Topic of the Day: Email Marketing – A/B Testing


Every time an email campaign is sent out some kind of tests should be done. There are so many tests that can be done but I will list a few important, well known and simple ones in this discussion. When it comes to testing in email campaigns it is very important to make sure you are only testing one thing. If two of more tests are conducted right away determining test results will be very hard.

Probably the most well known and used test is a subject line test. Writing good subject lines are especially important, both to encourage users to open the newsletter and to distinguish the newsletter from spam. I recommend including some actual content from the individual newsletter in each subject line, even though it’s a difficult job to write good content within the 50-60 character limit that is imposed by many email services. With that said, how do you test a subject line? That’s too easy, simply have two different subject lines that you send to the same number of people on the same kind of email list and track the differences. What is the most important data to track using subject line testing? Open rate, if one style of subject line continues to have a higher open rate then I guarantee that email is always going to outperform in conversions.

Another commonly used test would be an offer test. If this test works for your business it can become very useful tool of increasing AOV or average order value. I like to offer fixed dollar amounts ($10 off $100 or $25 off $250). What this allows is for the opportunity to lower the percent of the deal with making sure that the most ever offered in the example is 10%. So if I purchase products for $101 then I get a 10% discount, but if I order $195 in products, I only receive a 5.5% discount. The customer was going to purchase the product anyway, on the $101 sales maybe they added less than $10 to get $10 off the end, but the $195 makes the ROI on that specific offer fantastic. So sending out different offers to once again same number of people from the same type of list can be a very useful test and provide valuable data.

The last test I recommend is what I call “Time of Delivery”. When is the best time to send your email campaigns to your email subscribers? Could be late at night, mid afternoon (I doubt it) or early in the morning. Regardless of what you think have data would be the best solution. I have found through an unbelievable number of these that the best time to send an email campaign is 9:30am. I have personally seen an increase in open rates and conversions. My thought process behind the actual data is simple, people check their email in the mornings, 9-5 office workers are usually just getting settled and done checking their email, this is where when your email pops in it becomes more visible. An offer email with catch subject line is a lot more likely to get deleted when the user has other emails in the inbox to surf through. Now that I have told you data wise where I have had success, let me tell you about my failure. Sending emails at 4 in the afternoon is very bad. People are done at work, people that were not working have been accumulating emails all day it just is not good. Open rates will be down, conversions down and as an overall the values of your emails become lower.

It is no doubt that some people who delete an email once will probably never even read the subject line from the same user again. Make sure that all emails are sent out at a proper time with a proper deal and great subject line.

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