Email Marketing

A/B test for emails – 30 ideas for testing. Part 1

5 minutes

A/B test for emails – 30 ideas for testing. Part 1

The ability to generate brilliant and original ideas says a lot about a marketer’s talent. This capacity is also appreciated in email marketing. The purpose of marketing in an email campaign is to develop ideas that will show the best results, a high Open rate, CTR and high conversion rate.

But how is this achieved? The answer is to test, because the golden rule of professional marketing is testing all ideas, no matter how good, innovative, and perhaps even revolutionary they are.

What is so important about A/B testing?

We often encounter situations in which some newsletters cope successfully with their tasks, while others do not. One newsletter has a high deliverability rate, open rate, CTR, and piques the interest of the reader whereas the other does not have such good results even though at first glance it does not look much different in design and content to the first one. In this conflict, there is a logical question: Why? How can we be sure that the email newsletter will bring the maximum return?

In order to improve the efficiency of newsletters, the A/B test was invented, also known as split testing. It helps to compare new and old components of the email and choose the more effective variant.

With the help of A/B testing, you can test different ideas and find the most effective for your subscribers.

How to conduct A/B testing of email newsletters

You can conduct A/B testing in your messaging platform. This is easy to do as platforms simplify the work of the A/B test to their clients as much as possible.

First, you need to define the parameters you need to perform the test. For example, you can create two versions of the email with different subject lines, images or content. Then you need to set the conditions to figure out the best variant of the email newsletter . These conditions may be:

  • Deliverability;
  • Open rate;
  • CTR; or
  • The number of people who have unsubscribed.

Then you take variant A, which was the original and variant B with a changed element of the email newsletter. Choose 40% of the total subscriber base and divide them equally between variant A and B. Start testing.

Upon completion of the test, compare the results and send a newsletter with the highest metric measure for the rest of the subscribers (60%). The diagram below conveys a sense of A/B testing.
How-AB-testing-works-1Many companies claim that this method is effective and can increase the CTR. For example, the Campaign Monitor was able to increase the Open Rate of their email campaigns by 127%. They tested many components when creating emails, including headlines, calls to action, and templates.

How long to conduct A/B testing for

Look at the statistics from previous campaigns. How many of your email newsletters did subscribers open? If most of the clicks occurred within the first 24 hours and in the following days the open rate was 5%, it makes sense to limit conducting the test to 24 hours.

Conducting the test after one day does not make sense, since its effectiveness will be reduced to zero. However, if you have a large email list, and you could not collect the necessary results for the first day, you can extend the test and see what happens next.

What to test in the email

There are many components in the email newsletter that we should test. In this article, we will talk about some of those components. We have prepared 30 ready-made ideas about A/B testing for your emails.
1. Sender’s name. The first thing that the recipient pays attention to is the sender’s name. You can test it by using the names of male and female workers or replacing them with the name of the company.

Formalization of the text and links

The text of your email plays an important role in the perception of your mailing information. Testing is necessary to determine the best font, size and location. When a subscriber opens the email, the first thing they pay attention to is the general visual form of newsletter. The text in this visual form plays a very important role. Therefore, test:

2. The subject line. You should pay attention to the formulation and length of the subject line: Is it personalized or not? Is there a question or a statement? What is the ideal number of characters?

3. The preheader. This is the text that appears after the subject line of the email. The preheader specifies a subject line and urges the subscriber to open the email.
the preheader text4. The font of the heading and its size. After an A/B test, you will decide if it’s best to use large headings or not. After all, the priority rules for headings do not exist. It all depends on your imagination and creativity. There is only a common standard in relation to the number of fonts used in the email letter. If you want a newsletter that looks readable and legible, use no more than three fonts in a newsletter. For example, use one font for headings, another for the main text, and a third for descriptions of products.

  1. Change the font of the main text.
  1. Change the font of the description of products.

The most popular fonts in newsletters:

  • Arial and Helvetica are related fonts; they are very simple and visually well perceived. They are displayed correctly in all email services. Apple Mail and Gmail have chosen these as default fonts.
  • Verdana has a positive effect on the ease of reading because of its character spacing. Split testing allows you to compare the effectiveness of fonts and choose the most suitable for your subscribers.

Arial_Helvetica7. Location of the text. Is the text best in one column, two, or three?
8. Usage of the list. Compare two emails, one with a solid text and one with a list. In the list, the text is organized, it is pleasant to read, and easy to remember. However, it is individual for each audience.
Plain Text_List9. Number of links. What works best: a small number of links or a big amount
10. Type of links. Textual or graphical?
11. The tone of appeal. If you cannot decide how to address your subscribers, use “you.” Choose an official or more informal tone and test it. What will be better for your audience? Use A/B testing to find out.
12. Teaser in the email. In order to interest a subscriber, you can use a cryptic message or photo, which will contain only a small part of the information. Such emails will help you to create intrigue around a new service or product.
13. Ideas for content. Check which type of content works for your audience. Test every new idea, because you cannot be 100% sure that it will interest your subscribers.
14. Limitation of time. It is believed that a sense of urgency has a better effect on sales, for example “Instant Sale” or “For 3 hours only.” Compare normal and urgent email newsletters.

The Time Limits15. Price variations. Test which formulation is better: “10% off” or “Save $100.”

What we can test in design of email newsletters and some more ideas you will read in the second part of our article!

Date of publication:

5 May. 2016

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