What Do I Test?
There are three primary elements to test with email:
What you say refers to the content.
How you say it references the design of your email.
And when you say it is all about delivery.
A/B Testing Steps
Send to a Test Batch
If you’re testing a single campaign, focus on a sample. The number of recipients will depend on the size of your list and what you are trying to achieve. For instance, send a test to approximately 10% of your list, assuming that equals at least a couple thousand people.
Again, you want a large enough sample to get an accurate picture of success. Once you’ve determined the winning campaign, deploy that version to the rest of your list.
Perform a 50/50 Split
If you’re testing time sensitive offers, test different offers. Set up two versions of your email campaign and split your list in two. Make sure this split is done at random (done automatically in most ESPs and included in our email marketing solution, Marketing Campaigns) as you don’t want to skew your results. In this case, focus on conversions as your metric for success and use these results to determine your future offers.
Monitor Opens and Clicks
If you’re testing automated emails or transactional emails, focus on the results. Since the content in these emails remains consistent, you can focus more on response rates to test success.
A/B Testing Quiz
Test your knowledge of A/B testing by completing the quiz below before moving onto the Call to Action Section:
You should test as many variables as possible during an A/B TestTrue False
Only test one variable at a time so that you know there are no other factors affecting your results.
Your from address is the first element that your readers see when they view your emailTrue False
The from address is your first opportunity to build trust and a relationship with your user, so use this space wisely. Consider and test out whether or not you want to include a personal or brand name. But most importantly, once you decide on a winner, stay consistent.
Images may cause rendering issues with your emailTrue False
Images are one of the more problematic elements of email and digital marketing in general. Don’t discount the use of photos in your campaigns, but make sure you are testing your emails within different browsers and devices.
A statistical significance of 80% is enough to determine a winner of an A/B TestTrue False
If you discover a statistical significance of 95%, you can feel confident that you’ve discovered the winner of that test.
You should always perform your A/B Test at the same time and dayTrue False
If you’re not sending at the same time and day of week, you are introducing other factors into your A/B test that might be affecting the results. Be consistent!
Key A/B Takeaways
The primary design decision when creating CTAs is whether to use a text link or a button. When considering which to use, look beyond the aesthetics and think about how your subscribers will view your email message.
Take into account which device your subscribers are using (web, smartphone, tablet, etc.). Images can show up differently (and sometimes not at all), making it imperative that you design your email to accommodate the majority of your subscriber base.
The most important thing is that your call to action is clearly visible and actionable. Focus on functionality, but employ workarounds to give you the look and feel you desire. For instance, instead of using an image for a CTA button, build it in HTML to be sure the majority of your subscribers can actually see it.
You could, alternatively, use both. Include a text link and a button to give you the best of both worlds. And never underestimate the power of alt tags to get your user to download images.
Tasting Room, a mail-order wine club, does a great job of combining plain text with a button CTA to keep the reader engaged and aware of special credits when they refer friends to a membership.
Key CTA Takeaways
✓ Focus on CTA placement, content, and design: Your call to action is the strongest, most important piece of content you will ever include in your email. Therefore, take time to consider its placement, wording, and design when conceiving your email messages.
✓ Use your creativity: It’s hard to believe that one button could have so much power, but if you plan right, you can significantly increase email engagement and conversion. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity to highlight your brand, create urgency, and build excitement.
✓ Test your CTAs: The only way to truly know if your CTA is as good as it can be is to continuously test and monitor your results–a large reason why covering A/B testing and CTAs together will help you improve your entire email program.
✓ Monitor your results: If you remain open to the results of your tests and engage your users with captivating CTAs, you’ll be on your way to high-performing and converting email marketing campaigns.
Optimizing both your A/B testing and CTA strategy provides a powerful way for you to 1) measure your email performance and 2) provide persuasive and valuable email content. Focusing on the strategies and tips discussed in this guide will help you as you continuously iterate and improve your email program. Happy sending!
For more on both A/B Testing and CTAs, listen to our webinar with our own in-house email marketing experts:
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