Anatomy of an E-mail Report

Is your institutional memory fading? If you're like many busy e-mail marketers, reviewing and reporting on past campaigns is a very low priority. But if you're not looking, you're not learning, and you'll miss the subtle lessons all that data can teach you. If you don't take the time to write a report, your company's e-mail intelligence will gradually fade away or walk out the door.

An e-mail report should contain the following information:

--A screen capture of the e-mail, with the click percentage (Link Clicks/Total Clicks) shown beside each link.
--The subject line.
--The purpose of the mailing.
--Date sent.
--The data. Keep a table of stats for all campaigns and show your current campaign compared with your YTD or Program-to-date averages. (Note: Not all stats will be applicable to all programs.) Here's a sample of how to do it:






Original List


List Sent (after bounce, spam, and other filters are applied)

% Scrubbed

(Filtered/Original List)

List Delivered (after hard and soft bounces)

% Delivered


Opens (unique is always preferable)

% Opened


Clicks (unique and total)

Click-Through Rate (CTR)


Clicks per Consumer

(Total Clicks/Unique Clicks)

Click to Open (CTO)*


Conversions (who followed through to the desired action - registration, purchase, download, etc.)

% Converted


% Closed


Purchases (if applicable)

Total Purchases

Average Purchase


(Average Purchase x % Closed x 1,000 = Income per thousand emails sent)


% Unsubscribed


Send-to-a-Friend (STAF)



*I avoid using the open count, unreliable as it is, for a denominator, but perhaps I'm a curmudgeon.

Finally, there are two important elements to include: First is a narrative. I can't stress enough that while the data is important, a table full of numbers doesn't yield any real learning. You have to tell the story behind the numbers. What did you test? What did you learn? How does this campaign compare with others? What would you do differently next time? If you are able to break down the numbers by audience segment (best customers, target customers, new customers, etc.), and track these audience segments over time, you will find a deeper story.

Second you'll need to boil down your narrative to a few key points, to create the basic takeaways.

The process of creating reports will advance your team's knowledge of what works -- and doesn't work -- with your audience. When you need to look at the larger picture, check out David Baker's series of articles on developing your ROI (return on investment) (ROI) story: part 1;part 2;part 3;part 4; part 5. ) Then you'll be ready to roll. And your company's institutional knowledge will be intact and accessible.

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