campaign, and you can actually increase your email traffic by using it in conjunction with other marketing efforts. For example, you can make a big push on social media to attract new followers and keep them active in your community. Then, you can spend time convincing them to sign up for your email list; these followers, who know your brand well from social media, will be much more likely to click your email links in the future.
Each email can generate more traffic if it reaches a wider audience. Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to incentivize forwards and shares. You can make your content more shareable by including surprising or valuable information, and you can persuade more forwards and shares to take place by asking for them directly and making it easy; for example, you can include share buttons at the bottom of each email.
20. Send blasts consistently.
Increase your email traffic by sending email marketing blasts more consistently; when people receive a valuable email from you every week, they’ll know what they can expect, and they’ll be more likely to visit your site in turn. This is also good for retaining subscribers, as long as you don’t bombard people with an excessive number of messages.
21. Learn and improve.
Take the time to track a variety of email marketing metrics—not just traffic. You’ll learn more about what types of content people want to read, the best timing for getting email responses, and more. Once you have a better grasp on this information, you’ll be able to incorporate it to make your future emails much more compelling. You can also run regular experiments (including AB tests) to isolate variables and learn more about how your audience responds to them.
If you want a more detailed view into your email habits, whether it’s to analyze your sales and marketing strategy or to analyze your internal communication, you’ll need a visual analytics tool to help you do it—like EmailAnalytics.
With EmailAnalytics, you can analyze your average email response time, your busiest times and days of the week, your total email volume, your top senders and recipients, and more! Sign up for a free trial today, and see for yourself how it works!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.