So you’re running these email marketing automation campaigns, but you have no idea if they’re working—or how to even begin to figure that out. You’re busy and have zero interest wasting time with marketing automation if it’s not going to benefit your nonprofit. You need to determine how these campaigns are doing.

If you’re new to email marketing automation, you’ll want to check out a few posts before diving into this one. This post will make so much more sense if you do. Trust me. You want to make sure you’re ready for marketing automation, that you understand how marketing automation works and what to focus on when creating your email campaigns.

All caught up? Awesome.

Marketing automation metrics can answer the “is this even effective?” question. And luckily, most marketing automation software is equipped to deliver this sort of information. All you need to know is what marketing automation metrics to pay attention to and how to interpret them.

Open Rate

This tells you how many of the people you sent your email to actually opened it. Now, we’re all guilty of signing up for email lists and never opening a single email that shows up in our inbox. Definitely keep that in mind. But, your open rate is also a reflection of how effective your email subject line is at enticing people to read on. It’s also a good indication of whether or not the content you’re sending their way is actually aligned with their interests.

Not seeing the results you want? Try switching up your language, spend more time coming up with compelling subject lines, run A/B tests for different versions and see which does better.

Click Rate

Open rates are a good starting point, but if no visitors are actually clicking through to your site, it doesn’t really matter all that much that they’re opening your messages. Your click rate indicates engagement. This number tells you how many people clicked at least one link in your email. This will give you a good idea of how effective your emails are at driving people to your website.

Not seeing the results you want? Reassess the content you’re including. Make sure it’s something that would provide value to the people you’re targeting with this campaign. Take a look at your copy and see what you can change up to make it more compelling. You might consider including stronger, more prominent calls to action in your emails.


It’s always a bummer to see people unsubscribing from your emails, but it’s a fact of life. It’s just something that’s going to happen. Instead of dwelling on it, learn from it. If you notice one email in your automation flow is leading everyone to unsubscribe, you might need to reassess your approach in that email. Or, alternately, you could decide you’re doing pretty well.

Not seeing the results you want? Maybe it’s an indication that you need to rethink some bigger picture items. Are you sending your emails too often and bothering your subscribers? Or maybe you’re not sending them often enough and subscribers are forgetting about you? Is the content you’re providing in line with the expectations your subscribers had when they signed up in the first place?

Your marketing automation metrics are going to help you determine the success of your email marketing automation campaign. It’s important to not only pay attention to them and understand them, but to learn from them as well. They provide valuable insight into what’s working, what’s not and how you can improve.

Actions Taken on Website

Before I delve into this one, it should be noted that how you get this information is going to depend largely on what you’re using to track your site’s analytics and your email service provider.

At the end of the day, website action is what you really care about. You want to know what people are clicking on, what pages they’re spending the most time on and what their journey through your website looks like. Most of all, you want to know if they’re taking meaningful action on your site, like making a donation, signing up to volunteer or supporting your cause in some other way.

Not seeing the results you want? You’ll want to delve into the data for insight as to why. Where are the links in your email sending people? Is the content related? Is the link text in your email relevant to the content it’s taking people to? There’s most likely a disconnect somewhere.

It’s important to monitor your marketing automation metrics. If you’re missing the mark, you need to know. You don’t want to be investing time and money into an email marketing automation campaign that’s not benefiting your nonprofit.

What marketing automation metrics do you focus on with your marketing automation campaigns? How has tracking them allowed you to adjust and improve your campaigns? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.