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How Effective is Your Email? How Can You Tell?

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Is your email getting to your list members? If so, how many of them are opening your message? If the email isn't getting through, how many of your messages are "undeliverable" because of a bad email address? And how do you find out what these numbers are?

In order to test the effectiveness of an email campaign, you need to use html email. Although I have fought against it for several years, I consented to use it this one time in order to do the necessary tracking.

First, you need to prepare the email. I use the system, so I created the html email in my web creation program and pasted it into the broadcast window. Then I pressed the send button.

I sent a similiar announcement to each of my major lists. And the numbers started pouring in...

Emails sent: this is the total active on the list

Undeliverable: these email addresses bounced or had not completed the newly implemented AOL double opt-in process

Now I had a percentage of the total emails that were undeliverable. My numbers range in the 4-8% range, but I know a lot of Internet marketers who are fighting 25-30% of their lists who are undelivered. Undeliverables is the first figure you want to check.

Next the numbers started returning on the number of people who opened the email. You see, when you open an html email, the sender is able to track it. That's one of the reasons some people (me!) have fought against html email. Plus, it puts a drain on the system resources all along the line as the email is sent, then the opened message counts are returned.

As I tracked the open rate over the next 24 hours it was interesting.

Within 6 hours, 11% had opened the email.
Within 12 hours, 12% had opened the email.
Within 24 hours, 14% had opened the email.

As a final tracking mechanism, I provided a tracking link within the body of the email. If someone wanted to pick up the gift I offered, they clicked on the link.

Within 6 hours, 32% of the people who had opened the email had clicked on the link.

Within 12 hours, it was up to 36% and that's where it's stayed.

So what can you learn from this lesson?

1. Not everyone on your list is getting your email. A growing number of them are not, as you've been reading in the Internet marketing literature.

2. Not everyone who receives your email opens it. Well, at least they don't open mine right away (grinning). Instead, some wait a day or two - or maybe a week or two. Or they just file it. Or (shudder!) delete it. And remember, when you send out html instead of plain text there are some people who simply cannot open it.

3. Not everyone who opens your email takes action - even if the action involves a complimentary copy of a $20 book.

4. You don't know anything for certain until you track it.

5. You must continue to track results over a period of time in order to see trends and what's working

So stop fooling yourself and get the facts. You'll be amazed, but you'll be informed. And you'll understand your online success rate much better.

For details on how I tracked these results, send an email to

Dr. Jeanette Cates is an Internet strategist who works with experts who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into Gold. Her reputation as a speaker and trainer has earned her the title of The Technology Tamer. Jeanette shares her news and views in

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