4 KPIs for Measuring Email List Growth


Email list growth is the foundation of email marketing program. Unless you keep care in protecting and growing that list you will end up non functional email marketing program. Recently, I wrote a post on 23 Metrics for Email Marketing Metrics that you should know about, in this post I am taking 3 metrics from that list and adding one more to call out the 4 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the email list growth.  Here are the four KPIs:
  1. Email Complaint Rate/Spam Complaint Rate – SPAM complaints can kill your marketing program. This KPIs allows you to see if SPAM complains are becoming an issues, you goal should be to minimize this KPI. Spam complaint rate is measures as the percentage of your email recipients who marked your emails as Spam. Looking at this number campaign by campaign and then aggregated over month will show you if you are annoying your subscribers to a point where they consider your email as spam. This number is readily available in most of the ESP.
  2. Subscribe Rate – This KPI measure the effectiveness of your marketing/content in driving new email subscribers.  Your goal should be to increase this KPI. Subscribe rate is expressed as a percentage and is calculated as New Subscribers divided by visitors who are not already in your list. Most of the Web Analytics tools will provide you this number by tracking the completion of emails subscription page as a goal/conversion. These tools use the total goal conversions divided by total visitors on the site during the specified period to calculate the conversion rate (Subscribe Rate). The default conversion rate calculation by web analytics tool will also count anybody who has already subscribed to your list thus inflating the denominator. In most cases the default calculation will suffice but if you do want to get accurate numbers then you will have to setup your web analytics tool to not count people who are already subscribed.
  3. Unsubscribe Rate – Is the percentage of your emails recipients (subscribers) who chose to unsubscribe from your future mailings. Unsubscribe Rate is calculated as number of unsubscribes divided by email delivered and is expressed as a percentage. It measures the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy and the quality/relevance of your email marketing. If this number continues to rise, you have a problem that should be immediately fixed. The fixes range from adjusting the email frequency to increasing the relevance of the message.
  4. List Growth Rate – This is ultimately the one metric that everything else boils down to. If you have to only show one metric on your dashboard or optimize for one metrics then use this one as it is calculated using the other three that I have listed above.  This KPI measures how fast your email list is growing, it is the net results of new subscribers minus the unsubscribes (including hard bounces) and email/spam complaints. It is calculated as, Growth (new subscribers ) – Loss(unsubscribes + email complaints) divided by total list size of your email list. Your email marketing program depends on List Growth so watch this number closely and take actions to actively grow your email list.
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Here are few more email marketing posts that you will like:
  1. 23 Email Marketing Metrics That You Should Know
    This post lists all the email marketing metrics that you will ever need.
  2. One costly email mistake that you can easily fix
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  5. Are You Depleting Your Email List?
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    This post talks about 15 things you can test today.
  7. Targeting Cart Abandonment by Email
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  10. 7 Ways to Create Relevancy in Emails
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  11. Relevancy Matters in Email Marketing
    This post shows an example of an email that missed the opportunity to convert.

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