Outbound Email is Just One Side of the Coin: What You Need to Track Next

Blog Contributor

Email outreach is a powerful B2B sales tactic, with over half of B2B marketers saying that email is the best-performing channel for bringing in new revenue.


No matter the industry you’re in, your ideal customers are regularly checking their inbox — if you can send an email that catches their attention, you’ve got a great shot at starting a conversation.


But, sending your email is just the first step. Next, it’s time to start tracking how well your campaigns are performing and finding ways to optimize them. Here’s how.

Metrics to Track in Your Outbound Campaigns

1. Open Rate
Open rate is a simple measure of how many people open your emails. All good email marketing tools — such as Constant Contact — let you measure this.

The average open rate across all industries is 17.3%. If you’re seeing higher or lower open rates than that, don’t worry. The average will change based on your industry, by campaign, and based on variables like your subject line.


To improve your email open rates, segment your email list to increase the relevance of your emails to your audience, and test different subject lines to see what your audience resonates with.

2. Click-Through Rate
Once someone has opened your email, you want them to take action. For most email marketers, the next step will be for your recipient to click a link or button in your email. To measure how many people are taking the desired action, measure your Click-Through Rate (CTR).


The average email CTR across all industries is 10.65%. Depending on the contents of your email, you’ll see this number vary. For example, a triggered email sent after someone signs up asking them to activate their account will see higher clicks than an email with a link to your latest blog post.

3. Reply Rate
In your outbound sales emails, you’ll also want to measure your reply rate. After all, if you’re trying to engage with decision-makers, the best way to do that is with a conversation, rather than asking them to click a link.


A reply rate of 10-20% is a good target to aim for. To increase your reply rate, make sure you’re only sending emails to people you know will be interested in what you have to say, and use open-ended call-to-actions.

4. Your Time to First Reply
An often-forgotten metric that sales teams ignore is your first time to reply to a sales lead. First Time to Reply can only be measured after your lead has already replied to one of your emails, or sent an inbound inquiry. Despite that, it’s still a key metric for sales teams to track.


Of course, you can’t just tell your team to ‘respond to all leads quickly’ and expect any meaningful results. That’s what they’re already trying to do. Instead, use a tool like timetoreply. After connecting it with your team’s inboxes, you’ll see data telling you your average reply times, time to first reply, and more — across individual and team accounts.


From there, you can set benchmarks and goals for your team. One goal every sales team should implement is to bring your average time to first reply down to an hour or less. Research has shown that if you respond to a lead in under an hour, you’re 7x as likely to qualify them and have a conversation with a decision-maker than if you wait more than one hour.

How to Improve Your Outbound Email Effectiveness

1. Audit Your Existing Campaigns
Firstly, audit your existing outbound campaigns. Are you seeing the open rates, click-through rates, and reply rates that you’re hoping for?


Once you know how you’re performing, you can find ways to improve it. For example, if your campaigns are seeing high open rates but low click-through or reply rates, chances are, it’s your call-to-action that needs work.

2. Set New Goals and KPIs
Once you know how your campaigns are performing, it’s time to set new goals.


The first simple way to set goals is to look at your industry’s average email marketing metrics. For example, if you’re doing marketing for a hotel chain, you might be disheartened if your campaigns see an open rate of 15%. But, in reality, the average open rate for hotels sending emails is only 18.35% — which means you’re only a few changes away from hitting the average and going beyond it.


Make sure to set targets for everything you care about in your campaigns:

  • Increase average email open rate by 5% over Q2
  • Increase click-through rate in email campaigns by 3% over Q3
  • Bring down your team’s average time to reply to leads to 60 minutes or less

Make each goal specific so your team knows what to work towards.

3. Measure Your Metrics on an Ongoing Basis
Once your goals are set, you need to assess your performance.


In Constant Contact, you’ll see detailed analytics into data on who’s opening and clicking your emails, making it easy to track your performance and understand if it’s trending upwards. If you’re aiming to reduce your team’s time to reply, you can regularly review your performance in timetoreply’s actionable dashboards to see how long it takes you to reply to leads.


Remember, the key to setting goals that you can hit is to agree on them upfront with your team. They’ll be able to provide feedback into whether or not the goals are realistic and you’ll be aligned on what to expect.

In summary
Sending great emails is just the first step in your outbound email strategy. To ensure your campaigns are performing as expected, you need to track your key metrics on an ongoing basis.


Once you know how you’re performing, you can set realistic goals and targets for the future.


Over time, you’ll be able to iterate on the content of your emails, and measure the effect your changes have on your key metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and reply rate.


Constant Contact and timetoreply have partnered together to share content that benefits Constant Contact users with their online marketing.


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