Many organizations fail to take advantage of their data from email campaigns. Too often those who are in charge of these campaigns only look at each of their email’s statistics in isolation if at all and in doing so waste an opportunity to improve their email tactics by looking at their output as a whole.
Most of the major mass email tools provide important statistics for every email that is sent out. Unfortunately many of these tools fall short of providing easy ways to look at data over time the way that web analytics software (ie. Google Analytics) does.
I suggest using a spreadsheet to keep track of the results of each email blast. Below is a sample spreadsheet (click for larger view):
This particular spreadsheet contains the following data:
Your spreadsheet can include any fields for data that you are able to track on each email. For example, you may want a field to enter what issue an action alert covers.
As you send more mailings and input more data you will be able to use it to see the strengths and weakness of your email program and use it to improve. For example, you may find that mailings sent on Fridays have a much lower open rate than Wednesdays, or that the response is higher when the mailing comes from a different name.
If you do a lot of fundraising mailings, you may also want to create a second sheet that includes total dollars raised, number of donations, and average donation amount.
In addition to the spreadsheet, it is a good idea to keep a copy of every email that is sent out in an organized folder. If you are serious about improving your email results, I would include a page with each email with some statistics and notes. For example, the information that was put into the spreadsheet as well as more specific information particular to that email: comparative clickthrough rates for each link and/or clickable graphic, unsubscribe comments, etc.
Finally, with your compiled data you should be able to come up with some good A/B tests to further improve your data about your email campaign and increase the response rates on future mailings.