The start of a new year usually brings on reflection. How did the year go? What went wrong… what went right? What was ok, and could have been better? Hopefully during the year and through your marketing endeavors, you did testing. It’s scary to start something new – who knows how it will work, right? That’s why testing is so important. It allows you to try new things without all of the uncertainty. Email testing is a great way to get your feet wet if you’re thinking about starting to test the way you do things in your marketing campaign.
Email marketing is a large part of many of our campaigns and what brings in a significant number of attendees to our events. You don’t want to change up too many things because if it doesn’t work the way you think it will, it can have a huge impact on end results. Testing for email an easy way to see what will get more opens, clicks, conversions, etc. without throwing the ‘old’ ways to the wayside completely. As long as you have enough records that will give you a solid testing group, there are many testing options. In a nutshell, you’ll have two options that go out at the same time on the same day to equal amounts of people. Whichever performs the best is the version that gets sent out to the remaining majority of records. Easy, right? Keep in mind what you’re trying to increase… open rates, click through rates, conversions. That will help determine what to test.
Here are a few different things you can do with email testing:
1. Subject lines
If they don’t open the email to begin with, they won’t do what we want them to do… whether it’s sign up for a newsletter, register for an event, or buy something. Some say you should spend more time on the subject line itself than the actual email. It’s that important. This is your chance to find a subject line that will work the best and get more people to open your email. After you think about what will speak to your audience and what you want them to do, come up with two subject lines. One can be along similar lines of what you have been using, and another can be more humorous perhaps? This is where I like to see if my audience has a sense of humor. I’ll use a subject line that has typically worked in the past, then come up with one that is a little less traditional to see if that will pique their interest. Whichever version gets more open rates… we have a winner!
2. Email Formats
How do you know if a particular email format is working as well as it could be? Is it easy to follow, is the image to text ratio working? Try testing your format. You’ll need to set up your email in two different layouts which may seem time consuming. But remember, you’re testing to see what works, so if you find out the format you’ve been using is not connecting to your audience, it will be time well spent. And the same for the other way around. Maybe you’re using a format that works really well. It’s great to have that feedback directly from your audience. This is a great way to try out new things, again, without completely tossing what has worked in the past. The more click throughs one version gets, that is the one that gets the final delivery.
Along the same lines as subject line testing, a simple headline tweak can do the trick as well. Take this opportunity to do something as small as changing up the wording in your headline to see what resonates with your audience. Are they clicking through on one more than the other?
4. Call to Action
What do you want people to do when they get your email? For my emails, I have a clear purpose. I want them to register for one of my events. There are many ways to say this, and in fact, I have a clear call to action button in my email that will lead them to where they need to go to register. Even a small item like that can be tested. Is “Register Today” too boring? What about “Hey! Click here and do something!” That most likely won’t work, but I can test it to definitely find out, can’t I?
I don’t particularly like videos in emails, but it’s not what I like, it’s what my audience likes. It can be as simple as switching out an image for a video in your email. Video is popular, and people like to see things in action. The video could bring in more conversion rates because, in my case, they are seeing the event and what it really looks like. Or maybe they are just like me and don’t want to click on a video. This is the great thing about testing… people in your audience decide for themselves and the most popular will win.
As you can see, testing doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. It can be as small as switching a headline. It just takes a little bit of effort and thought. Think about what you are trying to increase, whether it be open rates, conversions, etc., and then test a component that will help do just that. The effort is well worth it in the end. And who knows? Maybe you’ve been doing everything right the whole time!