Email Elements You Should Be A/B Testing Jessica Lunk We’ve already stressed the importance of split testing your emails. As I mentioned before, it’s a continuous process that can deliver astounding results to your email campaigns. But it can also take a lot of time to see results, as well as plenty of creative thinking in coming up with ideas for your split tests. It takes commitment and creativity, but the returns are worth the time. If you’re clear on the importance but don’t know where to start, here are several A/B tests you can try today. Subject Line The subject line is the most A/B tested element in email marketing. There’s nothing surprising about it; in order to see any results from your email campaigns, you first need to get your customers to open them. Your subject line is the key to open rates. There are several elements you can test here. They include a normal sentence versus a question, using urgency, specific power-words (e.g. SALE, DISCOUNT, BONUS, AMAZING, etc.), or even symbols and emojis. Long vs. Short Copy This is actually one of the longest-lasting debates in copywriting. Which performs better, long or short copy? The answer is, it’s individual to your customer, so split test it yourself. In general, you shouldn’t have fluff in your copy and whether to even test the length depends on the promotion and the complexity of it. A simple welcome email doesn’t need to be tested for long copy. But a specific promotion could yield different results if A/B tested for length. Test to see if your audience will click through to a landing page to learn more, or if providing all of the details upfront in the email copy results in more conversions. Call-to-Action The CTA is another classic A/B test. Test different sizes, colors, positions, designs, and CTA copy. Do your customers better convert with highly specific CTA or something that implies urgency? If you’re not giving your customers a reason to click, your email is a waste. Your Offer “Mediocre copy and a good offer will outpull great copy and a mediocre offer any day of the week. Make a good offer and if your grammar is incorrect, if your spelling is bad, or even if you have orange type on a green background, it could still work.” David Garfinkel, Breakthrough Copywriting As the quote above suggests, a great offer matters the most. A/B testing can help you determine what is a ‘great offer,’ in the case of your customers. You can start by testing different offers e.g. webinar vs. eBook or discount vs. free trial. Sender’s Name The ‘From:’ field can be equally or more important than the Subject Line when it comes to improving your open rates. You don’t care about the subject line as much if you get an email from a trusted source, right? You can test a variety of names. For example, company vs. person, full name vs. first name only, male vs. female, etc. Layout and Format Layout is very important because it determines the flow of your copy. A good layout highlights the important points, isn’t distracting, and leads the reader towards taking action. A good way to start is by testing single column vs. multiple columns, paragraph lengths, or different placement elements like images, CTA’s, trust marks, and so on. Timing & Frequency An average office worker gets over 120 emails a day. Among all of those emails, timing can make a big difference in whether or not you get their attention. In fact, you can even segment your email subscribers based on timing and the frequency of the emails. For example, different segments may better respond on different days of the week. Likewise, some subscribers prefer fewer, while others prefer more frequent emails. Time of day, day of the week, and frequency are a good way to start. You can also test timing of emails for particular trigger events or timing around it. E.g. after browsing certain products on your website or visiting a conversions page without converting. The Audience The success of your email campaigns isn’t just determined by what your emails look like or what they say, but also to whom they are sent. For example, some customer segments may respond well to a particular offer, while others may just be bothered by it. Split testing is a great way to determine the right segmenting of your email campaigns; and it can have a dramatic impact on your results. Among the things you want to split test are interest, different customer personas, level of engagement, sales cycle stage, or general demographics like location, gender, and job title. Don’t Forget You probably have a ton of new ideas for split testing your emails now, but remember to always split test one thing at a time. The key is to isolate your variables and correlate the changes in your results to that particular variable. Finally, split testing is a continuous process, not a one-off event. To see results or improvements can take a lot of A/B testing and a lot of time. So don’t give up!