Monthly Archives: October 2019


Forming A Board and Running Effective Board Meetings

As a seed stage company, running a board meeting can be strange, new territory. Holding effective board meetings are critical for early-stage startups to make sound decisions, provide detailed updates to stakeholders, and re-evaluate the current plan of action to continue to scale quickly.

Recently, we invited Julia Taxin of Grotech Ventures to share tips with Embarc Collective members on how to run an effective board meeting. In this recap, we cover Julia's top recommendations on how to form a board and how to run effective board meetings.

Forming The Board

Don't form a board with outside members until your startup takes on financial investment.

Prior to taking on investment, the founders are responsible for company decisions. Taxin recommends holding off on formalizing a board of directors with outside members until after an initial investment is made into the company. What Taxin recommends for companies just getting off the ground is assembling an advisory board before funding. Find value-add people in your network, investors included, who want to be helpful along the way and that aren't tied to being involved in an official board.

Get to know investors at least 6 months before bringing them on.

Adding investors to your cap table and involving them as a board member is a long term commitment and relationship. Find the people that are really going to give you their time and will invest in you and your startup's success. A new board member should be someone who can add value to your company, not just monetary value but strategic  — this is really important.

Be upfront about your time expectations of board members.

Layout how frequently you want to hold board meetings and the amount of individual time from each member. Level setting early on is very important for expectations on both ends. That's why the trial period of getting to know who they are and how they will be helpful to your board is important. Access to potential customer introductions, recruiting help, strategic advice and governance are all things you should expect from your board members. They may have industry expertise to help you with specific problems of your business. Make it clear that this support is what you want from your board members. Time commitment will vary from week to week, quarter to quarter depending on what is going on with the company. Taxin believes the best board-company relationships are those where there is a constant flow of communication. Board members should be available without much notice to jump on a call if there is something going on with the company. If you are not getting enough out of your board members, sit down and have an honest conversations about expectations going forward. 

Until you form a board, practice as if you have one.

Train by holding board meetings with your team. Review KPIs and financials, send out quarterly summaries, and hold regular meetings with your team as if they were your board. As you meet prospective investors or board members, ask if they would like to be added to your investor list and add them to the distribution for your company summaries. Taxin typically receives 20 updates per quarter for companies she’s keeping up with. Most were formatted in the following structure:

  • this is what we did this quarter
  • this is what we're doing next quarter
  • these were our challenges
  • Any asks you have of the recipients

Taxin suggests sending prospective investors an abbreviated version of your quarterly update without reporting detailed financials. Instead of stating numbers, show growth on a percentage basis. Same goes for the forecast for the following quarter. Expect anything that you send out to be saved and referred to later. For people that may invest, keep it salesy. For those who are on the cap table, include more details. 

Leverage board observers strategically to fill gaps on your team.

Taxin says she’s seen companies optimize board observers and others not take advantage of the resource. While she believes the more the merrier in the board room, you should be mindful of what that observer can actually contribute to the meeting. Observers typically don’t weigh in all the time but it’s important to create a culture where everyone’s opinion in the board room matters. Startup founders can also leverage board observers as confidants as they don’t have the same restraints that traditional board member roles hold. Build strong relationships with board observers that are willing to listen and provide insight. She also advises that startup founders really zero in on a potential board observer's motive for being in the room before bringing them on as they have the potential to hold a traditional board member role later down the line if it aligns with the startup.


Running Board Meetings

Give The Board Visibility to Members of Your Team

Taxin advises startups make sure board members have access to key management members. The first few board meetings after a new board member is added should include your top management team, not just the CEO. In future meetings, you can invite functional heads to give updates to the board on their specific functional area. Taxin believes specific functional updates should be lead by whoever is closest to it and in turn provides visibility to board members of the key management team members. It's important for your team, especially in the early stages, to know who they're working with. It’s equally as important for your board to get to know your team.

When holding meetings that invite in other team members, you can dedicate one portion of the board meeting to include them and then in the second half of the meeting, keep it exclusive to board members and the CEO to discuss strategic topics which may not be appropriate for the full team to hear.

Call On Your Team to Complete Board Updates

Ahead of the board meeting, you'll want to prepare updates on company performance. Leverage key team leaders to help pull together the necessary data. Most startups create a powerpoint deck to share updates. The amount of update slides vary widely from company to company and from meeting to meeting, typically there are 20-25 slides with appendix at the end for more details. 

Send Your Board Deck Slides Ahead of the Board Meeting

The most effective board meetings happen when the board has time to review the material ahead of the meeting. Taxin suggests giving board members at least 2 days to review the material. If any of your board members need to travel to get to you, be mindful of that as well and try to send out ahead of their travel schedule. Taxin also says a pro tip is to have a template you can edit each meeting. Documents should be added to a central place like Google Drive, Box, Dropbox or other cloud storage platforms to share with board members.


Send Follow Ups and Continue Updates After Board Meetings

CEOs should follow-up in email after the board meetings. Outlining next steps discussed in the meetings as well as any other follow up items to individual board members.

Have Counsel Attend Your Meetings

Taxin says it's valuable to have legal counsel at your meetings. It's oftentimes not expensive to have them there and they can help keep minutes. They are also valuable to have around for legal perspective. Board meetings do need to be formally recorded. Be sure to keep high level minutes, bullet points to focus on key moments, decisions and what the board members approved is sufficient. If you don't have counsel, the CFO or another top management member can do it. Taxin recommends Carta get quick approvals, minutes can be recorded via word documents and sent around before the next meeting for approval.

Engage with Your Board Members Like You Would Your Team

Taxin says board dinners are great for building relationships with your board. Typically they are done the night before the board meeting. They don't have to be expensive but it should be a sit-down experience to get everyone to connect beforehand. These dinners should be focused on relationship building, save the business talk for the board meeting the following day. 


Follow Julia Taxin on Twitter and LinkedIn
To learn more about Grotech Ventures visit:



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Featured Founder: Hannibal Baldwin of SiteZeus

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Hannibal Baldwin, Co-Founder & CEO of SiteZeus, a user-driven location intelligence platform that leverages AI & machine learning to solve for market optimization.


What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

Growing Yogurtology™, a self-serve retail based yogurt concept. We built our 4th store in Citrus Park and it lost money every month. We realized we never wanted to make that mistake again so we started building a predictive model in excel using demographics from ESRI and basic regression to forecast sales at new prospective locations. Using it, we selected two of our best performing locations and didn’t build anymore underperforming sites.


What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

We answer this question at a fundamental level:

Is your brand or business in the right location?

Inside of that question we answer multiple dimensions of it through these questions and solutions.

  1. Who is your customer base at this location?
  2. Will this location impact another location?
  3. Can I optimize aspects of this location?
  4. How many locations can I build in the US? Where do I place them?

SiteZeus enables brick and mortar brands open in the right locations, moreover, ensuring they do not build and open poor performing locations as this is every retail brand’s Achilles heel. One poor store will wipe out the profits of 4-5 good performing stores. It is the number one most critical decision strategy a brand develops. Unfortunately, there are too many emotionally driven strategies which don't incorporate any form of science. That’s where SiteZeus comes in. I personally get excited about building innovative, powerful and beautiful software (all three or none!). I am a product guy through and through. I am heavily invested in the design, data science and raw capabilities of our technology. We strive to launch game changing solutions for our clients, solving century old problems with new mind blowing approaches both in hardware and software (math included). That’s why I get up everyday outside of my lovely wife Emily and incredibly fun 2 year old son Maverick!


Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

We didn’t know anything about building software or technology. We just start doing it. We made a LOT of mistakes. We overcame them by making them fast, learning and improving on them. We did it through obsession and brute force effort, as well as a lot of luck.

Advice: Surround yourself with the right people that are smarter than you for that particular job. It can be hard at times when you are naive to a process and industry, however take advantage of that naivety as it will allow you to innovate beyond what you would have if you were already rooted in the industry completely.


Where do you see your company headed next?

Working with more and more national and international brands like Subway, Burger King and many others that we cannot disclose at this time. We are continuing to provide more intelligence around, not only selecting the right locations, but also marketing, operating and pricing the products of those locations. All of the necessary data is correlated and connected so I think it’s only the natural evolution for us. It will allow us to expand our core offering and become a more critical backbone technology/strategy stack for brick and mortar brands. I think of this as the full SiteCycle™ of the brick and mortar world. At the end of the day it revolves around placing and operating sites as it relates to their “customer” at macro and micro levels.


Give us a tactical piece of advice that you’d share with another founder just starting out.

Stop overthinking it and make decisions fast. Flip a coin if you have to as long as you do something. The answer will reveal itself soon thereafter regardless of whether you were right or wrong. Correcting a wrong decision early on is relatively painless. At this stage it's not about getting it right initially, it's about rapid progress through rapid failure and adjustment.


Learn more about SiteZeus on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn



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Featured Founder: Alex Brodsky of Iteright

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Alex Brodsky, Co-Founder of Iteright, a SaaS tool that helps product teams beat these odds through idea structuring and validation exercises.


What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

I began my career in technology 10 years ago as a Software Developer for companies including Procter & Gamble, Redbox & Toyota. I became obsessed with the fact that most of the projects I worked on were considered failures by the business and began to learn more about the factors that went into driving projects from ideation into delivery. This passion has led me to my most recent roles in Technology Product Leadership where I am responsible for creating the vision, strategy and delivery plan for new products. Over the years, I have learned from the best how to consistently build software products that customers love. Iteright was created to scale these methods beyond my teams (and Silicon Valley), so that any product team can create products that win.


What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

In the technology industry, over 90% of projects fail! Time, money and people are being wasted every day and we've created something that can help others beat these odds. We see a huge opportunity to help startups succeed right out of the gate, to help large technology companies continue to innovate beyond their first successful product and to help historically non-technology companies dive into the world of digital products successfully. I jump out of bed every day excited to teach another founder how to make their company better than it is today through the product discovery methods we've created.


Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

Knowing how to build a product is one thing... but there is so much more to a successful business than just the product. The hardest part at first was to determine all of the tasks that need to be done and prioritizing what is important. The hardest part today is accepting that I will never get to the end of my list! A successful day is one where I can knock 3 things off of the list and add 5 more to-do items for the future. You have to keep moving forward one step at a time and celebrate the wins along the way.


Where do you see your company headed next?

Houston, we have (validated) a problem - and now it's time for us to launch! Our next 3 months will involve working with 5 business owners to help them build better products for their organization, while gathering important feedback to improve the Iteright platform as well. Once our customers absolutely love the Iteright product, we will have an official launch and begin to charge our customers a monthly subscription fee to use Iteright.


Give us a tactical piece of advice that you’d share with another founder just starting out.

The most valuable thing that you can do in your startup is get your idea in front of customers. We are full of great ideas, and the only way to learn if we are right or not is to get your thoughts in front of potential customers to see if they agree. The winners in the startup world are the ones who learn faster than anyone else; the losers are the ones who spend all of their time and money building something that no one ever wanted in the first place.


Learn more about Iteright on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.



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Featured Founder: Ali De Sousa of Calma

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Ali De Sousa, Founder of Calma, a sustainable self care subscription to help you take care of yourself and the planet.


What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

Right before I launched Calma, I worked freelance doing graphic design and illustration. At the time I was very focused on becoming an established graphic designer and  desperately needed to build my portfolio, which happens to be the reason I started Calma. I was passionate about the idea, but wasn’t sure I could start a company, so I decided to create the branding as a portfolio piece for my website. In a way, I sort of tricked myself into starting Calma. I took the pressure off, and it gave me the confidence to build it as a business.


What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

Self care has become a buzz word in the past few years, which has resulted in an oversaturated market that ensures you that if you do this treatment or buy that product, you’ll achieve your wellness goals. It all felt complicated, confusing, and incredibly wasteful to me. Calma strips all of that back and gives you only what you need, while providing the smallest carbon footprint possible. Our focus isn’t solely on the products themselves, but on what they add to your life.

Sustainability and wellness are starting to converge and it’s exciting to be a part of this shift. I’m also always inspired and motivated by the small, like-minded brands I work with. There are so many talented female makers and I’m glad I can be a platform for their products.


Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

At the beginning, I really struggled with perfectionism. I didn’t want to share anything or pursue partnerships until everything felt perfect. I had to learn that doing something to 80% is okay, because it’s more important to push forward and learn what works and what doesn’t. It was difficult to learn how to not get in my own way, but every time I pushed myself things got easier. I also had someone to tell me that I needed to get over it and just do my job, and that was surprisingly helpful.


Where do you see your company headed next?

Right now we only have one seasonal subscription, but we’re working towards expanding our products. Offering boxes for different stages of life and at different price points, so that sustainable self care is as accessible as possible. I would also love to eventually start a social responsibility project to give part of our revenue each season to causes that align with our values.


Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.

Don’t be overly influenced by startup culture. There are many different ways to build a business, and try not to get caught up in what others are doing. You know your company best, so do what feels intuitive and right for you. If you’re struggling with confidence around your decisions, do your best to fake it and eventually you’ll realize that you don’t have to anymore.


Learn more about Calma on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.



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Growth Story: Eric Fish of Lacuna Diagnostics

Welcome to our Growth Story series, where you’ll meet startup team members—either natives, boomerangs or transplants—in Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Eric Fish, Chief Medical Officer of Lacuna Diagnostics, a startup that offers digital pathology services for the veterinary market, reducing diagnosis time from days to minutes.


Where are you from? Are you a Tampa Bay native, transplant, or boomerang?

I'm originally from upstate New York and transplanted to Tampa. However, since New York, my wife and I have been all over the place. We're both veterinarians and both recently accepted jobs in Tampa. We've only been here a few weeks!


Tell us more about your role at Lacuna Diagnostics. What does a day in the life look like?

At Lacuna Diagnostics, I'm the Chief Medical Officer and as an early stage startup founder I wear a lot of hats. Much of my job involves reading pathology cases and reviewing the reports from the other digital pathologists on our team. We have a total of 18 pathologists in 4 different countries on our team that I help manage. My main goal is to provide quality assurance and that the pathology cases, received from customers, are completed in a timely fashion. I often review our case notification system to manage surges and urgent cases to ensure we get back to customers as quickly as possible, essentially managing the supply and demand. I also serve as the case management system expert and provide any technical support to both our team and customers.

Aside from those tasks, I also help weigh in on product development, research and development. Originally Lacuna Diagnostics started with one product, now we have three. While similar, they each have different iterations and hardware to operate. My goal is to work on streamlining these products to become less hardware dependent and more scalable with internet technology, as well as to innovate new products and revenue streams. When I'm not doing those tasks, I will support our marketing efforts by writing copy for our blogs and posting on social media. On the sales side, I talk with customers from a technical standpoint and as a medical professional on our diagnostic practices and the functionalities of our product. In turn, I'm involved in most client install calls and company meetings.


How did you get your career started and what challenges did you face along the way?

My career in business started in an interesting way because I had planned a career in academia doing veterinary research. I went to California to study to be a veterinarian and received my DVM in 2012 which was quickly followed by a pathology residency and PhD training in Auburn, Alabama. I joined the faculty at the Auburn University vet school and was dedicated to being on their research team. Through a series of connections, a consulting business fell in my lap in 2017.

One of my colleagues in Canada that I had worked closely with, Dr. Norm Lowes, owned a consulting business called CytoVetStat where he would provide pathology consultation to veterinary health professionals. His structure at the time was very ad-hoc. He would have clients scan or take pictures of their pathology results and other lab results to send to him via email or phone. He would then review them quickly and send back his findings through the same method. He approached me once his health began to decline and he was unable to keep the business afloat and asked if I would carry the torch. I was very passionate about the business he was doing, but had no idea how to run a business. Either way, I told him I'd do it.

From 2017 to mid-2018, I worked on CytoVetStat and grew it by 900%, servicing clients in Taiwan, Singapore and the US — some of which have now converted over to Lacuna Diagnostics. In late 2017, my work with CytoVetStat had caught the eye of the Lacuna founders, and they asked for my help on a proof-of-concept research study. At the time, the company had the bare bones of what Lacuna Diagnostics is today. They were still navigating product-market-fit, looking for seed funding, and fine tuning their business model.  And ultimately the business I was working, was projected to move towards the tech innovation and integration they were working on. After helping out with an early proof-of-concept, I sold my company to Lacuna Diagnostics and joined as a co-founder.


How has this region shaped your career or startup journey?

I'm excited there is a diverse and vibrant startup community in Tampa Bay. I got plugged into this community by Vikas Bhatia, founder of JustProtect. He mentioned he was moving from Manhattan to Tampa and that he was connected with people here. He also mentioned how great the startup community was here and how organizations such as Tampa Bay Wave and Embarc Collective are here to support startups. Not only is the cost to start a business here lower than other established startup regions, but I believe resources like these provide a competitive edge and infrastructure to help startups go to market, get funding and succeed. Overall, I'm excited to have a community I can learn from, events I can go to and people I can commiserate with over the lows and celebrate the highs.


What tactical advice can you share from building your startup or career?

I think a basic principle is to be open to any opportunity that comes across your door. I certainly didn't plan to be an entrepreneur or a founder, but it found me and has been an amazing journey. I believe I'm a small part, by way of Lacuna Diagnostics, of the change happening in pathology in veterinary medicine. A lot of big companies see what we're doing, which is taking a traditional process and making it digital, and want to acquire us. It's exciting but also reassuring that we're moving in the right direction. What we're doing is changing the way pathology is done now and innovating the way it will probably be done going forward. Everything is digital now and being a part of this transition in veterinary medicine and pathology is amazing. I wouldn't be where I am if I had said no. Be willing to say yes and embrace the uncertainty, risk and fun.


Where do you see Tampa Bay next? How do you play a role in this future?

I would love to have a role in connecting the human health care companies in this region to other vet health care companies. There is a One Health movement that wants to holistically look at the health of all species to correlate similarities or differences in illnesses, diseases, prevention and treatment. I think we have a lot to learn from each other. IT has been slow to develop in the vet industry but advancing in human health care. Vet health care uses similar tech to human health care but ends up being much more expensive because of limited availability. Sometimes there are findings in each industry that can help the other. I think bringing them together would help close a lot of those gaps and allow us to improve care for both people and animals. I would love to connect with human health care companies in Tampa Bay.

Lacuna Diagnostics is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. Coming to Tampa, I have the opportunity to build our virtual second headquarters here. I feel that being here and making Tampa Bay a home base, with the connections and community to support us, we will be super charged to get things done.


Learn more about Lacuna Diagnostics on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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Growth Story: Gabe Higgins of BlockSpaces

Welcome to our Growth Story series, where you’ll meet startup team members—either natives, boomerangs or transplants—in Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Gabe Higgins, Co-Founder and COO of BlockSpaces, a blockchain innovation studio that provides specialized education, development and support services to a collaborative learning community of individuals, startups, and corporate partners.


Where are you from?

I am from Clearwater, Florida. I was born in NY but we transplanted here when I was a baby. I've been here pretty much my entire life.


Tell us more about your role at BlockSpaces. What does a day in the life look like?

At BlockSpaces, my mornings usually consist of taking standup calls with our team or with teams working on our development projects. After standups, the rest of the morning is spent in business meetings. Aside from attending meetings, I spend time organizing our community events for the month. After spending time in the event planning world, I usually take on more meetings with either clients or potential partners. We spend a lot of time meeting with clients and educating partners about the blockchain space. Usually our clients and partners they don't know what's possible with blockchain technology, we help ideate solutions for their companies and give them a blockchain strategy roadmap that they can either chose to use and have us deploy. Or we can serve as a partner with them on that journey. They also have the choice to institute the roadmap themselves.


How did you get your career started and what challenges did you face along the way?

Before we took the leap with BlockSpaces, I was working at a 9 to 5 job, that luckily, enabled me to listen to a lot of podcasts. I was always in a tech position and didn't have to interact with a lot of people during the day. So I spent most of the day behind the computer and listening to podcasts day in and day out. This is where I spent a lot of time learning about blockchain. It was around 2012 I discovered bitcoin. It was still an early concept around that time. Learning about it got me curious and I wanted to find other peers in the community who were also curious about this new, strange thing — bitcoin. That experience really enabled me to purse blockchain. Ironically, the former career enabled the new career even though they weren't related. Fortunately, I was able to take in a lot of information relatively quickly because I could dedicate a large chunk of my day learning about blockchain and doing my day job. It was a great advantage to learn a lot in a short amount time.

In terms of starting the business, there are lots of challenges. The biggest challenges is how to handle funding and money. I didn't come from a family with a lot of money. Learning about the financials of the business was the first hurdle I had to get over. I did, however, have a strong work ethic, so I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty if I need to. I am a voracious learner and am always trying to learn something. I actually enjoy the challenges that it takes to start things and get curious about ways to solve these challenges. That has certainly helped me get to where I am today. Launching this business happened out of other hobbies and passions that kind of took root and then we decided to build a company around that.


How has this region shaped your career or startup journey?

Prior to launching BlockSpaces, I never had my own venture before. I never thought to start my own business, let a lone a tech company. I was brand new and had no connections to the existing tech community here. I think the timing when we launched was fortuitous as it coincided with everything happening now in Tampa Bay. We're seeing a lot of growth in the tech companies and community here in Tampa Bay, especially with the work happening at Embarc Collective and other groups. We were fortunate to be introduced to Lakshmi as soon as she arrived to Tampa. That definitely helped connect us to the community and meet others interested in this technology. Synapse was also very helpful to our start. We were connected with them early on. Just in time for their first conference. We helped put were together some of the blockchain and fintech-focused breakout sessions, talks and exhibits. These connections were very instrumental in getting us engaged with the local tech community. Before meeting them, we had no idea where to go or what developing a community even looked like.


What tactical advice can you share from building your startup or career?

My tactical advice is to start as soon as you can. Start getting your hands dirty as soon as possible no matter how rudimentary your idea is or how few resources you have. You have to start somewhere. Just do it and figure it out. It's going to take time, so you have to be patient but also be tenacious — which is a hard balance to master for sure. So that's a struggle you'll face, but be ready for that. You have to strengthen the mentality to pursue an endeavor that's actually going to be impactful.


Where do you see Tampa Bay next? How do you play a role in this future?

I hope that we are instrumental in bringing the new, emerging technology of blockchain to Tampa Bay in a big way. Through the startups we're working with, through startup partners, such as Embarc Collective and Synapse, we hope to help other companies to not only leverage the blockchain community, but the technology itself. We hope to serve as a long standing community partner to startups in this region and be a resource that they can drive inspiration from and get guidance from. Of course, we're still learning about more about blockchain too and want to do so with the others who are interested in the technology. Learning and growing together is a wonderful thing.


Learn more about BlockSpaces on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.



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Everything You Need to Know About Email Marketing Click Through Rates

Email marketing is here to stay, and your startup should be leveraging this channel to drive conversions. In this post, we will review click-through rates as a core email performance metric.

There are so many marketing channels that come and go in the digital age, but in fact, email marketing consistently outperforms other channels like social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing and can generate a ROI of up to $38 per $1 spent. It’s ubiquitous, cost-effective, and easy to roll out, making it a perfect tactic for startups and small businesses. But how do you measure email marketing performance and gauge whether an email reader is ready to learn more about your brand?

Click-through rate is one of the core email marketing performance metrics that gives the clearest sense of engagement. Let’s dive deep to better understand this metric and how to send it soaring.


What is a click-through rate, really?

Click-Through Rate, abbreviated frequently as CTR, refers to the number of times users click on an element in your email including images, links and buttons. This metric gives an overall picture of how users are engaging with your email content.

While this might seem straightforward, there are several additional factors to consider when it comes to your click-through rate:

  • CTR can be broken down by individual clickable items in your email. Looking at these individual CTRs shows not only how frequently your users are clicking, but also what elements appeal to them most.
  • Unique clicks refer to the number of individuals who have clicked through, indicating how many people opened and clicked on your email. This differs from overall CTR, which includes repeat clicks. If there’s a large disparity between these two metrics, it indicates that users have come back and clicked on your email more than once.
  • Click-to-open ratio measures your click-through rate against your open rate. A low click-to-open ratio indicates that users are opening your email, but not clicking through on any of your links.


What’s a good click-through rate?

Like most other marketing metrics, a “good” email CTR is totally dependent upon your industry, message, and individual business goals. A study conducted by Campaign Monitor found that the average click-through rate across all industries was 2.69%. When setting your email marketing goals, be sure to benchmark against your own marketing performance in addition to industry standards to ensure that you’re improving over time.


What factors impact click-through rate, and how can you improve it?


There are a wide variety of factors that impact email marketing metrics. Content is the first consideration when planning out an email marketing strategy—if your email doesn’t communicate clearly and lead your reader to action, it isn’t doing the job it needs to do. Make sure your subject line and CTAs are clear and concise, and let users know what to expect when opening your email and when clicking on your CTA.



Your design should support your content and follow user experience best practices. If your email is difficult to read, visually cluttered, or otherwise doesn’t offer a good impression of your brand, users aren’t going to click-through to continue a less-than-excellent experience. Be sure to use responsive email layouts that look just as stunning on mobile devices as they do on desktop.


Send Times & Dates

Once you’ve nailed down your content and layout, consider experimenting with send times and dates to determine when you get the highest open and click-through rates. Be sure to consider the type of content you’re sending and when you’re sending—for example, a Friday afternoon likely isn’t the best time to send a B2B sales-focused email, while a Tuesday morning likely won’t get great rates for a B2C consumer product.


Email marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for startups looking to grow their customer pool. With a clear understanding of some basic email marketing best practices, you can turn click-throughs to conversions and generate more leads. Be sure to look at all the facets of this metric and set clear, realistic goals for your marketing to amplify your brand voice.

Our partners at Bayshore Solutions contributed this guest post.



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