Email Marketing Holiday Testing

Published on November 14th, 2011 | by Colleen Corkery

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Take a Walk into a Testing Wonderland

Testing for the HolidaysThe word “test” has a natural, negative connotation – it can evoke fear, anxiety, and/or spontaneous outbursts of crying (or maybe that’s just me?), and there’s even a technical term for the fear of tests called “Testophobia.” However, testing in the world of email marketing has quite the opposite effect. According to Anne Holland’s WhichTestWon.com, “A/B and multivariate testing can – on average – help lead generation marketers get 40% more leads…and e-commerce marketers can expect a 20-25% sales lift if they do a round of tests.” This sounds like joyous news to me!

During the holidays, emails in your inbox will also increase by more than 47% (according to the Email Experience Council), so since we’re all sending a little more cheer, it’s the right time to test. Plus, testing is as fun as giving presents (okay, that’s just the nerdy email marketer in me!), easier than losing holiday weight, and gives you invaluable information about your customers. So how in the mistletoe do you test an email? By conducting a very, merry split test. The number of ways you can test an email could be compared to the number of snowflakes in a blizzard – endless. So, start with these basics and you won’t get snowed-in:

1. Subject Line – This is one of the most important aspects of your email to test. If you were in a room full of presents (because this happens often), and could only choose one, which gift would you take? The most interesting, the biggest, the smallest? Either way, it needs to twinkle to catch one’s eye, just like a subject line in an inbox. Try a long vs. short subject line, include a sense of urgency vs. none, add some holiday puns to get into the spirit or keep it simple. The possibilities are endless.

2. Button Text & ColorsCall-to-action buttons can drastically increase your click-through rates. So, if you’re not using them already, jump on that sleigh-like bandwagon. Try changing the colors (green, blue, red, etc.) and/or use holiday-themed buttons (we have some free ones for you). Experiment with the text by including different call-to-action statements like “Get it Now,” “Get 50% Off,” “Save $20,” “Buy Now,” “Add to Cart.”

Buy Now Holiday-themed button
3. Content – The average online readership attention span lasts about 140 characters (hence, why sites like Twitter exist), so similar to your subject line; try long vs. short pieces of content; include testimonials vs. none; change the placement or order of your text and experiment with different writing styles.

4. The Offer – Holiday offers are going to be aplenty, so testing yours will give great insight as to what really stands out in the crowd. Try offering a percentage off the price vs. a dollar amount, or something for free/complimentary vs. reduced. Experiment with a clear call-to-action vs. a description of the offer. If at all possible, try increasing or decreasing the price or discount percentage you’re offering. Also experiment with sale time limits (i.e., two weeks vs. three days).Here are some testing dos and don’ts to try all year long:

  • Do: Test one thing at a time
  • Do: Take some risk
  • Do: Measure & track your results
  • Do: Test often
  • Do: Let us know how you’ll be testing your emails this holiday season
  • Don’t: Stop believing…in how effective and fun email testing can be!

© 2011 – 2014, Colleen Corkery. All rights reserved.

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is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



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