In our professional and personal lives, we’re all quite accustomed to choosing between the better of two alternatives. AB testing is the same principle. Since we cannot always predict how an audience will react to our marketing strategies, we split test two ideas and try out tactic A on 50% of our public and tactic B out on the other 50%. Then compare the differences in reactions of both groups.

One of the best uses of this analytic is in determining the best subject line for your promotional email. Two identical emails are prepared, differing only in the subject line. The email with the first subject line goes to half of your mailing list, while the email with the second subject line goes to the other half. If you have a large number of recipients, you can even test three or more versions of your email. Your results will be most useful, however, if each group contains at least 5,000 recipients.

To gauge the effectiveness of your subject line, compare the open rates between the two groups. Once you find your winner, it becomes your control or benchmark. Test it against another subject line, and so on, until you are convinced you’ve found the best possible subject line for your messages. The results may surprise you. You might find that one subject line generates a very large open rate, while another does not do so well when you actually preferred the second! Differences like open rates can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

In addition to subject lines, there are several aspects of your email campaign that lend themselves to AB testing. Some of these are bonus gifts, coupons, promotions, splashes, P.S. messages, guarantees, opening sentence image, closing sentence image, from-field, calls to action, opening greetings, type styles, layout elements, graphic images, etc. You can also use AB testing to analyze mailings sent at different times of day and days of the week.

The A/B testing that we’ve done has provided us with some really interesting information. If you use email marketing to drive customers toward your E-Commerce website, A/B testing is needed in order to figure out what areas your customers navigate towards and areas where they buy from.

When you embark on AB testing, you’re guaranteed to learn a great deal about what motivates your audience. Keep in mind that the more you test, the more you’ll learn.

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