Welcome back! If you read our first installment then you know split testing works and what it can do for your email marketing results. Remember, it’s totally up to you how and when you use it. BUT…if you’d like a few suggestions and examples of what to split test and why, then let’s dive in!
- Subject line – This is the most popular test field because when you get it right, you increase your open rates. There are lots of approaches to subject lines, so let’s look at a few, but we do encourage you to use GetResponse mail merge to personalize whenever possible:
- Practical, useful approach: “How to Triple Your CTRs”.
- Dramatic phrase with personalization: “Are Your Emails Irrelevant, Delores?“
- Curiosity with personalization: “John, We Have the Answer to Your Question!”
More tests may include subject lines with your product or company brand name, a modified call to action (Love diamonds? You’ll want these!), or anything you think will make your recipients open your email first!
Tip: Test up to 5 versions of each approach to make sure you’re sending the best out to your larger audience…but please be careful and beware of those SPAM words!
- From field – Believe it or not, you have multiple options here as well! Sure, you need to clearly identify yourself by company or product name, or other familiar brand or campaign title; but there are also ways to cut through that inbox clutter with a little creativity and, of course, personalization!
- From: Name plus Company: “Sara Jonson from XYZ Travel”.
- From: Prestige title plus Company: “From the President of XYZ Travel”.
- From: Product name plus sender: “Your XZY Destination Team”.
Tip: Whatever you decide to use in the From line, don’t forget it still has to link to your actual email address so the subscriber can respond. After all, that’s the goal here!
- Offers/discounts – Getting this right is crucial! We all know the “99 cent” trick, right? What we mean is that it not only matters how big a discount you offer, but also how you present it. There are literally hundreds of ways to go here, so try to put yourself in the potential buyers’ shoes: what would make you want to learn more, or even better, purchase on the spot? Here are a variety of options to get you thinking:
- Offer: 20% off OR a $xx discount? It depends partly on the total cost. For example: if 20% is only $8, so what! But is it’s $20, I’m listening. So use your best sales instincts!
- Offer: BOGO (buy one/get one) OR Half Off! (50%). Will your wholesale price get a nice downward bump if you increase sales of certain items? Is it end of year and time to slash inventory? Or are these customers affluent and would simply like the convenience of “2 for 1”? And on and on…you get the picture!
- Offer: Bundling – means that you will offer a reduced price if customer purchases additional similar (or same) products. This works great when you include recommendations based on behavioral targeting or purchase history!
- Offer: Different products. I know, this sounds a bit random, as most of you know which products you want to offer and when, BUT…perhaps you could change the color or style slightly, to see what variations attract?
Tip: Important! As with any test, make sure that everything except your test field is constant. In other words, when you test subject lines, don’t change your From fields or offers in any of your test versions.
- Email length – There’s a ton of advice out there on length, but it’s so relative, we think it’s just wiser to split test. Sure, shorter is usually better, but what if you have a riveting story to tell, or a great review to share, and you don’t want to make your readers hop around?
- Length: Try offering a “taste”, with an invitation to “Read more…”.
- Length: Or offer loads of variety in short sections, ala USA TODAY? These “content bites” can be easily consumed in a single email, as long as they’re relevant!
- Length: Try the “installment” approach if you’re running a bit long. Test a version that offers Part I, but promises Part II in the next bulletin or newsletter.
Tip: Not sure if ALL your content is engaging? Try this: cut it in half, then split test the long and short versions. Chances are you cut the boring stuff all by yourself!
- Design, format and fonts – Okay, now you can test your design, graphics, layout, colors, media, HTML versus plain text – all the cool stuff that can make a huge difference! This is self explanatory, so let’s move on…
Tip: It’s usually smart to save this for next-to-last because everything else could impact your design, especially length, so play it safe and wait.
- Sending time (day of the week, time of day) – Many of you don’t do this, but it’s very revealing. It’s easy to get stats on best days and times to send, right, so why not try out a few to see if you can get an edge?! Just remember that these “times” can vary by industry. For example, Friday may work great for Entertainment or Restaurants, but not for Health and Wellness products
Tip: More than any other factor, timing can fluctuate based on the season, holidays, economy, region, etc. So if you’re testing different days out, make sure to do it within the same week to get some consistency in the overall conditions.
We hope this gets you motivated to split test more often. Or at least helps you decide which areas to test to optimize your results. And, of course, if you’re completely confident in your campaign positioning, go for it! But keep this in mind, your competitors aren’t using this feature enough according to most ESPs, so why not get a marketing advantage, starting NOW!