Email marketing is an excellent channel for action-based tactics and results oriented strategy. After each campaign, marketers are able to get quick pulse checks on success with early results like Open Rates, Click Through Rates and other data. And, success builds over time with attribution happening days, weeks and even months after an email deploys. But what if the results could have been even better?
In this blog post, we will outline some simple tests to implement that will help get more eyes on marketing messages, get more clicks from emails and prove ROI from campaigns.
Subject Line Tests are great ways to ensure that the majority of the audience gets the subject line that is most likely to get the audience to take the first step toward conversion: opening the email.
10/10/80 Split Test
- This is a relatively simple test to activate, and it gives 90% of the audience a “winning” subject line. To set up the test, simply split out 20% of the audience and give them two different subject lines. Let the test run for at least 3 hours to give enough time to open, and then optimize by sending the remaining 80% of the list the winning subject line.
Once an email is opened, it’s up to the content to drive the hook for a click through. Often, the end-game for an email is not in the email itself, but conversion on a website or in an App. Structuring tests within the email can provide the insight needed into how to best deliver offers, creative and design for customers.
A/B Promo Positioning Tests
- Percentage or Dollars off? This is a question that has plagued marketers. The answer is not always the same, even within the same dataset. Deploy the campaign with a 50/50 positioning split to the segments identified as right for the offer (50% of the audience receives one way of describing the offer, and 50% gets the other). Then, retest the positioning for future campaigns with different threshold levels and different segments. After three or four tests, you should be able to glean trends in the database for how to position sales and promotions.
A/B Animation and Innovation Tests
- If the user needs to click out of the email to convert, an email needs to be interesting enough to get attention, but not so interesting it depletes actual conversion rates. 50/50 split test animations and interactions against default layouts to determine if animation takes away from the end-goal of the campaign. Sometimes, animated GIFs and other strategies can keep customers in the email so long they simply close it out. Other times, animation drives the customer’s curiosity, so they are enticed to click through to get the payoff from the tease in the message. Finding the right balance and knowing what works for your business is key.
Proving Email’s Value
Does email work? Of course. But, how do you know for sure? It may come as a surprise, but we’re going to tell you not to email all of your subscribers.
Hold Out Groups
- At a program level or on a campaign level, hold out a small percentage of your audience and monitor for lift for the “exposed” or “test” audience (those who received the email) against the “control” (those who did not).
- By holding out subscribers from one campaign, you will be able to gauge the incrementality of that marketing message.
- By holding out a set of subscribers for longer and multiple messages, you will be able to judge the value of the email program overall, and the value of a subscriber.
How to Start
- Identify. Take a look at your email program and decide where you can make the most impact with the least amount of effort. (Often, that’s starting with a 10/10/80 split test for Subject Line optimization.)
- Design. Write a test plan where you identify the goal, hypothesis and KPI’s to measure success. Knowing what you’re looking to accomplish at the outset will help to sell through any pushback that may be given for increased work and effort to launch.
- Monitor. Do not just send tests and let optimizations happen automatically (if your platform optimizes like that). Be sure to analyze the results for trends.
- Retest. Testing is never done; nothing is ever perfect. This is not meant to sound like a bad thing, but it’s true. Everything that’s done well can be done better. Retest winning results against new ideas and find even better ways to optimize your email campaigns.