Marketing isn’t just about SEO, it’s about combining and tracking all your different channels and getting the most out of them. One channel that is often overlooked, but extremely valuable, is email marketing.
Today, I wanted to quickly go over some techniques that marketers use to get more information about what happens to their emails after they get sent, and help them monitor conversions. If you are reading this, I’ll assume that you have Google Analytics set up.
If you aren’t already using MailChimp for email marketing, you probably should be. It’s so easy, and best of all, it’s free. There are paid plans that give you more control over things like auto-responders, delivery by time-zone, spam filter diagnostics, and more. If you are on a tight budget and just looking to get an email marketing campaign off the ground, then you don’t need to look any further than MailChimp.
So, let’s look at how we can track visitors that come from our MailChimp campaigns.
How about good old Google Analytics campaigns URLs?
Sure, why not. It’s really simple to put together a Google Analytics campaign and track it by creating a URL unique to your campaign.
First, you need to create a campaign URL so you can track the visit through Google Analytics. Campaign URLs look like this:
Look confusing? It’s really not. I’ll break it down.
- http://mysocialauthority.com/ – The URL of the webpage you want the visitor to land on.
- ?utm_source= – This variable allows marketers to track the source of the visit to a specific instance of a campaign. Say you send out monthly email blasts, then perhaps the emailblast0713 source that I used would be appropriate for you.
- &utm_medium= – The medium from which the visitor came across your site. Depending on the campaign type, you can specify the medium here. Use short descriptions like email, banner or cpc.
- &utm_campaign= – The final variable allows you to group campaigns together and track larger campaigns. Remember that email blast you send out monthly? You probably want to group all those together to get overall numbers as well, right? In this case, I used mailchimp because that is what I’m using to send out my marketing emails.
It’s that simple. Now as you’re building your email and adding links to your content, make sure to use your campaign URL.
Still confused about how to build a campaign URL? Never fear, Google has a campaign URL builder for you.
What about setting up a campaign through MailChimp?
OK, so maybe I should have lead with this one. Rather than creating your campaign URLs manually (although that does give you the most control) you can actually create a campaign through MailChimp.
Log into MailChimp, click on Campaigns, click the Create Campaign dropdown and choose Regular Ol’ Campaign.
Once you get to the Setup step, click on the Tracking subsection, and you’ll see a check box on the far right labeled Google Analytics Link Tracking.
By checking this box, and entering a campaign name, MailChimp will automatically generate the campaign URLs for you and insert them into your email automatically. Pretty cool, huh?
With this data from Google Analytics, you can calculate your conversion rate based on how many individuals you blasted your email to.
What about tracking email opens?
MailChimp tracks email opens for you, right on your Campaigns, Lists, and Reports pages.
This is all fine and dandy, but what if you wanted to track this through Google Analytics? That’s not possible…right?
Incorrect! If you use Universal Analytics, you actually can do this with a little bit of a hack.
In short, with a little bit of setup in Google Analytics, we can trick the email client into attempting to load an image, but instead make a GET request and sends our data to our Google Analytics profile. You’ll add some HTML like this to the top of your email:
<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-XXXXXXX-YY&cid=*|UNIQID|*&t=event&ec=email&ea=open&el=*|UNIQID|*&cs=newsletter&cm=email&cn=062413&cm1=1" />
Replace the “UA-XXXXXXX-YY” with your tracking ID from Google Analytics, and make sure you name your campaign variables properly. As long as the individual receiving the email loads the images on your email (some email clients do, some do not), when they open your email their data will be sent to Google Analytics before they even click a link! This is fantastic!
All credit for this goes to Jim Gianoglio and his post about Email Tracking in Google Analytics with MailChimp. Very thorough write-up, please check it out for an in depth look at this method!