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HomeMARKETINGA/B Testing In Email Marketing: A Brief Guide

A/B Testing In Email Marketing: A Brief Guide

Testing and measuring different hypotheses to define effective, data-driven strategies should be the routine of all marketers. One way to try to test what works and what doesn’t is to carry out A/B tests: actions that will help us conclude what best converts or stimulates the user, as it is possible to test all the variations that it’s recommended. Today we talk about A/B testing in email marketing to explore the potential of testing communications or marketing actions via email.

What Is An A/B Test?

An A/B test is the variation of an element within an email marketing campaign to compare which option generated the most engagement or conversions.

What To Test In An Email Campaign

A/B testing allows you to experiment with everything we see in an email:

  1. Call to action (example: “Buy now!” vs. “View plans and prices”)
  2. Subject (Example: “Product XYZ on sale” vs. “Discounts on product XYZ”)
  3. Testimonials to include (or whether to include them at all)
  4. Message layout (example: single column versus two columns or different placement for different elements)
  5. Personalization (example: “Mr. Smith” vs. “Joe”)
  6. Body of the text
  7. Header
  8. Images
  9. The specific offer (example: “Save 20%” vs. “Get free shipping”).

Each of the items listed above affects different parts of the conversion process. As you can imagine, the call to action will have a direct impact on the number of people who purchase your product or click on the page inserted as a link, while the subject will influence the percentage of recipients who open the email. The first choice to make therefore concerns the element (one and only one) on which to carry out the test; for example, if there are not many recipients who are opening your emails, it will be wise to start with an A/B test on the subject.

How Do You Plan A Campaign With A/B Testing?

If you want to create a campaign with A/B testing, you must take into account some factors so that the results are as reliable as possible and that there are no external factors that can influence the results. First of all, it is important to know that it is possible to carry out only one type of test per campaign; for example, if you want to test the sending time, it will not be possible to make other changes to the content of the email. 

Or, if you want to test the content, you don’t have to send the campaigns at different times. Additionally, when testing content, you should test one factor at a time to ensure you are assigning a certain impact to the correct variable. Finally, it is good to use a considerable volume of the database so that the sample will be as reliable as possible. There are many ways to divide the chosen segment, but the most common are:

  1. Test 20% of the total volume selected: Test A is sent to 10% and Test B to another 10%. The winning test is automatically sent to the remaining 80% of the segment.
  2. Test 100% of the total volume selected: Test A is sent to 50% of the segment and Test B to 50% of the segment.

What Elements Can We Test?

The most common elements for testing different variations are:

  1. Subjects: questions, icons, titles, tone, language…
  2. Position of a given module: at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end.
  3. Call to action (CTA) colors
  4. Images: people, landscapes, vectors, infographics…

As can be seen, when testing email marketing campaigns, there are many options on which to draw firm conclusions from what were previously just hypotheses. This activity will help you advance your email marketing strategy and learn what works best in your industry and with your audience.

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