Testing Email Campaigns

Testing Your Email Campaigns – Why you should test every email campaign.

One of the great things about email marketing is that you can test and measure results quickly. Sometimes, within minutes of sending a campaign you can tell whether it’s working or not.

A recent study found that 37% did not test any part of their email campaigns.

Testing Email Campaigns – It doesn’t need to be complex

Testing does not need to be a difficult process involving complex algorithms. It can be as simple as testing one subject line against another. A simple A/B split test can provide useful information that can then be used in the next campaign.

By just testing something as simple as a subject line you could notice a difference in open rates, what potentially positive impact could that have on your campaign?

What should I be testing?

Subject lines: An important part of your email campaign, it has a big sway in your email actually getting opened. If you can segment your list then you can send specific lines to certain segments.

Offers – Price testing, discount codes, free downloads. Price testing is a great way to quickly and easily test pricing for new products or changing the pricing of existing ones.

Calls to action – Really important this one, it can make the difference between someone clicking through from your email and them not. You can test text Vs image call to actions – text links as opposed to a banner. Where in the email do you place the links? (I would always recommend adding one high up in the email, above the ‘fold’ of the preview pane) and what do the call to actions say.

Length of email – Short versus long copy, images versus no images.

Layout – Fonts, images, position of copy or ads, style can all be tested. Does your email reflect your brand? Is the design of your email consistent with that of your other marketing? Does it need to be?

Timing – Time of day How often – If you go by common industry thought, B2B send early in the week (Mon/Tues) and B2C later in the week (Thurs/Fri) however this may not be true at all, you might find this completely turned on its head.

What time of day do you send, first thing in the morning so it’s in the inbox for 8.30 or later in the evening when people are perhaps catching up on email after the kids have gone to bed and the washing up has been done?

How often depends on what type of email you send. You need to tell subscribers when they are going to receive you email, e.g. while you are testing to say ‘weekly’ would be fine, once you know what day gets the best response then you can tell them when to expect your email.

Does sending at a weekend work? Or is everyone too busy having fun to be sat checking their emails?

Who is your email from – This has an effect on your reputation too so be sure to get this one right. Do your emails come from your company name or brand or from an individual person within the company.

How to test your email marketing

Random test – You may have a large data base, so you could test just a small random segment of your list and roll out the winning test to the rest of your list.

A/B split test – or A/B/C testing, depending on the variable. For example you could test 3 subject lines to see which one gets the better open rate, useful if you are doing email campaigns to third party lists. A/B price test, £5.99 Vs £7.99

Creative testing – design two different versions of your email campaign and test one against the other to find out which version converts better.


Phil Monk

I am a email marketing consultant with over 10 years experience running B2C, B2B and eCommerce campaigns. I’ve also run and managed SEO and PPC campaigns

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