Testing your Email Marketing for Optimal Performance
Email marketing is one of the most beneficial marketing strategies for your business with a $43 to $1 return on ROI, and it is also one of the most testable and customizable for your goals! Email marketers need to be constantly analyzing their campaign performance to stay ahead of their competitors, but how to make sure you are testing the right variables in order to move your strategy forward? Keep reading for our top tips on how to analyze and test your email marketing campaigns to achieve the results you desire.
First, lets start with the basics…
What is an A/B test?
An A/B test is a test of one variable (say, the subject line) and 2 options for the test (option A and option B). You can divide your sending list in half, send each section a different test and use the results for campaigns moving forward or, my personal recommendation, conduct a small segment test before sending the entire campaign. To do so, divide out a small, random segment of your list, 20% or less, and send half of that segment option A and the other half option B. Wait at least 5 hours for results to come in, and then send the rest of your list (the 80% or more) which ever option performed better- option A or option B. As you can see this only works when you are not pressed for time to send, but it is the best way to utilize results from your A/B testing.
Ready to get testing? Here are 6 email marketing campaign variables to test (one at a time, of course!) using A/B testing:
1.) Subject Line: There are a couple different ways to conduct subject line testing. You can test 2 entirely different options (“Just arrived: see our new products” vs “Free shipping on all first time orders”), test the order of specific variable of your subject line (“Free shipping + 10% off all orders today” vs “10% off + free shipping on all orders today”) or testing one prominent word of your subject line (“Give the perfect gift” vs “Receive the perfect gift”). All options will give you insight into what drives your subscribers to open your emails.
2.) Sending Time: Finding the perfect time to send your email campaigns can be crucial for your business. Consider the action you want them to take (purchase vs website visit), when they are most likely to complete this action (morning, during the work day, night, weekend), and what time zone where the majority of your subscribers are located. You can test the time of day (morning vs night), day of the week (Tuesday vs Wednesday) or whether a weekend sending works best. Note that since you can only test one variable per test nailing down the best day and time to send your email will require running multiple A/B tests!
3.) Segmentation: Segmenting your subscribers successfully is crucial these days as inbox placement becomes more difficult for email marketers. Decide how your message will work best- does it make sense to segment based on a certain demographic (gender or age)? Or perhaps where they are in the buying cycle (abandoned cart subscribers vs never purchased)? Consider the goal for your email campaign, and your overall marketing strategy goals as well.
4.) Call to Action/Offer: Your call to action is the main driver and reason for your campaign- and thus one of the most important but often overlooked testing variables! Try testing the verbiage of your call to action (“Shop now” vs “Shop holiday gifts”), the placement of a call to action button (center vs upper left hand quadrant) and if you are using an image test the actual creative as well (green vs blue button, picture of a shopping bag vs a present).
5.) Landing Page: Where are you driving your subscribers to in order for them to complete the desired action? Most landing pages will be a specific URL on your website, but does it make sense to have your subscribers see your entire catalog or land on a specific item mentioned in your email? Also, if the page is distinctive for your email creative test which design works best and converts the most subscribers.
6.) Campaign Layout/Template: Finally, take a look at the elements of your campaign layout and design you can be testing. Maybe promoting only 4 products instead of 6 would work better? Or having one single image vs many? You can also try testing template colors- that still stick with your overall branding, of course! Perhaps a lighter background color could be more pleasing to the eye, or repeating a prominent logo color throughout the campaign can drive more clicks.