A Scenic Tour of the Online World

A/B Testing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Email marketing is still an effective arrow in the content marketing quiver. Social media and SEO may get all the love right now, but email is still worth including in your mix and you can make it more effective with some judicious A/B testing. Here’s how.

Subject Lines
Probably the most obvious place to test is with different subject lines. You should test short subject lines, longer subject lines, different keywords, different offers. Depending on the size of your list, you may want to limit your testing to true A/B splits, though with larger lists you can test A/B/C or more.

From Names
Should the email come your company or from a person? If it’s from a person should it be the president or other public face or the salesperson/account manager with whom the client or prospect already has a relationship?

It probably depends on the message, but you won’t know for sure until you do some testing.

Send Dates / Times
You can find all sorts of data on the best time to send emails. (And the best times to post social media updates.) Use those as guidelines, but test with your audience to find out what days of the week and what time of day improves open rates, click-through rates and, of course, conversions.

Some commercial email services, like MailChimp, offer automated A/B testing tools that will send one of two versions of an email to a small group from your list. If one clearly outperforms the other, the winner is automatically sent to the rest of your list.

List Size
Size matters. Smaller lists make it difficult to get solid data, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth experimenting with A/B tests. Particularly if you do them consistently, you will find patterns emerging about your audience’s preferences.

And it’s digging deep enough to find those preferences that will make your email marketing more effective over time. Start today.

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