Email Testing Basics: What You Need to Know

A/B TestingEmail testing (or A/B testing) is frequently overlooked by marketers, often seen as overly complicated and cumbersome. But there is no need to fear A/B testing. Optimize your business’s email campaigns using the tools and content you already have at your fingertips. If executed correctly, the marketing insight and opportunities A/B testing reveals are too pivotal to ignore. Businesses can test several key areas, such as subject lines, personalized messages, “from” addresses, and more.

To help determine which changes should be made to increase effectiveness for future emails, one specific element must be altered at a time. This ensures the A/B testing will work properly. Pinpointing areas that need improvement not only increase awareness, but can decrease the chance of repeated mistakes.

Just as there is not one sole way of creating marketing campaigns, there is no one absolute way to test an email campaign. With so many different variables, there are countless testing combinations that can be executed. Here are a few key A/B testing methods:

Headline A/B Testing

There are valid reasons why some emails tend to do better than others, and A/B headline line split testing can help you determine why. By choosing and testing compelling subject lines, businesses can determine necessary changes needed for future email successes. It is vital that your subscribers have opted in to receive your emails. Therefore, they are familiar enough with your business that small changes will not throw them off when testing subject lines. Giving readers a positive experience is always the first priority. For example, these A/B headlines may help determine if a number value it more enticing to a customer:

Headline A: Increase your sales now!
Headline B: Increase your sales by 50%!

Personalization in subject lines can make a big difference if applied to the correct audience of subscribers.

Subject Line A: The Time is Now, [First Name]!
Subject Line B: The Time is Now.

Test Timing of Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment emails can also be tested to measure how quickly a customer responds. Some businesses will find that subscribers respond faster to immediately triggered cart abandonment emails, while others may respond when the emails are sent hours or even days later. Testing the two different times with A/B testing will help clarify which option yields higher open and conversion rates.

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Put Promos to the Test

Promotions and incentives offering varying discounts are often used in email campaigns to increase open rates, click-through rates, and sales. What may be surprising to some is that the highest discount offer is not always the best performing!

A/B Test different promotional offer amounts, such as 10%, 15%, 20% off, and determine each level of engagement. After primary tests have been completed, you can test additional percentages and see how they directly impact revenue.

Test From/Reply-To Addresses

Another way to A/B test is by changing from/reply-to addresses based on consumer preference. Create and test two different from/reply-to addresses and determine which makes the biggest impact. First and last names tend to get a higher open rate.

Address A: John Smith, Active Web Group
Address B: Active Web Group

Change Your Content

The content and/or copy located inside the email can increase success and determine click-through and open rates as well. While some customers may prefer a longer email body, others may favor short and sweet. As with all variables, this should be tested and the results will vary from business to business.

Testing your company’s emails is a great way to improve results and build long-term loyalty. From design to subject line, every part of an email can and should be tested on a regular basis to optimize open rates and get consumers to your website to start shopping. This can get time consuming, and many businesses who wish to focus on day-to-day operations turn to a digital marketing agency to execute and regularly test their email marketing campaigns.

Remember that each type of business will have different test results. Start with one A/B test at a time. Response rates and metrics will vary based on timing, changes, and demographics. The best way to improve is to set your own benchmarks instead of comparing results to others. Find what works for your business and stick with it!

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