Email Marketing Best Practices: Test Everything…Just not all at Once

Every time you send out an email, if you’re not testing, you’re losing. There are countless incremental ways to improve the effectiveness—and ROI—of your email marketing. But you’ll only discover all of those little tweaks and tune-ups by testing.

Make it a goal to do an A/B test of some kind every single time you send out an email. This doesn’t have to be a lot of work, I promise! I’m not suggesting you develop two completely different templates, just that you tweak all the little pieces and constantly strive to make every little factor more effective. Email marketing is about the numbers, and sometimes even the fractions. Constant testing will add up to little improvements that add up to more ROI.

Test your subject line best practices, for example. Even if you read a case study that says 35 characters is the best practice for subject line length, that doesn’t guarantee it’s the best subject line length for your organization. Keep doing A/B tests and see which subject line, messaging and length work best for you.  Try it with your brand in the subject line and without. Try dates & numbers, personalization, etc. There are plenty of things to test. I won’t go into more detail as you can find the suggestions elsewhere, and the point of this article is to get you to test, not to tell you what to test.

Or consider the days you send your emails. Studies will tell you Tuesday, let’s say, is the best day to send. But then why does a major outdoor retailer send their emails on Friday afternoons? Because their testing showed they got the best response rate then, when their audience was shifting attention away from work and to the weekend that lay ahead. If they’d simply followed what many case studies say, they’d be losing out on business.

Other factors you can easily test include the color of your buttons with your calls to action. Does a red Buy Now button get a higher click-through rate than a green one? How about the text on your buttons? Does Save $10 Now convert higher than Buy Now?

Do you see how easy these things can be to test? These are just little things, but even if you get a half a percentage point of improvement each time, well, how many tweaks do you need to make to add up to a 2% improvement over all? Not many! And we all know a 2% improvement can be a huge lift in the world of email!

Published On: August 2nd, 2010Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Jared LaRock

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