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VOL. 42 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2018

Properly assess email marketing with A/B testing

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In years past, plenty of brands adopted a “set it and forget it” email-automation mentality. Once a marketing email was released, it became a distant memory.

There’s a much better way, though, to leverage the still-popular email marketing technique and more closely connect to reader preferences as a way to obtain an end goal.

Through data mining and metrics monitoring, marketers can understand what is and isn’t working for their brands. Data and metrics lead to nuanced adjustments in content strategy and design – known as “A/B testing.”

A/B-tested email strategies are reported to be 70 percent more engaging for readers, likely because the technique becomes responsive to reader preferences once A/B-tested data is captured and leveraged.

The more testing and adjusting that’s done before you set your long-term email strategy, the more likely you’ll begin to stand out in today’s reality of overcrowded inboxes.

Here are four tips for A/B testing your way to email success.

Know your goal before you start emailing. To put effective testing in place, you must first understand why you’re selecting email marketing as your tool. Goals could be as specific as selling a retail item or counting downloads on a white paper. They could focus on driving event registrations or accruing requests for consultations.

The point is, laser focusing on the ideal outcome of your email campaign leads you to more clearly define the content being tested.

Conduct one A/B test at a time. It’s important to hone in on only one set of variables at a time. Otherwise. conclusions become impossible at worst and debatable at best.

Examples of variables are subject lines, call-to-action placement, imagery selection, lead-feature selection, and call-to-action wording.

Isolate for comparison only one A variable and B variable per test, with all other aspects of the email remaining the same. To test additional variables, launch different tests.

Launch A/B tests at the same time. Whether it’s a certain day of the week, specific week of the month, or a precise hour and minute, timing has a considerable impact on your email A/B testing.

Avoid diluting the variables being measured by conducting simultaneous launches of both your A test and your B test.

Record and act on results. After you’ve run a series of A/B tests and identified the variables that result in the best return on investment toward your email goal, record those results and report them to anyone who has a role in email marketing.

Those findings form the basis of your evolved email marketing strategy. With each new email goal or each new audience at hand, conduct an A/B series again.

If you never stop testing and learning from your metrics, your email marketing won’t stop improving and standing out from the other brands competing for inbox attention. A/B testing fuels that for you.

Emily Cupples, marketing strategist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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