By Tony Adragna

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Email marketing is important for any digital marketer.  It allows you to directly access your current or potential customers. However, if you don’t cater to your audience, email marketing can quickly become a nightmare and turn off customers to your brand. How do you know if what you’re doing is working, or if something needs a change? Email A/B testing will help you answer those questions.

No Email List is Exactly The Same

Below are guidelines and best-practices to follow when it comes to email marketing. There are several factors that go into building a strong email campaign for your company, and those include:

  • Subject Lines

  • Images

  • Design

  • Calls-To-Action

  • Who the Email is From

  • Content

  • Timing of send

After choosing which factor that you want to test, you then have to choose a small portion of your audience that you will send your variations of the factor.  For example, if you want to test your subject line, send a small portion of your audience version A of a subject line, and send another small portion of your audience version B of your subject line.

After choosing your variations, determine what you are looking for to “win” the campaign.  The vast majority of campaigns look at open rates or click-through rates.  After choosing your winning criteria, analyze the results from both versions of your email (with the different subject lines in the case of the example above), and based upon your criteria and results, decide which version you will send to the rest of your audience.

Without testing the factors above, you run the risk of not fully optimizing your emails for your audience.

No Marketers Are Perfect

This headline may seem confusing, but it is important to remember when it comes to email marketing.  Even the best marketers are not perfect.  What does this mean?  Although you may be a brilliant marketer, you may be missing something simple when it comes to your email list.  Without email testing, you may be missing out on simple changes that can go a long way for your email campaign.  Just remember that there isn’t a perfect marketer out there, and testing can only help your email marketing get better and better.

More Complete Analysis

The most important aspect to testing email is that you are able to analyze the results directly from your audience.  Your audience is telling you what they like and don’t like about your emails, and you are able to adjust your email campaigns accordingly.  Some important statistics to look at when you are testing email are:

  • Unsubscribers - Did one side of your test have a vast amount of more unsubscribers?  

  • Open Rate - Was there a significant amount of more opens on one side of your test?

  • Click Through Rate - Which side of your test produced more clicks in your email?

Looking at the above metrics for both sides of your test can help you determine what is working, or what can be improved upon.  Remember to only test one factor at a time. If you try to test three or four factors at a time, you won’t be able to tell which factors caused changes. There is only one way to determine if your emails are fully optimized toward your audience, and that is through email testing.

How often do you test your emails?

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Tony Adragna

About the author

Tony Adragna is an Associate Consultant for SmartBug Media. Using his project management and digital marketing background, Tony helps implement their inbound marketing strategies. Read more articles by Tony Adragna.

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