One of the most powerful ways to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns is to use A/B split testing, but what is it? A/B testing is simply testing two or more email messages head-to-head, with all else remaining equal. Keeping everything except email copy constant allows you to experiment with different marketing messages, to find which resonates the most with your customers. The elements of a campaign that should remain constant for testing purposes include:
- The A/B test should randomly select portions from the same contact list
- Both messages should go out at the same time
- Footer and Sender Information (Name and Email) should remain the same across both emails
Using an A/B Testing tool like ReachMail’s Message Testing ensures that all of the above elements are consistent, and that the only difference lies in the actual messages.
What should you test?
First, you should analyze your current typical message or style. You can think of this as your control message, or something to test against. After getting comfortable with testing and analyzing results, move onto testing simple elements and finally, more complex ones.
Some examples of testing include:
- Subject Line
- Long vs. Short – Do your customers want a quick snippet of the email’s content or a descriptive overview?
- Word Choice – Are there certain buzz words that customers click on more readily? Do commands work better than suggestions? Does personalizing the email help?
- Link Placement
- Location – Does having a link by your signature increase CTR or is it more effective near the header?
- Frequency – Do more links overwhelm your customer or make them more likely to see the link?
- Layout/Background – Does highlighting a word or link make a difference? Are your words easier to read with different background colors?
- Text vs. Design HTML
- Do more sales result when you utilize Design HTML emails? Does Design HTML make the email feel too cluttered?
- Placement – Do customers click on an offer when it’s closer to the top or bottom?
- Size of Buttons – Are customers able to see smaller buttons?
- Color of Buttons – Is one color more effective than others?
- Usage – Does including pictures of your product increase sales? Do your customers prefer landscapes shots or people in their photos?
- Size – Are bigger images easier to see or do they overshadow your copy?
Once you’ve established the elements of your campaign that you want to experiment with, then it’s time to test. As our previous blog post mentions, the first step is creating each message to test (up to five different versions).
Then, select which lists will receive the message. One of the most beneficial aspects of our service is that you can send to a limited portion of your list – i.e. 10,000 contacts out of a list of 50,000. Then, you can schedule and send your tests.
We suggest waiting at least 24-48 hours to get a statistically valid response for each. You’ll be able to pick the winner and roll out that message to the remainder of the list. This way most of your subscribers will receive the “winning” version and you’ll achieve a maximum response.
The Message Testing feature that allows you to do A/B split testing is included with ReachMail, where you receive free email marketing for life.