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EmailData and ROI4 min read Your questions answered: What metrics should I use to track the success of my healthcare e-newsletter?

To make sure your e-newsletter is a success, you'll need to track how people respond to it. Here are 5 metrics to watch.

November 13, 2017Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor

A healthcare e-newsletter is an active form of healthcare marketing. Instead of waiting for your fans to find your content, an e-newsletter lets you reach out to them with email messages that contain the right content at the right time. A tool like this could be incredibly useful as you look for ways to connect with your community.

As with any healthcare marketing campaign, you'll want to track your impact so you can build on your successes and identify areas where you could improve.

Here's the good news: There's a lot you can track with e-newsletters. Here are some of the data points we find most helpful.

5 healthcare e-newsletter metrics to track

1. Click-through rate (CTR)

What it shows: How often people click on something in your healthcare email.

Measuring how often people click, and what they click on, can help you understand where you've been successful at engaging your subscribers and where you need to fine-tune.

A CTR can be influenced by all kinds of things, so your numbers may not be the same as the numbers your competitors see. Your numbers may not even be the same from issue to issue. But if you're looking for benchmarking data as you start out, this may help. According to Silverpop, the average CTR for hospital and healthcare emails was 3.5 percent in 2016. The top performing emails had a CTR of 10.2 percent.

How to boost it: Headlines, teasers and the call-to-action invitations in links and buttons can all influence your CTR. Pay extra attention to both the text you use for these elements and the way they're presented in the design. Do links look like links? Are buttons clearly clickable?

2. Unsubscribe rate

What it shows: People who took the time to tell you that they didn't want your newsletter anymore. But not everyone who loses interest in your e-newsletter will unsubscribe. Some will just pop your email messages into the trash. So it's important to look at unsubscribe rates alongside other measurements, like CTRs, in order to get a complete picture of your performance.

How to boost it: The best way to keep people from unsubscribing is to send them valuable content. Keep track of what your readers click on, and look for ways to produce more content just like that. It's also helpful to set clear expectations when people sign up. Let them know what kinds of content they'll receive and how often you'll be getting in touch. Then, stick to that plan.

3. Opt-in rate

What it shows: How many people subscribe to your e-newsletter. This number, paired with your unsubscribe rate, gives you a big-picture look at how well you're promoting your e-newsletter and how valuable it is to your community.

How to (not) boost it: One of the best ways to grow your subscriber list is to do a great job of promoting the e-newsletter. Your website is a great place to start. If you offer a diabetes education e-newsletter, for example, promote it on your diabetes service page and on any diabetes events pages.

To really build your subscriber list, go beyond your website. For example, look for ways to promote relevant e-newsletters when people come in for an appointment or attend a class. You could place an email invitation in your registration forms, or create opt-in forms for staff to hand out that contain a short URL or a QR code.

4. After-click activity

What it shows: What people do after they get to your website from an e-newsletter. It's going to take a little extra up-front work to get this information, but the time spent can be well worth it. Knowing whether people who visit your website from an e-newsletter are taking a meaningful action—like signing up for a class or making an appointment—can help you show the real return you're getting from your efforts.

How to track it: Create a custom campaign in Google Analytics to help you track how many people come to your site from your e-newsletter and what they do after they arrive. Setting goals for what you want people to do when they reach the site makes these reports even more valuable.

Google has instructions on how to set up a custom campaign. If you need help, let us know. Coffey has Google Analytics-certified team members who would be happy to lend a hand.

5. Open rate

What it shows: How many people looked at your email. Open rates are a popular metric, but they're also potentially misleading. One reason: Open-rate reporting relies on images. Subscribers who have turned off images in their email settings won't count toward your open rate, even if they did read your message.

That doesn't mean open rate has no value. But you should evaluate it alongside other metrics we're mentioning here.

How to boost it: Make sure your subject line is compelling. Then, pay attention to the text in your "from" field. An email from "NoReply@anytown.com" might seem less trustworthy than an email that comes from "Martha@anytown.com."

Putting it all together

All this data can be extremely valuable. But to make the most of it, you'll need a team to evaluate the reports for each email you send and to put the findings to use. If your in-house team is strapped for time or you could use a little outside expertise, contact us. Coffey has a team of experts who can help with every kind of question, from HIPAA concerns and spam issues to creating a great e-newsletter content strategy.

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