You’ve created what you think is the perfect promotional email, but you’ve gotten less than stellar results. Or maybe you’re getting fine results, but you want to take your email marketing to the next level…what do you do?
Split testing (also referred to as A/B testing or multivariate testing) is a method of conducting controlled, randomized experiments with the goal of improving an email metric such as opens, clicks, or form completions. Split Testing allows you to test different versions of a single email marketing campaign to see how small changes can have a big impact on your results.
So where do you begin?
First you need to choose what you want to test. In an email, if you can change it, you can test it, but you should focus your attention on the things that are likely to have the biggest impact, such as: the subject line, any large graphic used, connected landing pages, and your call to action.
Then, make sure that before you start testing you have a clear idea of the results you’re looking for. You should already know your baseline result, which is the results you’re currently getting. You want to test option A and B against each other, but you also want to know that whichever one does better in the test is also doing better than your current results.
Tests need to be run simultaneously to account for any variations in timing. You can’t test one variation today and the other one tomorrow, because you can’t factor in any variables that might have changed between today and tomorrow. Instead, you need to split the traffic seeing your variations at the same time.
A/B testing is not an overnight project. Depending on the amount of traffic you get, you might want to run tests for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. And you’ll only want to run one test at a time for the most accurate results.
Accurate split tests can make a huge difference to your bottom line. By using controlled tests and gathering empirical data, you can figure out exactly which email marketing strategies work best for your company and your product. When you figure that one variation might work two, three, or even four times better than another, the idea that you would conduct promotions without testing starts to seem a bit ludicrous.