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25 ways to split (A/B) test your emails

You’ve probably heard of split (A/B) testing, but have you ever tried it? Split testing allows you to test two versions (an “A” and a “B”) of your email with your mailing list. The recipients’ interaction with the email (either opening the email or clicking a link in the email – your choice) decide the “winning” version. By trying different email content, senders or subject lines, split testing is a quick and easy way to get valuable feedback that can be used to improve your marketing message.

Sounds good, but not sure what to test? Below are 25 ideas to get you started…

Content

  • Use dynamic content to include a personalized greeting. Include the recipient’s first name in the header or the body of your email.
  • Test bulleted lists vs. paragraphs.
  • Use questions to engage the reader. “Have you read the latest bestseller?” vs. “New bestseller from John Doe available today.”
  • In a newsletter, rearrange the stories on the page or test two different “headline” stories against each other.
  • Add a personal touch to your content – perhaps include a customer testimonial or a quote from an online review.
  • Include a seasonal or holiday message. See the results of our holiday test…
  • Try a different tone. Test a fun or goofy message vs. a serious or straightforward version.

Creative

  • Change the colors, fonts or sizes of your images. Red vs. blue, or serif vs. sans-serif. Sometimes subtle differences can make a big difference.
  • If you use stock images, test illustrations vs. photographs.
  • Try using photos of “real” products or people (i.e. employees, customers) vs. stock photos.
  • Compare a graphical version of the email to a version that is text-only (one that appears to be personally written by the sender).
  • Use the same content, but create two versions of your email with different layouts. The drag-and-drop editor makes this easy.

Subject line

  • Try different subject lengths. “ClickDimensions newsletter” vs. “ClickDimensions Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Newsletter.”
  • Personalize a subject line using dynamic content. Include the recipient’s name or their company name.
  • Integrate a call to action into your subject line. “Sign up for our weekly webinar” or “Save 20% on your next visit with this coupon.”

Sender

  • Compare a generic email address (customerservice@email.com) vs. a personal address (john.doe@email.com).
  • Maybe even sending from the same email address, change the sender name from a person (John Doe) to your company name (ABC Computers).
  • Try sending a version of the email from a recognizable person in your company (perhaps the CEO?). Follow this tip to prevent the sender from getting a slew of out-of-office responses.

Call to action

  • Try different phrases to see which call to action converts more readers. “Buy now” vs. “Add to cart,” or “Download the whitepaper” vs. “Read more here.”
  • Change the color, size or placement of the call to action.
  • Test different sales propositions. “10% off your order” vs. “Get the first month free.”
  • Compare buttons vs. hyperlinked text.
  • Include a sense of urgency in your call to action. “Sale ends Friday” vs. “All products on sale.”
  • Compare one strong call to action vs. giving the reader multiple options.
  • Change the size and/or placement of your social sharing icons.

Ready to give it a try? Click here for more information about analyzing your split test results. Happy marketing!

About the Author:

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Heather Robertson is Senior Director of Partner Marketing and Programs at ClickDimensions.

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