Email Marketing Metrics – Round Three: Email Lists and Growth Rates


They say third time is a charm… so here we are again with round three of the epic that is ‘Email Marketing Metrics’. If you aren’t an expert by now, then you never will be. Unless you didn’t read the other articles. In which case, please find them here and here.

This month, we’re taking at look at email lists and growth rates. Enjoy.

1. Be a grower

Although a huge email marketing list is a sign that you’re doing something right in regards to getting your information out there, we don’t advise that you rely on this. It’s fair more effective to have a list that continues to grow, rather than simply targeting the same people and audiences every time.

How do you calculate your list growth? Simply subtract the amount of ‘opt outs’ (we’ll move on to this in a moment) and bounces from the number of subscribers you have acquired per month, then divide that number by the size of your original list.

So: (Subscriber amount that month – (opt outs + bounces)) ÷ size of original list = list growth rate

Keeping your email lists fresh and updated is the most effective way of ensuring that you don’t allow them to grow stale and old. This is just a natural process, like aging. People may change their email addresses or forget passwords. Don’t let it hurt your feelings; just target them again.

2. Unsubscribe rate or ‘opt outs’

Your unsubscribe rate is an indication of how relevant and appropriate your email content is to your audience. So simply put, if people are opting out of your emails on a regular basis, then you’re either annoying them or you’re targeting the completely wrong audience.

However, we would stress that simply measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns by how many people DON’T opt out isn’t the most reliable option, as our next point will explain…

3. It must have been love…

… but it’s inactive now. If you want to ensure you don’t annoy potential customers or ruin your brand and email reputation, then make sure you measure your inactive user rate. This also reinforces our point above; some people just don’t bother opting out or unsubscribing, so you must be aware of how many users are simply ignoring you. And then find out why.

4. Bounce back and overcome adversity

It’s as simple as this: the higher your bounce rates, the more likely it is that you’re not including relevant content in your emails; your calls to action aren’t working; or you’re not targeting the right people. You can, of course, overcome this (or ‘bounce back’, so to speak) ensuring that you use your bounce rates as an email marketing metric.

We hope this post has allowed you to grow (geddit?!) your email marketing knowledge. If you wish to expand your email lists however, get in touch with us today to see if we can offer advice on a particular industry.


Did you like this post? Then check out how to make the most of thank you emails!

About the Author

  • John Keating

    Founder and Managing Director of Databroker, John Keating lives and breathes the world of marketing lists and data. Based in Cheshire, John helps businesses win more customers and get better sales results through data and direct marketing expertise. With coffee running through his veins, he enthusiastically battles each day, boosting one direct marketing campaign at a time and driving Databroker onwards. Hates: Buzzwords and waffle, the words “passionate”, “solutions”, “synergy” and website pictures of limes, seedlings or the blonde with the headset on; she doesn’t work there. Loves: All things data but more importantly his dog, Manchester United, the stars, Thailand and his wife (NB: there is no order to that list…) You can connect with John on LinkedIn or Google+


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