Split Test Your Way To Better Results: 3 Key Items to Test

If you are engaging in email marketing but not seeing the results that you were hoping for, you probably need to change some aspect of your email.  But what could be the problem?  This is where Split Testing, aka A/B Testing, can help.  Split Testing is a fast, free and easy way of testing a single variable to help improve your open stats. Split testing simply put is testing two variables against each other to see which one receives better results.

How Should I Split My Distribution List?

The easiest and most common approach to split your list is to simply split your list in half. For example, if you have 500 people in your distribution list you will send the control email to the first 250 people and the test email to the other 250 people.  Then simply see which one performs better. The better performer will then be used as the control for the next test.  Keep split testing your campaign until you received the desired results.

Below are some key areas to focus on when conducting your A/B Test.

  1. Subject Line
    A subject line should be short, descriptive, and give your reader an indication of the type of information your email contains.  In order to make sure you’re hitting these three key factors of a subject line, split test your email subject line until you start seeing improved open rates.  Check out MailChimp’s study on the best subject lines to help inspire some ideas.
  2. Sent From Line
    The sent from line is often overlooked and can be even more important than the subject line, so make sure you put some thought into this aspect of your mailer. Many people will look at who sent them an email before they check the subject line.  Who will your audience want to receive information from; your company, your specific department, or an actual employee?  Split test these three options and see which performs best.
  3. Time of Day and Date
    Considering your distribution list’s location is key to achieving desirable open rates, so it only makes sense to test and make note of the best results based on time of day and day of the week.  In a study conducted by EmailCenter it was found that the ideal day to send marketing emails was on Wednesdays.  According to the study you will receive the highest open and click through rates on that day.  The thinking behind these results is that people are less likely to be on vacation and may not be as busy on Wednesdays compared to other days of the week.  As for the best time of day to distribute marketing emails, Eyetraffic Media reported on a study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, which found 9am yields the best results for open and click through rates versus noon and 4pm.  What’s important is not your location, but your email recipient’s location. Take a look at your aggregated list and base your decision on where most of the recipients reside.

TIP: Email Service Providers like Mail Chimp allows you to segment your list based on location. This allows all of your recipients to receive your emails at 9am on Wednesday even if you are sending it to several different time zones.

It all comes down to lots and lots of trial and error. At some point you’ll find a formula that makes sense. What’s more, split testing is a free and easy way to help increase your open rates and something you can easily incorporate into your next marketing email campaign.  Does your business employ split testing for marketing email campaigns? If so, please share your results in the comments below. Which change(s) had the biggest effect on your results?

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