Why you should split test your emails

Email is undoubtedly an effective form of marketing. However, in the absence of the right strategy, you could be alienating prospects, targeting the wrong demographics, and losing out on potential revenue streams.

A simple way to refine your email marketing is to use split testing. By carrying out split testing each time you send out a new email campaign, you’ll continually improve your messaging and have greater appeal amongst your target audience.

Split testing explained

Split testing, or A/B testing, involves sending one version of your latest email campaign to a sub-section of your mailing list while sending another version to a different sub-section. The idea is to find out which version of your campaign gets the best results.

While this might sound easy, there are many elements you could change in your A/B testing. For example, you can do anything from simply adapting the email subject line to using completely different email templates. With your testing complete, you will then discover which version generated the most click-throughs.

Know your audience

Before you start split testing, you need to understand your target audience. Think about buyer personas, and the age, location and gender of your mailing list. Could you market your business differently according to these demographics? If so, it’s time to get serious about A/B testing and perhaps consider email list segmentation, too.

How to create a split test

Tools like Campaign Monitor are great for creating simple A/B tests. The email builder within this service allows you to create two different emails before testing it on different sub-sets of your mailing list. Once the test has been run, the software sends the ‘winning’ email to the remainder of your list.

Other marketing email services, such as Mailchimp, can also perform similar tasks. In fact, it’s rare to see an email provider that doesn’t offer A/B testing!

What to test in your marketing email

Think about the content of your email. Now consider that almost all of it can be adapted for A/B testing.
The following components of your marketing email can – and should – be split-tested regularly:

1) Subject lines

The humble subject line is one of the most prominent elements of any marketing email. It’s the first thing that prospects on your mailing list will see, so you need to give them a compelling reason to open your email. Think about length, word order and personalisation of the subject line (for example, should you include the recipient’s name?).

2) Visuals

Images work for some emails, but not all. For example, a clothing retailer might want to include several images linking back to products, whereas a financial services company might prefer to stick to factual information. Split testing can be useful in determining how your audience responds to images.

3) Copy

In the age of the smartphone, the average attention span of a human being has plummeted. So, your email copy needs to be to the point and immediately grab the attention of your readers. With multiple A/B tests, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the copy that works for your audience.

Literally every component of your marketing content – including the number of links you include, your call to action, the time/day you send the email, and your tone of voice – can have a huge effect on response rates.

For more advice on digital marketing for your business, contact our friendly team or book onto one of our training courses!

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