VerticalResponse Blog

Test Your Email

To stick with the “10” theme for VR’s 10th Birthday this month, here are 10 things you can test in your email to make it better than ever.

  1. From Name: The most effective From Name is what your recipients recognize you by or expect to hear from. Not sure what that is? TEST IT!
  2. Subject Line: Send 10% of your email list one subject line, and another 10% a different subject line. Then, look at which subject line performs better and send the remaining 80% the more successful subject line. Easy as pie!
  3. Pre-Header: Your pre-header should support or complement your subject line. For example, your subject line tells your recipients you’re having a sale (Get 50% Off for a Limited Time Only) and your pre-header explains to the recipient what items are on sale (Save on Designer Jeans & Jackets).
  4. Headline: Your headline should clearly explain what your email is about and what’s in it for the recipient.
  5. How You State Your Offer: Are you promoting a half off sale? 50% off? Buy One Get One FREE? The way you say it can affect the success – so make sure to test it before you go full throttle!
  6. Button vs. Text Link: At VR we have found people like to click on buttons more than text links in our emails and newsletters. Click here to easily create and add buttons to your emails and see if it’s the same for you.
  7. Color of Your Button/CTA: If you get the VRBuzz, you may have noticed a change in the button color. That’s because we tested blue buttons vs. green buttons and green was the lucky winner! Test your button color and see what color your recipient’s eye is more drawn to.
  8. Placement of Call to Action: Test where you put your Call to Action in your email and/or how many you include. Your click-through rate will help you determine what worked and what didn’t.
  9. Images: Test how many images you have, where you put them and what images you use. Remember to always use alt-text too!
  10. Testimonials: Test to see if customer testimonials help your emails perform better. If not, use the space for something that’s more effective!

You can also, check out one of our guides: Testing, Testing 1,2,3: Email Testing for Everyone on the VR Guides Page to learn more about testing different elements of your emails. Good luck and let us know what works!

© 2011 – 2013, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • gintautas

    Great post!Makes everybody have chance to try it!

  • AJ


    Great tips!
    The basics are pure gold.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Craig

    Don’t forget the PS. Studies consistently prove the power in ending an email with a meaningful PS.

  • Roger @ GraphicPlex

    Thank you for the useful post. I agree with others that this test will be better with a larger list. Yet, smaller lists can still benefit as they grow into a larger one. The word “free” as Peter mentioned can trigger spam filters, but that really depends on which autoresponder service your working with too. Some have contracts allowing email to pass and others just don’t.

  • MarketSecretsBlogger

    This requires you to already have a decent sized list to be able to test each of these parameters or a nice budget for highly responsive solo emailings.
    And if one is going to use their list to test each one of these, then they have to be careful so as not to annoy their subscribers by sending the same email over and over -with just a few tweaks here and there for the testing 😉

  • Kim


    Hi Levi! Check out the VerticalResponse Button Builder to vreate CTA buttons for your emails:

  • Levi

    Your link for making your own button is nice, but uses javascript and won’t work in e-mails according to the site. “Keep in mind that these buttons are built with javascript and cannot be embedded in an email.”

  • Peter Lebovitz

    I was under the impression that using the word “Free” in an email will trigger spam filters. Can anyone expand on this?

  • DB


    Great post, I’ll pose an interesting question:
    If you could only pick 3 things to test within an email campaign, what would they be? Given that there are so many different variables one can test I think this would be pretty difficult!
    I’d probably choose the Subject Line, the time of Send, and the words used in your central Call to Action!

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