10 Email Features You Should Be A/B Testing

Email marketing is one of the most important components of digital marketing, producing an average return of $40.56 per dollar invested. A handsome return indeed, but you can squeeze even more from email if you do A/B testing.

A/B testing gives you concrete evidence into what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to tailor your email marketing accordingly.

Though it seems impossible that marketers would forgo simple tests and leave money on the table, most do. Only 16 percent of marketers test email frequently.

Testing email should never stop because your list grows, readers’ habits change, and building off success benefits your bottom line.

But what does testing email mean?  Here’s a list of 10 email items to test and why they’re important:

1. ‘From’ lines

Your email gets judged even before people have an idea what it’s about. After all, how do you feel about opening an email from donotreply@RandomCompany.com?

Best practice dictates that you make your from line more personal. Experiment between having your company’s name there, the CEO’s, or a lower-level employee who’s an expert at the subject of the email.

2. Subject lines

Subject lines are often the reason people choose to open your email. Perhaps, it’s that reason that this is the most-tested email element.

Subject lines should be useful to the reader, instill urgency, are unique, and ultra-specific. That gives email marketers four things to test within a few dozen characters.

3. Segmentation

Segmenting email lists by demographics, purchasing behavior, and any of a number of other ways helps you get the most relevant information to your customers.

Emails sent to the wrong audience won’t convert. Consider changing up the content you provide to a specific list or perhaps segment it further. Creating a custom segmentation will help you get the right message to the right inbox.

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4. Calls to action

You made it one step closer to a sale by getting an open. Now you must nudge them to conversion with a call to action.

Using calls to action to conclude emails? People won’t see it if they only read the first few lines. Try moving it up. Also, test the wording of the call to action. A simple change from “Register now!” to “Register here!” (or vice versa) could make a difference.

5. Email length

Customers enjoy receiving well-written emails from companies they like. But if that email looks overwhelmingly long or is too short to answer their questions, they might not react how you want them to. Beef up or chop your emails and see how readers respond.

Email Marketing - A/B Testing

From recipes to upcoming events, this monthly newsletter from Heavy Seas beer provides a variety of content.

6. Content

If you’re open rates and click throughs are dropping, it could be a sign that your email has become stale. Try mixing it up with something new. Constantly offering discounts? Try offering some advice to help solve customers’ problems or offer a behind-the-scenes look of your business. New content could rekindle interest in your email.

7. Images and video

If you’re not using any media besides the written word, add pictures or videos. Using images or video in your email can increase click through rates.

If you are already using images and video, consider mixing up the topics. Perhaps spotlight an employee or show your product in use. Your business’s story may be better told in images.

8. Design

Perhaps, it’s time to spruce up your design. (By the way, Vocus offers more than 650 templates through its email platform.) Changes can range from new colors to additional columns. You never know when a simple change in readability will click with readers.

9. Schedule

Do you always send your email at 8 a.m. on Thursday? Try other days and times. If your email happens to hit customers at an inconvenient time or when other marketers send their emails, they won’t read it. Changing a few hours can drastically effect your open rate.

10. Landing page

This isn’t technically part of an email, but it’s a shame to let prospects wiggle off the hook because of a poor landing page. Experiment with your landing pages using many of the same ideas listed above.

Image: mpeterke (Creative Commons)

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