Have you ever heard people talk about A/B or split testing their email marketing and wonder what they’re on about?
This topic often comes up in email marketing discussions and workshops, when the testing section makes an appearance. If you’re not sure what this is all about, here are the basics…
What is email marketing testing?
A/B testing, also known as split testing, refers to testing various elements of an email marketing campaign. This is done to find out what works best for you and to get optimal performance out of your email marketing. Changes should be made one at a time so that you can measure the results.
How do I test my emails?
Start with one marketing email. Send this to a small portion of your data list, perhaps 5%. Change one element of the email and send it to another small section of your list, also 5%. Look at the results. Whichever version of the email performed best is the one to send to the remainder of your list. Only ever test one thing at a time so that you can pinpoint what works and what doesn’t.
What should I test?
You can test any element of your email campaign. Popular suggestions are:
- Email subject line
- Email sender address (generic versus person’s name)
- Time of day/day of week
- Design – visual or text-based
- Colours, fonts, images
- Sales pitch or free content of value to the recipient
- Calls to action, button versus hyperlink
How do I measure results?
Your email marketing software (for example Campaign Monitor or MailChimp) will have a reporting section. In there you should find results such as open rates and click through rates – this is where the recipient has clicked on a link to your website. Be slightly wary of open rates as some email service providers have a preview pane and if a recipient has this set as default, the email will be recorded as opened even if delete is hit straight away. If a call to action was included in the email, this will be tracked too.
Create, test, analyse, improve, send, repeat. Happy email marketing testing!