How to Conduct A/B Tests on Email Campaigns

A/B Tests on Email Campaigns

Email marketing and newsletters are the proved techniques to reach your existing customers. They help in keeping touch and thus many times are highly instrumental in getting repeat business. The marketing campaigns directed at these customers should be tailored in a manner keeping in mind that they comprise a pre-qualified base of people who have at some point of time agreed to receive information regarding your business updates or new product launches. As these people might have also already done business with you previously it also does mean that it is relatively easier to entice them and make them stay loyal to your brand.

If you are already in the practice of using email marketing then you definitely know the significance of A/B testing as you must be doing it on a regular basis. It is quite possible that you are A/B testing all your subject lines to make them more attractive that will push your subscriber base to open them and spend time on reading. Even if you are venturing in the arena for the first time and are struggling to find the best placement, size, appeal and even look of your call-to-action buttons which are able to get the relevant visitors to your website, you should be looking at this post with great interest.

Testing has proven itself as a great way to get better and more creative ideas. A/B testing should be used for more than just email headline testing. It is important to run A/B tests even when you are trying to look for better formats and strategies for running your email campaigns. A good email campaign can help make a sea-change in your bottom line than other facets of your digital marketing efforts, particularly the ones which come with the same cost. You should be able to successfully narrow down the most effective elements of your best email promotions and put them together to design something revolutionized.

Steps for A/B Testing

1. Planning an A/B Test
The foremost step when you plan an A/B test is to know what to test. You should also be sure if you have to conduct an on-site or an off-site test. In case of an on-site test, you will want to spread the test on various elements related to sales while you boil down to a few for actual testing. On the other hand, in case of an off-site test, you will be considering to test either an email or an ad campaign. In the case of emails, you can mail 2-3 versions of your sales email to your subscribers and then see which one was able to get better conversions. The latter can be repeated for future. There are many elements in an email campaign which can be put to test like a call-to-action, headline, subject-line, layout, personalization of the messages which include addressing the recipients by their last names, body-text, imagery, any particular offer which you want to give or highlight etc. All these have their own role in different aspects of the conversion process. E.g. your subject-line will have an impact on how many people exactly will open your email while your call-to-action will have an impact on the number of people who will get converted.

2. Testing the Whole List or in Parts
It has been observed in many cases, you will want to run the test on the whole list to find out the results of your opt-in list of the new email campaign. Thus, it is also advisable to test the entire list, however, in some instances, you may want to test only some aspects. In case you have a huge list of elements to conduct A/B testing and you have picked a firm which charges you by the email address, you can actually pick the largest sample which you can afford to test. Herein, also choose the email addresses randomly for best results. In case of something new and extreme, which you are not sure of at the moment, you may wish to limit your tests and thus you can actually pick only a few people who can see the same. You may still consider testing a few hundred people for better results. Furthermore, in the case of limited-time offers, you may wish to test a small lot and then send the winner to the whole lot. This can fetch you a greater number of conversions.

3. Testing Tools
Many email testing campaigns have in-built email marketing tools for A/B testing like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor etc. But even if your email campaign service does not have default support for A/B tests, it can be set by yourself by dividing your current list into two lists and send each version of your campaign to these different lists. Then you may compare the results from both the lists manually on a spreadsheet.

4. Analysis
The analysis of the results you get can be spread over three categories: the open-rate, the click-through rate and finally the conversion-rate. Although the first two parts are quite evident there is also a lot of significance of testing the conversion rate at times. E.g. If one campaign has a success rate of 10 percent i.e. these many people have walked through it and the other one has about 20 percent of clicks then it will be expected that the second one leads to more conversions. The latter usually happens if the customer is able to draw parallels between your brand and the message. The customers should be able to see the same level of engagement on the website as well. Thus, messaging should be of the same theme as the website. Also, remember at the end it will be the conversions which matter and not just the clicks. So, tracking the conversion metric will make a lot of difference.

Conclusion

Thus, running an A/B test on your email campaigns is a must in today’s marketing world where even one mistake can break your entire campaign. Thus, remember to conduct the campaign and the test at the same time to ensure no time-based variable is able to make any difference. Also, testing on a larger sample will improve the accuracy of your results. You should also be conducting tests often to track the progress of your campaign to make timely changes. Testing in parts also makes sense at times but better conclusions can be drawn if the whole lot is tested. Keep improving and keep on testing till the results you get to match your dreams.

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