By John Allen
Email split testing isn’t spoken about enough when it comes to creating a good email marketing campaign. Yet, firms that do practice it often see a big difference in return. Employing split testing as part of your marketing creates more leads. It can boost marketing team efficiency and help in churn reduction. So, it’s well worth investing the time and effort into it.
But what exactly is split testing?
Let’s say you are creating a campaign for your latest product. Naturally, you will want to send out emails to promote that product, so you write up a suitable marketing email. That is your original, or control, email. But you don’t know if that email is guaranteed to sell the best it can. Therefore, you create another email about the product that is exactly the same, just with one small change. This is the variant or variation email.
It might be that you alter the call to action or the subject line. Or even just the color scheme. Whatever it is, you want to find out if that one change can make a big difference. You could have ten thousand email marketing ideas, and that’s great in general. But split testing is really focused on just altering one thing – meaning you don’t need to throw all those new ideas in there at once.
What is The Point of Split Testing?
Otherwise known as A/B testing, split testing is great for any kind of marketing. It’s basically just about seeing what works with your customers specifically and means you aren’t guessing all the time.
Data driven email marketing, powered audience segmentation, helps you to understand the content that works based on genuine insights. Which helps speed up any future marketing you do. It also means that from the get-go, you are getting people to open more emails and can get more specific responses from customers.
Here is how to conduct split email testing that works.
Change The Subject Line
Apart from the email sender, the subject line is one of the first things people see with an email. A good subject line will have people opening up straight away, whilst a bad one will send a message straight to the trash. So, it’s important to get it right, and split testing in this area is a great way to do this.
Whilst the subject line must always say what the content of the email is, it’s still okay to experiment a little. Of course, how you do this will depend on the type of firm you are. Say, for example, your company focuses on being the top business phone system in the industry on cloud call center . Changing your subject line to mention the weather probably won’t make a difference. Whilst talking about the latest tech trends probably will.
Otherwise, there are some general changes that businesses can make regardless of their focus. For example, changing the length of the subject line can make a big difference. So, you can try making it longer or shorter. Although 6-10 words tends to work the best.
Lots of companies are now also testing out using emojis in their subject lines. Again, the success of doing this will largely depend on the type of firm you are. Using email campaigns to drive sales should always reflect on your brand and customer. And this includes the decision to use emojis in a subject line.
If you are a fashion brand aimed at teenagers then emojis will probably go down well. Yet, if you are a firm selling life insurance then you may want to think twice.
Again, split testing will help you find what works best.
Experiment With a Headline
Most content tends to have a headline and as an audience, we are used to seeing them on blogs, newspapers, and even new products. But it could be that your customers are more interested in reading emails without a heading. Maybe the heading isn’t matching up to the content too well. Perhaps the title is too wordy. Or it could even be that when it comes to using mass email services a heading is making things look too formal.
Or at the same time, it could be that having a heading is drawing in more readers. You won’t find out until you do some split testing with and without a heading, to find out.
Let’s say you are a florist, and you want to send out an email about house plants. You could try creating a bold, eye-catching headline like, “The Best House Plants To Brighten Up A Dull Room”. This can be your control email. You can then split test and send out another email without the headline and see which gets the best return.
Once you have the results, you can alter your emails accordingly. It may even help with setting up automated emails, as you will know whether to add in a headline or not.
Try Mixing Up The Email Copy
As the copy is the part that draws your audience into your firm, it’s important to keep people engaged and interested. Therefore, it helps to split test emails to see how customers are interacting with the actual copy. Just remember not to change things up too much or you won’t be getting accurate results on the changes that are working.
In terms of the actual content, you should do some research between long and short-form content. And you can also try adding some urgency to your email to persuade people to buy a product ASAP.
Let’s say you are sharing a blog called, “How to choose the best virtual contact centere software for your business”. The aim of it is to promote your virtual call center software or business. You could try adding a big red “click here to see our latest offers” button. Or you could try the same wording but in a less dramatic way. You could even try the big red button thing but with the wording, “What are you waiting for? Check out our latest virtual call center software”
The choice of copy and wording is up to you, but split testing will give you an accurate idea of what pushes people to click through.
Change The Design
The design of an email is the part that adds personality to both the message and who you are as a company. So, you need to ensure it is reflecting on your brand and sending out the right message. With that in mind, people react differently to varied designs, and split testing can help you figure out the kind that will get the most attention.
Let’s say that you run a business phone firm and you are sending an email about small business phone plans. You could try sending one email with a photo and one without. Or you may want to add in one photo of a person handling employees and another with the headshot of the CEO.
Alternatively, you may want to use brighter colors or change the layout. Again, think about your audience and what you sell, and then reflect on this when making changes.
When experimenting in this way, it might help to incorporate some manual testing concepts. This helps check that images are loading properly and that colors are good. When doing this, you may realize that the reason people weren’t responding well to photos in the email is simply that they weren’t showing up. Rather than that the customers didn’t like them.
Try Videos and Links
It’s good to see whether your audience enjoys extra content through your emails or not. You can find out if people react well to videos or if they click on hyperlinks through split email testing.
Because videos and hyperlinks are great ways of pushing extra products, it’s good to see how people respond. And this goes for all types of emails, as well as product and content emails.
For example, say you are sending out order confirmation emails. You can test adding in videos about similar products that people may have missed out on. Or you can attach hyperlinks to track their order and your latest range.
But, at the same time, people just may not respond to these things. Some people respond well to visuals and links and others don’t. Split testing will help you find out the answer.
How To Split Test
So, now you know where to experiment with split testing, let’s think about how to do it. It’s good to pick a section of your email list to test with. Bigger groups with a cross-section of interests will give better results. A good number of testers is around 1000 subscribers.
Remember, split testing requires patience, and you won’t get accurate results straightway. So, a little patience will go a long way. Use your common sense when experimenting. Wait until you think you have good feedback before sending the ‘right’ email to the rest of your customers.
Split testing is an excellent way to take your firm further and get a deeper understanding of your clientele. There are some things you can predict when it comes to email campaigns. With split testing, you may end up surprising yourself with what works and what doesn’t.
About the Author
John Allen is the Director of SEO for 8×8, a leading communication platform with integrated IVR, contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. John is a marketing professional with over 14 years experience in the field, and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, and a myriad of services. This is his LinkedIn.