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Testing: Your Most Valuable Email Marketing Tool — Part Two - 10/20/2015 -

Testing: Your Most Valuable Email Marketing Tool — Part Two

Here are tips on how to get the most out of your A/B testing.

By Michelle Ashley

If you’re looking for a recipe for the best email campaign, keep looking. There is no one right answer to get the best results, but you have tools in your toolbox to determine what works… testing.

In part one of this article, I preached about testing your emails — but this is a little different. A better word that testing is to call it optimizing, as we’re seeking optimal results on each and every campaign that is sent.

The tool that provides the most effective results is A/B testing. This is simply presenting one option to a random segment of your audience, and sending a different option to another segment.

From there, the segment that receives the best results is used to send to the balance of the audience. Awesome, right?

So many times in life I wished I had known in advance what the results of any decision I made would be. Can you imagine if our brains had A/B testing? No more "what ifs.” While we don’t have that option available on a human level, we do have it on a technical level and can apply it to email campaigns.

It might seem a little daunting. Do I test this or that? Where do I even begin? There are three main components to the process of A/B testing:

  1. Set an objective.
  2. Determine how to execute the campaign.
  3. Make a decision based on results.

Think about what you want to achieve. Highest conversion rates? Highest click-through rate? Which day or time will provide the best results? Will the longer or shorter subject line be best?

Once you have determined what you want to achieve, what variants will you use to test? There are so many options, but it’s best to test only two variants at a time; then, wait a few days before sending the winning campaign. Whether you’re making that decision manually or it is automated, the results should prove fruitful.

Michelle Ashley is a 25-year marketing and advertising veteran specializing in B2B, publishing, and nonprofit industries.


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