You've successfully mastered email marketing metrics one and two - deliverability and open rate. The next step, of course, is to get users and subscribers to click-through from your email template to your landing page or website. You may be serving impression-based ads within your email, in which case any view of the email with images turned on will result in revenue for you. However, chances are that for you to make revenue you'll need to get users to click-through from your email to your transactional or revenue generating webpage. In this section, we'll summarize how to view and improve click through rates

Click Through Rates Defined

Click through rates is the percentage representation of the number of clicks that your email generated. However, click-through percentage may be calculated in one of two ways.

Individual Click Through Rates: In this form of the click-through percentage, the percentage is displayed as the total number of users who clicked-through your email. So, if you sent an email to one hundred individuals and fifty of them opened it, then your open rate was fifty percent. Then, if ten of those fifty individuals clicked through your email, your click through rates was twenty percent (ie: ten is twenty percent of fifty).

Holistic Click Through Rates: Holistic click through rates takes into account all of the clicks from an email to a destination page even if those clicks were made by the same individual. For example, if you sent an email to a hundred recipients and fifty of those recipients opened the email, then your open rate would be fifty percent. If ten individuals then clicked-through the email but among those ten individuals they each clicked an average of 2.5 links for a total of twenty-five clicks, then your click through rates is fifty percent (ie: twenty-five is fifty percent of fifty).

Neither format is necessarily better or worse. Holistic click through rates typically means that your email marketing platform can also identify which specific links were clicked, which is an asset in gaining email performance intelligence. However, the information from either format is useful. Just be sure that you know which format your email marketing platform uses. If you are building your own in-house email marketing platform, be sure to think through which format you'd prefer to use.

Desirable Click Through Rates Numbers

Once again, nailing down what a desirable click through rates number for your email product should be can be dependent on a number of factors. Which method of click through tracking are you using? How many links are you putting into your emails? How engaged is your user list to begin with?

If you are using an individual click through metric, you'd like to see your click through rates numbers generally be larger than ten percent. Again, however, many variables can come into play here.

If you are using a holistic click through tracking metric, you'd like to see your numbers in the thirty-percent range and certainly no less than twenty percent.

Not unlike open rates numbers, though, your best bet with evaluating your click through rates metrics is to use them comparatively over time to determine which emails do and don't generate good click-through numbers and then improve your click-through performance over time.

What Your Click Through Rates Say about Your Email Campaign

If your click through rates aren't as high as you want them to be, that can indicate a number of issues with your campaign, including:

Not Enough Links: The culprit may be as simple as not having provided users with enough links to click! While you don't want to fill your email up with so many links that you end up in the spam or junk folder, you also want to make sure that there are an ample amount of opportunities to move traffic from your email template to your website. It's possible that you have designed an email template that simply does not have enough links in it.

Invisible Links in Images: It's also possible that your users can't see your links because you've used only graphic buttons as links. Remember, many email service providers and individuals do not load images in email templates. If all of your links are "trapped" in an image, your users may simply not know where to click - and they're not going to hunt around looking for it!

Poorly Formatted Links: Similar to having links "trapped" in images, you may have formatted the links in your email in a way that is not apparent to users. While your links in email may be in line with your web style guide, if they aren't underlined and made to look like links, users may not recognize them as links and click them.

Poor Calls-to-Action: If your call-to-action does not entice or excite users, your click through rates will suffer. We dedicated an entire chapter in section five of this book to best practices for writing a compelling email call-to-action. If you need a refresher course, we suggest re-reading that section!

Non-Compelling Content or Offers: It's possible that the content or offers that you're promoting simply aren't compelling to your users. If you've exhausted improving all of your formatting, text, and content for click-through solicitations, it's time to consider that you may just not be offering your subscribers what they really want.

Poor List Quality: Finally, as with most email metrics, it may simply be a case of list quality. If your list was purchased or rented or is out-of-date internally, your subscribers or recipients simply may not care enough about your content, products, or offers to click-through. If all else has failed, it's time to consider how good (or not) your email lead list is.

Poor click through rates will generally be one of two issues. Your email template may be formatted in a way that doesn't encourage clicks or your content and offers aren't compelling (or aren't presented as compelling in the call-to-action).

What Can You Do to Improve Your Click Through Rates?

Poor click-through metrics can be more difficult to pinpoint and improve than open rate or deliverability problems. However, there are some steps that you can take to try to drive your click through rates numbers upward.

Audit Your Email Template for Click-Through Best Practices:In section five of this ebook, we devoted an entire chapter to the best practices for optimizing click-through activity. Compare the best practices listed in that chapter to your existing email template and make any changes needed to realign your email template with its click-through goals and the best design techniques to accomplish those.

Review Call-to-Action: Likewise, we also devoted an entire section in section five of this ebook to best practices for writing effective call-to-action. Review your existing call-to-action text with the best practices suggested in that section and alter them if necessary.

Test Different Offers and Content: You should always be testing different content and offers, but if you've been experiencing a low click through rates, then it's even more important to get outside of the box. Come up with content and offers that are extremely different from what you typically promote and then test those. Monitor what creates an improvement in click-through activity and then create more offers and content like that in the future.

Evaluate Your List: Finally, evaluate the quality of your list. Your click through rates may have absolutely nothing to do with formatting, calls-to-action, or offers. It may simply be that you have put together a list of email addresses of individuals who are not that interested in or engaged with your product or brand. If that is the case, then you'll need to determine for yourself what the best course of action is. You can continue to email those individuals despite poor metrics. You can shift the focus of your email campaign to something more relatable to those individuals. You can re-allocate your time and effort to building a higher quality list. Ultimately, the solution is in your hands.

Click through rates can be one of the more challenging metrics to accomplish an improvement in, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done. Practice diligence and patience and be willing to think outside of the box and you'll be able to see improvements in your click-through metrics and performance.

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