In the context of email marketing, A/B testing is the practice of sending one version of your campaign to a portion of your subscribers and another version to a different subset of subscribers with the purpose of determining which version of the campaign gets the best results.
A/B testing is a term that many email marketers are still unfamiliar with. It’s time to dispel the myths surrounding A/B testing and demonstrate how simple it is to make the most of your email marketing.
We’re about to teach you everything you need to know about email A/B testing. What it is, how and when to use it, and what to test are all covered. It’s not as difficult as you may think. You’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before after reading this guide.
Defined: A/B Testing for Email Marketing
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a simple process that entails sending two separate variations (an A variant and a B variant) to your email list and seeing which variant works better.
The difference between variants could be as minor as a differently phrased subject line, which most recipients will not notice. It could also be something more major, such as a completely redesigned email design and layout.
A/B testing, however, should only test one element at a time. That way, you can be sure that any change in performance between the two types is due to that one factor. Rather than attempting to ascertain which of the elements caused the change.
There are various potential email metrics you should be looking at when it comes to measuring performance:
- Open rates (the number of people who open and read your email)
- Click-through rates (the number of people who click on a link within your email)
- Rates of conversion (the number of people opening your email who go on to make a purchase)
Benefits of A/B Email Testing
You’ll gradually improve your important email marketing stats by doing regular A/B tests. These are:
1. Increased Click Rates
By testing aspects within your email, you’ll gradually have a better knowledge of what type of content and links your subscribers prefer to click on, just as you did with your open rates. You can then base your future emails on what you’ve learned works to boost your click-through rate.
2. Improved Open Rates
You’ll gain a better understanding of what connects with your subscribers and what doesn’t by testing the aspects that influence your open rate (e.g., your subject lines and preview text, etc.). This will help you to fine-tune your future efforts to increase the number of people who open them.
3. Improved Conversion Rates and Sales
You’ll attract more potential clients to your site by increasing your open and click rates. This will lead to more purchases and (especially if you A/B test elements on your store) a higher conversion rate.
What Things Can You A/B Test?
While there are a few things that come to mind when thinking about what to A/B test, when it comes to email marketing, there are a plethora of possibilities. These are some of them:
1. Sending an Email
Email marketers frequently fall into the habit of delivering their campaigns at the same time of day and on the same day of the week. When you send your emails, however, it can have a big impact on how many people open them.
You should perform some A/B tests where you change the day of the week to see what the optimal day to send emails to your customers is (e.g., Tuesday vs. Thursday). You can do the same thing with the time of day as well (morning vs. afternoon).
The primary metric to pay attention to here is your open rate.
2. Subject Lines
Subject lines are one of the most common campaign pieces for email marketers to test. Part of this is because they are simple to update, and most marketers have a few ideas for prospective subject lines.
Once you’ve determined the two subject lines to test and sent the email, the metric you’ll want to monitor is your open rate.
While your click and conversion rates are important, your subject line is one of the few aspects of your campaign that subscribers will see before opening your email. As a result, the metric that will be most affected by playing with your subject line will be your open rate.
The style and content of your email will have a significantly higher impact on whether or not visitors click through to your site and make a purchase after they’ve opened it.
3. Name of Sender
Your sender name is the name that appears in your subscribers’ inbox as the sender of the email.
This is usually just the brand name for most companies. For instance, “ACME Brand.” Some brands, on the other hand, will personalize their sender name by including the name of someone important to them, such as their founder. “Jane from ACME Brand,” for example.
This is something you might want to try with some of your future email campaigns. The measure to pay attention to if you decide to perform this type of A/B test is your open rate.
4. Email Design
Many aspects influence your email design, such as the layout, the number of columns used, the kind of photos used, if you use images at all, and so on.
While you shouldn’t experiment with too many different aspects during a single A/B test because you won’t be able to tell which modification caused the results, it’s worth playing with your email design.
5. Preview Text
Your preview text is the optional extra line of text that follows your subject line. This implies it serves the same purpose as your subject line and is an excellent choice for A/B testing.
The major metric you’ll want to watch when experimenting with preview text is your open rate, just like when testing different variants of your subject lines.
6. Email Length
Some merchants choose to send extensive emails that highlight a large number of their products. Others like to send shorter, to-the-point emails.
In either case, you might want to examine how your subscribers react when you send a longer or shorter email than usual and see how it affects your click rate.
Call-to-actions (also known as CTAs) are an immensely crucial aspect of your email. It’s the section of your email that persuades your readers to do the action you want them to take (e.g., click through to view a certain product collection or redeem an offer).
Given how crucial it is, it’s certainly worth experimenting with different CTA phrasing variations.
Because CTAs normally guide people to a specific page, the measure they’ll have the biggest influence on is your click rate.
8. Target Landing Pages
When it comes to CTAs, it’s also a good idea to see which sites they drive your subscribers to. Instead of connecting to a product collection, a separate landing page for your current deal would be a better option.
Because your subscribers normally don’t know which page they’ll wind up on until after they’ve clicked on the link, the conversion rate is the metric you’ll be looking at here.
While you should always personalize your emails with the recipient’s name, you can be creative with how you greet them. For example, “How’s it going, Mark?” vs. “Hey Mark?”
This is something that you can quickly and easily switch between your two types, but it may affect how your subscribers interact with your campaigns. If a specific kind of welcome resonates more with your subscribers, you should expect your click rates to rise.
10. Experiment with Fresh Ideas
If you have ideas for potential topics to include in future emails but aren’t sure how your subscribers will react, an A/B test is a great method to find out.
For example, if you want to use customer testimonials as social proof, you can include them in only one of the variants and see if they enhance your click and conversion rates.
A/B testing is a simple yet effective approach to improve the effectiveness of your email messages. It’s as simple as creating two versions of the same email and seeing which one your subscribers prefer.
You’ll be continually refining and optimizing your campaigns if you do this on a regular basis, maximizing your open, click-through, and conversion rates in the process.
There’s no reason not to conduct A/B testing on a regular basis, especially because many email apps allow you to do it fast and efficiently.