Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Eli Menaker1
3 Ways to Improve Your Emails Through A/B Split Testing
There isn’t one right way to compose, design and send an email marketing campaign. The success of a single email can depend on everything from the time of day you send, to the colors you choose for your call-to-action buttons. So how can you be sure you’re getting the most engagement possible out of your emails?
The answer is A/B split testing. A/B testing allows you to get a sense of what your customers respond to by dividing your email campaigns randomly into two or more groups. You send one email to one group, and another email with only a single specific change to the second group. By looking at the results of your opens, clicks or conversions, you can tell which style, content or timing had the better results or, if there wasn’t any difference at all. Below are three quick and easy A/B split tests you can perform on your next email that could help increase your customer engagement.
What’s one of the most powerful ways to keep people reading? Questions. Asking questions can have a very positive effect on your open rates. By asking an intriguing question, especially in a subject line, you pull in your readers who become curious and want to learn more. Questions in subject lines often prove more powerful than simple statements. In a recent A/B Split Test, we sent out two identical emails with different subject lines.
The email, which included an offer for a unique email design template, was sent to about 14,000 people. The two subject lines we tested were: “Want an email as unique as your business?” vs. “Get an email as unique as your business.” We sent the email through a random sample; 50% of our customers received one of the subject lines, and 50% received the other.
Our results showed a 1.4% higher open rate on the email that asked the question and 0.3% more clicks on links from those who received the question. This shows that those who opened the email with the question were more likely to read the content.
Questions starting with “Did you know…” and “Do you want…” are great ways to catch your readers’ attention and get them to keep reading.
2) Calls to Action
“Get Started with A/B Testing Now!” Calls to action (CTAs) are one of the most important parts of an email. They tell your readers what you want them to do. Once you’ve brought them into your email with your subject line, and outlined your content or your offer, the final step and the gateway to your landing page or link goes through your CTA.
CTAs are usually best placed on a clickable button. VerticalResponse makes this easy with our Web Button Generator. But finding the right CTA for your email can require a little testing. While common CTAs like “Buy Now” and “Get the Deal” are effective in a lot of cases, customizing your CTA to fit your email and content can really help drive clicks. Below are a few examples of CTA buttons we’ve used in the past to increase clicks in our emails. Toy around with various CTAs and test different buttons in your emails to see what gets the best response.
The right image is worth a thousand clicks. Well maybe not a thousand, but interesting, funny and engaging images that directly relate to your content can be a great way to draw your readers eye. A/B testing images in your emails is simple and quick. Once you’ve got your email nearly finished, your content, subject line and buttons are all in place, find a few images you think are relevant and interesting to your customers. Aim for images that can be understood at a quick glance and directly relate to what you’re selling or offering. Test a serious straightforward image against a goofy one. Test an action shot vs a static one. This is a fun way to get the pulse of your readers to see what types of images they respond to and how your images can drive engagement.
A final note about A/B split testing – it’s never final. A/B testing is never done. There is no end to what can be tested and what knowledge can be gleaned from testing. It may take a little extra time to make a copy of your email, make adjustments and split test, however the time spent will be worth it when you see your results and are able to turn those results into action. If something works well in a few A/B split tests keep doing it, and move on to test another aspect of your email. Have fun with it and get creative… or Start A/B testing today and improve your email engagement. I wonder which one is the better final sentence?
Have you done any split testing with your emails? Let us know how it went in the comments!
© 2013, Eli Menaker. All rights reserved.