Why You Should be A/B Testing your Email Content

a/b testing
Almost every business owner wants to have repeat business, and why not? Once you have put in the effort of gaining a new customer, it is easier and cheaper to get that customer to come back rather than to go through the work of finding another new customer. Email campaigns and newsletters are a great way for you to communicate with your pre-existing customer base. You could include information about upcoming promotions, or new products and services. Any email campaign is going to help drive traffic and sales to your business. It is simple math. If you tell enough people about a new promotion that you are doing, you will get people to your front door. Everyone knows that. It is a quick and easy way to drive repeat business.

But are you doing enough? Could your sales be higher? Are you losing customers to your competitors?

Introducing A/B Testing

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A/B testing, also known as split testing is showing users 2 or more variants of information and seeing which one gets the most conversions. This can also be done with your email campaigns. Split testing is becoming more and more important to successful email campaigns everyday, and companies are using it to ensure that they are getting the highest conversion rates possible from their email blasts. According to MailChimp, in 2013 alone, more than 200,000 of their users did split testing on their email campaigns. Are your competitors one of them? Did you lose any customers because you were not split testing?

Everyone hopes that they are taking into account all the possibilities when they write an email blast. But while we all seek to be perfect, none of us are. By sending out more than one version of an email to your customer base, you can try two different approaches and see what works best with your customer base. As time goes by, you will learn more and more about what your customers want to see, and get closer to sending out the perfect email blast. In today’s evolving marketplace, all of the major email providers are allowing you to easily setup, send and see reports on your split testing emails. Another advantage of split testing your emails is that you can also set up different promotions in each blast to see which promotion your clients want to see. Are you better off giving a blanket amount of 15% off all sales, or are you going to get more sales by offering free shipping on all orders over $50? The only way to find out is to do split tests. The sky is the limit!

Setting up a split test is easy. The exact technical steps that you need to follow should easy to find if you contact your email provider, but the logical steps are always the same.

Related: Finding the One: Email Marketing and the Inbox

1. Select your goal:

What do you want to accomplish with this test? Do you want more traffic and exposure for your business? Do you want to increase your sales? Do you want to see which promotions will make you more money. Knowing your goal is important for the next step, selecting your test.

2. Select your test:

Now that you know your goal, you should have a good idea of how to present different options to the end user. You could change the call to action, the images, the promotion, the subject line or the body copy. But try to keep the changes small. This is an iterative process, and each time you perform a test you will do better, but only if you know exactly what about you email enticed the user. Otherwise, you are just throwing tests and hoping for the best, and you will not learn from each blast.

Related: What Google Inbox Means for Businesses and Marketers

3. Set your control:

The first email that you should send is one that contains what you would normally write. This is your control, or Version A. The second email that you write should include the change that you want to make from step two. This is your test, or Version B.

4. Send and monitor:

Once you have your “A” email and your “B” email, you are ready to send out your first A/B test. Keep in mind that not every Version B of your email blasts will show an improvement over your Version A email. The important thing is that you have new information that you didn’t have before and you can use that information for your next A/B Test.

Elevate the Success of Your Campaigns

a/b test
Any time you A/B test your emails, you will learn something new. And with each iteration of your testing, you will be tailoring your emails more and more to your customer base and their individual preferences. The best advise I can give you comes from Albert Einstein, “You never fail until you stop trying”.

Related: 4 Tips To Perfect Email Subject Lines in eCommerce