We all know tracking and metrics are important. Metrics need to guide decision-making, so we are doing our jobs based on facts instead of opinions. For example “nobody reads my emails” is an opinion, but “25% of employees open my email and take action on it” is a fact. But the big question is, now that this data is available, how can we make it actionable?

Download our guide to measuring internal email here.

I speak to several of our Internal Communications customers and potential customers each day, and am often asked about best practices for our email tracking service. Almost everyone I speak to already understands the importance of tracking metrics for their employee communications, after all, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, but they aren’t completely sure about how they can use this information to improve how engaged employees are with the content they are receiving.

Here is the 3 step process that I’ve compiled from feedback from our customers on how to best utilize email tracking metrics:

1. Establish a Baseline

In order to measure improvement, you need to have an understanding of where you are now. How do you know what “good” looks like if you don’t know where you started? Think of it like doctors taking baseline blood work for new patients. It’s more difficult to diagnose anything concerning if they don’t know where the patient started; however, once they have baseline blood work in place to compare against, they can easily recognize any changes and track improvement or diagnose potential issues.

2. Time to Test

Once you have a baseline in place, it’s time to test. Just like your science experiments in grade school, be sure to only change one variable at a time. So, you always send your weekly newsletter Friday at 3:00pm. What changes if you send it at 10:00am? What changes if you send it on Wednesday instead?

Changing subject lines can also have a profound impact. Just like anyone else, your employees want to know WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). What is in your email that will benefit them to know? Instead of “Newsletter - Week of May 12”, try highlighting part of your content or using a statement that directly impacts your audience.

Does using more exclamation marks and having caps lock on actually help (READ THIS NOW!!!)? Only one way to find out...

Some other variables you can start testing are: type of content, content layout, sender, audience, length, design - endless, really. You can learn more about how to use link clicks for measuring these variables here.

3. Implement Changes Based on Your Data

This may seem obvious, but this is a step that can often be missed and it’s the most important. A lot of the information you collect may be good to know, even just from a curiosity standpoint, but the key is to track your data effectively and to make it actionable. It’s much easier to have a conversation based on the facts that you’ve collected, and it will be a powerful tool for you to be able to make your case for changes that you would like to implement. Being able to say “changing the day we send the newsletter from Friday to Wednesday will improve our readership by 10%” is significantly more powerful than “everyone leaves early on Friday so I think we should change the newsletter to Wednesday”.

Utilizing email metrics gives you quantifiable results for your email communications to employees. When you use these results to inform your decision-making, you can drastically improve your communications and report on improvements based on facts instead of opinions.