Make Better Emails by Tracking Clicks

mouse clickHere is secret to creating more effective mass emails over time: track “clicks”. This means learning which types of content inspire your subscribers to “click” on a link in your email. Analyzing exactly how your subscribers interacted with your email will help you make better emails in the future. It is also helpful to find out how they interacted on your website after they clicked a link in your email. You can use a combination of an email marketing system and Google Analytics™ to do this.

You need to “tag” all the links that go from your email to your website. When your subscribers click a link in your email and land on your website, Google Analytics will keep track of what happens after that. It tracks how long they spent on the site, which pages they browsed, and even whether they filled out a form or bought something. Later, you can review these activities in a Google Analytics report.

In the past, this was hard to accomplish.  A small mistake could “break” all your links, and you also had to be sure to change all the links in your emails, including links from images and links within material you brought into your emails. The syntax of the tags was arcane and messy. Happily, things have changed.

If you are serious about growing your business through email marketing, you probably already use an email marketing system such as MailChimp, iContact or Constant Contact. These systems allow you to easily create an email and send it to your list. They also track who clicked each link. But only by adding a special type of tag can you tell which email the site visitor came from.

Here is an example of how this works in Constant Contact. When you are ready to send the email and click “Schedule,” a pop-up window allows you check a box, “Include Google Analytics™” You can then type in your own Google Analytics campaign title, which is what you will see in Google Analytics after the email goes out.

After your email has been sent, you or your webmaster can run Google Analytics reports on your website. It will show how your subscribers interacted with the website. You can also trace which links were clicked and how many subscribers clicked them, but that is information that is made available already by Constant Contact and other email marketing systems. The big advantage of Google Analytics is that it goes further, to track how subscribers interacted with your website once they clicked the link. As noted above, Google Analytics will report on time spent, pages visited, and actions like purchases or forms filled out.

This deeper analysis only happens for interactions within your own website. Clicks on links to sites you do not own will be noted in your email statistics, but your Google Analytics account will not report activities within those sites.

Here is how to get started:

  1. Tell your webmaster to make sure Google Analytics is installed on your website.
  2. In your email marketing system such as Constant Contact, prepare your email as usual.
  3. When your email is ready to send, click “Schedule” and check the box labeled Include Google Analytics.
  4. Enter a descriptive title for your tag, such as FEB2013NEWLETTER or SPECIALSUMMEROFFERS, something that you will later recognize when you perform the analysis, and schedule your email.
  5. Wait several days until your subscribers have had time read your email, then go into Google Analytics to analyze the results.

Use this knowledge to make your newsletters better and improve your website. For example, if you find that only 15% of the subscribers who come to a landing page actually accept the offer on the page, you need to improve the offer or the page next time. If linking to celebrity gossip on your blog results in an average time on site of 4 minutes and 3.4 page visits, keep doing that! Tracking clicks does not cost any extra, and it is a great way to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing.

About Lee

Lee is a computer expert and writer with a background in technical writing, Internet marketing, blogging and website design.

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