Last month, you kickstarted your end-of-year campaign by assessing your strengths and assembling your team. For August, it’s time to take a deep dive into last year’s EOY test results to look for those hidden, or not-so-hidden, truths: What worked? What didn’t? Were there any long-term impacts from those tests?

As you pour over last year’s data, take the time to go beyond the standard questions and analysis. As a major revenue generator for your organization, your EOY campaign deserves a thorough vetting. Re-review your test results, including individual segment returns. Spend some time studying how your new EOY donors behaved. Compare daily cash receipts between the fiscal years for any insights into any impacts changes to the email schedule had or whether sending on certain days of the week made a difference. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Which emails performed well and which didn’t?
  • For new EOY donors, how did they perform throughout the year?
  • How did the growth of #GivingTuesday or the timing of New Year’s Eve affect your results?

Examining Email Data
Let’s look at an example of the benefits of going deep in evaluating last year’s email metrics. An organization sends an email shortly after Giving Tuesday, resulting in a spike in email open rate. That’s to be expected, right? But the organization also conducted a subject line test from two different senders. Sender #1 was the Kate, the organization’s CEO and usual email sender; sender #2 was Nicole, a program person with lower visibility with donors.

Based on open rate alone, Nicole seemed the obvious winner with 62 percent more opens, but when the organization looked deeper at clickthrough rates, that advantage went away. Nicole’s clickthrough rate was only 4 percent higher than Kate’s and at the end of the day, Kate garnered 14 percent more gifts.

So, what’s up with that?
Your organization should already be tracking the delivery rate, open rate and clickthrough rate. And you should add inbox placement to the list as well.

But how do you really measure which emails are actually being seen by recipients? How are people interacting with you? This goes beyond the simple click rate (who opened the email).

As with the above example, the clickthrough rate showed a more overall impact of how recipients responded to the email test. By examining the reader clickthrough rate, you can evaluate how recipients interact or engage once they get inside the email, such as Kate’s email produced more conversions to gifts.

By examining the engagement at every step of the process, you can better evaluate each email’s conversion rate or number of people donating. There are several ways to track this:

  • Number of people donating/number of people receiving the email
  • Number of people donating/number of people opening the email
  • Number of people donating/number of people clicking through the email

You can also track conversions against emails received to evaluate which segments are most productive, track against opens to judge how compelling your message is, or track against clickthroughs to uncover potential issues with your donation form or ask amounts.

Google Analytics Goals
Since much EOY revenue comes through your organization’s website, you should also evaluate how visitors to your website are converted into donors. Google Analytics can help you drill down into how visitors are using your site and reveal possible sticking points in the conversion process.

August is a great time to learn Google Analytics or another testing tool such as Optimizely, so you can be properly armed with information for your EOY planning process. We’ll continue the conversation in the next post as we discuss testing you also can be doing now.