It is vital that you are able to get the most out of your Mailchimp reports. As your email marketing focus grows, it only makes sense to delve deeper into what is performing well, but it is more important that you are checking what isn’t doing as well.
Every email marketing campaign is going to have a statistic that wasn’t as good as you expected, so you should use Mailchimp to your advantage. A/B testing, campaign iterations and articles from Mailchimp (and MailNinja winking face) will make it easier for you to dive into what metrics are doing best, and which are doing worst.
You might be thinking, do metrics matter? Of course they do – But more importantly, what metrics matter?
Every email campaign metric matters to some degree, and there are steps you can take to improve on any metric, so let’s get started, and discuss the 2 main metrics we deal with. Opens and click rates:

Open rates

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Open rates will determine how effective your subject lines are. A low open rate suggests your subject line is boring, plain, or irrelevant. A higher open rate will suggest the opposite, you are impacting the reader, it is personal, engaging, and more of your subscribers are clicking through.
Mailchimp reported in 2019 that the average open rate across all industries for their users was 21.33% – It is important to use this benchmark as a reminder, rather than a target. Your own open rate isn’t the industry standard, and it can differ depending on your market. We’d say that 15 – 25% is classed as a good benchmark for you to look out for in your own Mailchimp campaigns.

thinking face How do I improve my open rates? thinking face 

Mailchimp offers very useful tools like tags and A/B testing, which can really help you work out what might be hindering this engagement metric. Tags can make the process of adding in people’s names or usernames simple and automatic. Follow this up by testing your old subject line with a personalised one with tags, and see whether there is a noticeable difference during your next email campaign.
We produced an infographic to help you improve your open rates: https://mailninja.co.uk/increase-open-rates

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If you only have people’s emails, you might want to alter your sign up/opt-in process. By doing so, you can retrieve people’s names as well as their emails. It’s not just names you have to personalise, you can always ask for their current city, their date of birth, favourite colour/movie/food etc. Consider the industry you operate in, and tailor your opt-in form to gauge open the opportunity to send more emails with personalised subject lines.

Click-through rates

open book  Why do they matter? open book  

You want people to be clicking your links, as that’s the only way your email campaigns will drive traffic to your website or social media channels.  A bad click-through rate could mean a few things – Your calls to action (CTAs) aren’t easily seen, your links are broken/inconsistent, or your emails are simply irrelevant, so some readers have no reason to be clicking your links.

thinking face How do I improve my click-through rates? thinking face 

First of all, you want to make sure your subscribers are getting the same content they signed up for. There’s no point trying to share links, websites and offers elsewhere if it’s not what your subscribers agreed upon in the first place. 
That’s why we recommend using your Mailchimp account to utilise the following strategies:

Segmentation of your subscribers  

If you want to use relevant links and CTAs, consider segmenting your subscriber list, either by age, sex, location or interests. You can go a step further than that, by segmenting subscribers based off the date of opt-in, or whether they have purchased from your website at all in the past. This way, you can provide content that can be more relevant to certain groups of people, instead of assuming a one size fits all approach to your email marketing.

Work on your CTAs – 

Your CTAs are probably the main reason you create half of your marketing emails, are we right? A CTA is incorporated to get your readers to do something. It gets them to visit your website, or click through to a video, store or pop-up. Your CTA can be either a button or a link, and these are distinctly different in their purpose. Links work as more of a supplementary CTA. The content in the link will, for sure, add value to the reader’s experience, but it also won’t grind their engagement to a halt. 
Links are noticed but aren’t an obvious thing you see upon opening an email, so they will help add to the experience if you want to provide a useful website or product in relation to the email. Don’t use a link as your main CTA if you really want your reader to do something. You’ll get a better click-through rate if you use buttons that are big, bold and colourful – Something that cannot be missed…
We produced an infographic to help you improve your click rates: https://mailninja.co.uk/increase-click-rates

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Mailchimp recommends reviewing your button CTAs with the squint test, whereby you squint at your opened email preview, and determine whether you can see where the button is, without reading any of the words.
Lastly, don’t forget to A/B test your CTAs. If you’re unsure whether a link or button is better, or whether you should use the words CLICK HERE or not in your CTA, test two or three scenarios up against each other. The only way you can find out which way works best is by comparison, and Mailchimp’s A/B testing feature makes this process far easier than many other email marketing agencies.

BONUS: Bounce rates – Soft and hard

open book  Why do they matter? open book  

In the world of emails, bounces occur when your email is unable to deliver to the recipient, this can be due to a variety of reasons, and that’s why we use the terms soft bounces, and hard bounces.
A soft bounce happens when your email reaches as far as the recipient’s mail server, but doesn’t deliver into their inbox/spam – This might be due to their mail server being temporarily down, you have sent an email with files that are too large, or their mail capacity is simply too full, and needs tidying up on their end. A soft bounce isn’t much to worry about, as long as you try re sending to these soft bounces. If the email is still displaying as undelivered after 2-3 days, it might be worth labelling that recipient as a hard bounce.
Hard bounces happen when the mail is unable to deliver completely. You might have an invalid email address, the account may have been closed, or the mail server might have closed down permanently. Either way, these are costing you money and capacity in your mailing list, and need to be cut out before you start wasting your time trying to deliver to a bucket-load of email addresses that are non-existent. 

thinking face How do I improve my bounce rates? thinking face 

Bounce rates can vary widely from industry to industry. The average (soft) bounce rates hover around between 1% – 2%. Having a bounce rate over 2% isn’t really a major cause for concern, but it indicates that you should be actively filtering your mailing list, that way you won’t have to deal with the issues of undelivered emails.
To get your bounce rates down, the main thing you need to do is keep an eye on your mailing list, and whenever you get a hard bounce, remove it straight away. The easiest thing you can do is simply rid of the recipients that don’t receive your email. The quicker you do this, the more time you have to accommodate for more new, and legitimate subscribers.

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Use an opt-in compliance based sign up form. By doing this, people can only enter email addresses that are valid – They will be sent a verification email, so that the email is confirmed as an active one, meaning you have less to worry about when it comes to bounces.
By doing this, you’ll improve your deliverability, and make more use of the limits you have applied to your mailing list, whether it be 2,000 contacts, 50,000, 100,000 or 200,000+. Mailchimp’s free plan is great for giving you 2,000 contacts, but you need to utilise those 2,000 spaces the best you can, so there are very few, or even better, no invalid emails in your list.
Another important tip to help you improve all of these metrics is to spend more time perfecting your email structure. Prioritise the copy, as well as the design for your email, so that each stage of interaction is fulfilling to your reader. If your metrics aren’t as good as you think they should be, a good start would be to try our free subject line checker.
Getting your open rates, click-through rates and bounce rates the best they can be will improve the success of you email campaigns, for sure. For more info on the metrics available in your Mailchimp dashboard, click here.