Email A/B Testing

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What are the benefits of email marketing?

Forms of A/B testing have been around longer than the digital age. In fact, it’s the same logic that’s applied by scientists to test different theories. It allows advertisers to test variations of the same thing, to compare results and see what works best.

The beauty of A/B split testing in a live environment, such as web or email, is the results are unbiased and completely natural. The tests can be presented to a random portion of your existing audience and the outcome can be acted upon immediately – giving you the most targeted form of communication possible.

The best thing about A/B testing in the online space is it’s almost cost-neutral, apart from the time to plan and implement the campaign (these costs are usually associated with the additional creative work involved).

What exactly is A/B split testing?

Honestly, it’s exactly as it sounds. It’s creating two variations of the same thing (version A and version B), usually with one or two small differences, and presenting each version to a small sample of your entire database.

Based on their success, which is usually classed by open rates or click through rates, the remainder of the database will then receive the winning version. The difference between the two versions can be as major or minor as the marketer wants, including any or all of the elements listed below.

On a website the same method applies. A website manager can test two variations of the same page to determine which one generates the best results, and then use that page permanently to improve the user experience.

What elements can you split test?

Thanks to advances in email marketing solutions, it’s very easy to split-test almost any and all elements within an email. Below are just a few key elements that are commonly used in A/B split testing:

  • Subject lines
  • Headings
  • Sub-headings
  • General copy/text
  • Images
  • Colour schemes
  • Testimonials
  • Call to action buttons
  • Call to action copy
  • Contact information
  • Links

How to conduct an A/B split test using email?

The way you plan and conduct an email A/B split test campaign will vary step-by-step depending on the email provider you use for your business.

The first step should always be to plan out what you are hoping to achieve. First you need to identify what the end goal of your email campaign is, whether to increase traffic to your website, make sales, encourage customer enquiries or just boost brand loyalty.

Once you have established what you want the email to achieve, you can think about the different ways this could be achieved. You can choose to A/B split test multiple variations that are entirely different, or if you are happy with a particular version of communication then you can play around with specific elements.

Important: If you are planning an A/B split test campaign, remember that it’s not just about changing one or multiple elements – sometimes it can be just as important to change the layout and order of elements displayed, testing whether things make a difference when sitting “above the fold”.

Is A/B testing worth investing in?

With the advanced capabilities of most email solutions, the low costs associated with conducting an A/B split test is definitely worth spending time on. Simply trying a couple of different variations on your next email could drastically change the success of the entire campaign.

If you are serious about converting sales online, then A/B split testing is something you should look into.

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