Split Testing in Email – Email Thursday

By EXCLUSIVE team
TOPICSEmail Marketing

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP_Gcq6OBCY

Today, we’re going to talk about split or A/B testing and how it can influence campaigns you send in the future.

Most email service providers offer the ability to do split testing, referred to as A/B testing. The idea behind split testing is to isolate a variable in an email and test one version versus another in order to gain insight into what your uses prefer to receive in their inbox. There are many variables that can be tested in an A/B test… subject line, headline, body copy, graphic color and placement, location of the Call-to-Action and more. Now, of course it would be wonderful to know exactly what your users prefer receiving… I suppose you could send out a survey asking them but we can talk about email surveys some other time.

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Most email service providers offer the ability to do split testing, referred to as A/B testing. The idea behind split testing is to isolate a variable in an email and test one version versus another in order to gain insight into what your uses prefer to receive in their inbox. There are many variables that can be tested in an A/B test… subject line, headline, body copy, graphic color and placement, location of the Call-to-Action and more. Now, of course it would be wonderful to know exactly what your users prefer receiving… I suppose you could send out a survey asking them but we can talk about email surveys some other time.

Generally, the way a split test works is that you choose a variable which, for the sake of this blog post, will be subject line. Since it is close to the 4th of July and many companies and online retailers have sales, let’s use this as a starting off point for our fictitious A/B test. So www.bluewidgets.com is having a special July 4th sale on, you guessed it, red, white and blue widgets. In order to maximize the response to this email sale announcement, our Widget Email Marketer named Billy decides to test the viability of subject lines as a means of increasing open and click rates. Usually, Billy simply puts together an email announcing a new product or a sale, QA’s it to make sure there are no errors, sends a test to his boss, and then launches the campaign to his list. But since this week has been slow and the responses to past campaigns have been trending down, Billy decides to get creative and try running a subject line test.

For this email, Billy comes up with 2 subject lines to test: “July 4th Sale on Widgets” and “Independence Means Choosing Your Own Widget Color”. After getting some good natured ribbing for his cheesy subject line choice, Billy creates 2 identical emails but gives them different subject lines. He chooses to send each version to 10% of his list meaning his total test send is to 20% of the entire list. This leaves 80% of the list that has not received this campaign with either subject line. Billy gives the test 48 hours to accumulate data and after the 48 hours have passed, he looks at the statictics to see if there is a clear winner. In this case, although he went out on a limb and tried a new and creative style for a subject line, his creativity paid off by producing twice as many clicks as his boring, run-of-the-mill subject line. Since the “Independence Means Choosing Your Own Widget Color” subject line was the clear winner, Billy proceeds to send to the remaining 80% of the list with this subject line.

Although this example only talks about subject lines, there are tons of variables that you can test. In this case, the testing paid off and now Billy has some insight into what his widget buyers like… creativity.

Split testing is a wonderful way to increase interaction with your emails and there are numerous ways you can approach this. Here at Exclusive Concepts, we offer testing as part of our Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing service. If you are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from your e-mail approach, consider our Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing service to augment your other marketing efforts. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.

Thank you for listening – have a wonderful Email Thursday!

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