Whether you’re part of a large organization or a bootstrapped startup, email marketing is an extremely effective way to grow your business. In fact, email marketing still generates $36 for every dollar spent. 

However, an effective email marketing campaign is useless without proper tracking of metrics and analysis of key performance. No matter what your marketing goal is (enhanced lead gen, reduced customer acquisition cost, improved customer experience, etc.), you can only succeed with predetermined and measurable metrics to aim for. 

That’s where OKRs come in. OKRs, or objectives and key results, are a simple framework designed to allow all members of your organization to track their progress toward a common goal.

In this article, I’ll share all there is to know about email marketing OKRs – from what they are to how to use them to elevate your email marketing performance. I’ll even throw in a few examples for good measure!

Now, let’s get into it. 

What are email marketing OKRs?

The OKR framework is a goal-setting process used by businesses to define and track objectives and their achievable outcomes. OKRs are designed to bring clarity and alignment to an organization by setting clear, measurable goals.

So, email marketing OKRs are basically strategically set measurable goals for your email marketing efforts to achieve within a specific timeframe. Let’s take a look at some examples: 

Example one

Objective: Increase email subscriber engagement

Key result one: Achieve a 20% increase in email open rates by the end of the quarter.

Key result two: Increase click-through rates by 20% for our email campaigns.

Key result three: Reduce unsubscribe rates to less than 1% per campaign.

Example two

Objective: Grow the email subscriber list

Key result one: Add 5000 new subscribers to the email list over the next quarter.

Key result two: Increase the conversion rate of website visitors to email subscribers by 20%.

Key result three: Launch a referral program and get 5% of new subscribers through referrals.

How to set email marketing OKRs 

There is a simple formula to structure email marketing OKRs (it can also be used by other departments): 

[Your objective], as measured by: [your key results]

For example:

Optimize email engagement, as measured by: a 15% increase in email open rates, a 12% increase in click-through rates, and a reduction in the email unsubscribe rate to less than 0.5%.

Remember that objectives should be specific, and they should meet the following criteria: 

  • The objectives should be clear enough for the entire team to understand.
  • They must be actionable and achievable.
  • They should be time-bound so you can assess the progress made. 
  • Your objectives should also serve as a source of inspiration for your team to pursue. 

Key results must be measurable and have a direct cause-and-effect relationship with your objective – in other words achieving your key results should logically lead to the success of your objectives. It’s vital to measure key results at least monthly, if not weekly. That way, if you’re not seeing the progress you’d hoped for, you can adjust your tactics. 

Key email marketing metrics

To measure the success of your email marketing, you need to track the relevant metrics. Here are some essential email marketing metrics to monitor:

  • Email open rate: This indicates how many recipients opened your email. According to Mailchimp, the average email open rate across all industries is 21.33%.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): This measures the effectiveness of an email campaign in terms of how many recipients clicked on one or more links contained within an email. The average CTR for email marketing campaigns is just shy of 3%.  
  • Bounce rate: This is the percentage of emails that are not successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox. A high bounce rate suggests issues with your email list quality or email deliverability. 
  • Conversion rate: This tracks the percentage of email recipients who completed the desired action after opening your email, such as making a purchase or signing up for a webinar. Although the number varies based by industry, the typical conversion rate is 1–5%. 
  • List growth rate: This is the rate at which you grow your subscribers. You should aim for an annual list growth rate of at least 10%.
  • Unsubscribe rate: This is the rate at which subscribers opt out of your email list. Ideally, you’ll want to keep it below 0.5%. 

Step-by-step guide to elevating email marketing success with OKRs and metrics

The key to consistent growth lies in your ability to enhance customer experience (CX) throughout the buyer journey. Here’s how you can leverage OKRs and metrics to enhance customer experience and maximize your chances of success through email marketing. 

Step one: Define clear CX objectives

To build a stellar customer experience, you need to start with a clear objective. To make sure you choose the right one, it’s a good idea to start with a CX assessment. Begin by analyzing your customer feedback and reviews. Then, identify the most critical areas for improvement based on your assessment. Prioritize objectives like faster response times, improved user interfaces, personalization, or streamlined processes.

It’s crucial to ensure your customer experience objectives are linked to broader business outcomes. For example, a cross-selling campaign might align with your organization’s revenue growth goal. 

Step two: Establish key results 

Once you’ve set your objective, it's time to define your key results. Remember: these should be specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example: 

  • Achieving a 20% increase in email open rates before the year’s end.
  • Increasing click-through rates by 5% per quarter.
  • Reducing the email unsubscribe rate to less than 1% within the next six months.

Make sure key results are directly linked to campaign objectives, such as improving email CTR or growing the subscriber list. Continuously track your results and make changes if needed based on the campaign performance.

Step three: Monitor metrics throughout the buyer journey

73% of buyers say customer experience is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. To enhance the experience effectively, you must understand the buyer journey and track key metrics at every stage. 

You can divide key metrics based on the different stages of buyer journey: 

  • Awareness stage: Monitor email open rates to check the effectiveness of your subject lines, and track click-through rates to gauge engagement. Also, keep a close eye on forwarding and sharing rates to assess the relevance of your emails.
  • Consideration stage: If your email directs recipients to a landing page with more information about your product or service, monitoring the time visitors spend on these pages can be insightful. It helps you gauge their level of interest and engagement with the content.
  • Decision stage: This is by far the most crucial stage of the buyer journey. Make sure you analyze conversion rates to assess the impact of your emails on buying decisions. 
  • Post-purchase stage: Measure customer retention rates, gather feedback using customer satisfaction surveys, and promote referrals through email campaigns.

To continuously improve your email marketing efforts, regularly review these metrics, and be prepared to make any necessary adjustments. Don't hesitate to leverage A/B testing, segmentation, and personalization to fine-tune your strategies and ensure a stellar customer experience throughout the journey.


Leveraging email marketing to enhance customer experience throughout the buyer journey isn't just a smart move; it's essential for thriving in today's competitive landscape. By setting clear objectives, defining key results, and consistently tracking metrics, you can attract and convert new customers and retain existing ones.

Always keep in mind that the success of your email marketing campaigns relies heavily on the quality of your subscriber list and your segmentation efforts. Before launching any campaign, ensure that you conduct A/B testing to fine-tune variables for optimal results. This approach allows you to implement highly effective email marketing campaigns, driving steady growth for your organization.

Now, don’t waste another moment; it’s time to unlock your email marketing mastery and conquer your business goals with precision and purpose.