Pretty much every email platform will give you information about email performance - and you can use this to learn what is working (and what isn’t!) for your email list.
Here are a few key metrics to check:
Open rates are king. Simply put, this is a measure of how many people have actually read at least some of your email.
If someone doesn’t open your email, then nothing else really matters. In Lib Dem circles, an open rate of 30-40% is considered good, 40%+ is excellent and below 30% would normally be considered quite poor.
An email’s open rate is strongly affected by the email subject line. For more on subject lines, have a look at the step on writing your email.
If people are consistently not opening emails, consider sending them less or taking them off your list entirely.
Click rates are a measure of how many times links were clicked in the emails you’ve sent. This is a great way to measure how effective your email content is.
Click rates will vary massively depending on what you’re asking someone to do - a fundraising email might get between 0.5% and 2% click rates and be considered a success - but a survey email might get 10% and be a flop.
Track your open rates by what you’re asking someone to do and use this to compare fundraising emails to other fundraising emails, and survey emails to other surveys.
Unsubscribe rates are a measure of how many people no longer wanted to get your emails after being sent one.
It’s rare to have an email where nobody unsubscribes, especially with a large email list - and you shouldn’t worry too much about a small number of unsubscribes. 0.1% to 0.2% is normal. Anything over 0.4% is high and anything over 1% should be concerning - unless this is the first time you’re emailing people.