Every email marketer wants better open and click-through rates, but how do you do it?
While you might be tempted, as many email marketers are, to rely on your gut feeling, the problem with relying on assumptions and guesses is they’re not always going to be correct.
The key to success with email marketing is constantly testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Doing this can dramatically improve the quality of your email campaigns and result in higher open and CTRs, which in turn leads to more website visitors and sales.
One of the ways to optimise your email campaigns is to start A/B testing on your email campaign.
If you haven’t performed any A/B tests before, you might be unsure of what it involves, their benefits, and even what you should test. The good news is A/B testing is very straightforward and will be the basis of today’s blog post.
What is A/B testing, and why should email marketers use it?
A/B testing, also known as split testing, effectively determines which two campaign options are the most effective in encouraging opens or clicks.
In the context of email marketing, A/B testing involves sending one variation of an email to a segment of your subscribers and a different variation to another segment of subscribers, with the ultimate goal of working out which variant garners the best results.
Benefits of A/B Testing
By running regular A/B tests, you will gradually start improving your email marketing metrics, which are:
1. Improved user engagement.
By testing the factors that influence your open rate (for example, subject lines and preview text), you will better understand what resonates with your subscribers and target audience. This will allow you to optimise your future email campaigns to generate more opens.
2. Improved click rates.
As with your open rates, you will slowly but surely understand what type of content and links your subscribers tend to click on by testing the elements within your email campaigns. You can create future emails based on what you know your audience finds engaging.
3. Improved conversion rates and sales.
By improving your open and click rates, you’ll be driving more potential customers to your site. This will ultimately result in more sales and improved conversion rates.
When applying A/B testing to email marketing, there are many potential tests that you can run. These include:
Subject lines are one of the most crucial elements to test for email marketers.
Part of this is because they are easy to change, and most email marketers often have a few potential subject lines in mind.
Once you have decided on which two subject lines you want to test, and you have sent the email, the metric you’ll want to focus on is the open rate. While it is always worth paying attention to your click and conversion rate, your subject line is one of the few elements of your campaign that your subscribers will see before they open the email. The metric that will be impacted the most from experimenting with your subject line is your open rate.
Your preview text.
Your preview text is the additional line of text that accompanies your subject line, meaning it performs a similar job to your subject line.
Like when testing different variants of your subject line, the primary metric you’ll want to track when experimenting with your preview text is the open rate.
Your sender name is the name your subscribers see in their inbox of who sent the email. For most brands, this is usually just their name. Some brands, however, will add a bit of personality to their sender name by including the name of someone like their founder.
This is something that you can experiment with in any future email campaign. If you decide to run this type of A/B test, your open rate is the metric to focus on.
The timing of the emails.
It is common for email markers to fall into a habit of always sending their emails at the same time and on the same day each week. This can, however, have a significant impact on your open rate.
To know the best day to send emails, you should run some A/B tests where you vary the day or the week. You can also test the time of the day, for instance, morning or afternoon. Again, the primary metric to look at here is the open rate.
Call-to-action or CTAs are essential to any email. A CTA button at the end of an email grabs the subscriber’s attention and encourages them to act, whether that be to subscribe to a newsletter or visit your website.
Given how important it is, it is well worthwhile that you test the different variations of your CTA wording.
Since CTAs usually direct people to click through to a particular page, your click rate will be the metric they’ll influence the most.
Which landing pages do you funnel people to.
Speaking of CTAs, it is also worth testing which pages they direct your subscribers to. For instance, instead of linking to a product collection, connecting to a dedicated landing page for your current sale might be better.
As your subscribers usually don’t know exactly which page they’ll end up on until after they’ve clicked on the link, the metric you’d be looking at here is the conversion rate.
The length of your emails.
The length of your emails can vary; some marketers tend to prefer to send long emails that showcase their products, while others opt for shorter emails that are to the point.
In either case, you may want to see how your subscribers respond when you send them an email that’s longer or shorter and see how it impacts your click rate.
The overall email design.
Many factors go into your email design, including the layout, the type of font, whether you include images or videos, etc. Some email markers opt for plain text email – which is just as it sounds, plain text – while others use HTML emails, which use exciting fonts, photos and videos.
While plain text emails tend to perform better, this is still something you can experiment with and test using A/B testing.
A/B testing is a simple yet powerful way to improve your email campaigns.
When done regularly, you can constantly refine and optimise your email campaigns, maximising your open and click-through rates, increasing your conversion rates, and improving your subscriber’s overall experience.