Simple Tests that Improve Email Marketing Results
August 14, 2009
general infomarketing automationblogonline marketingemail marketingonline marketing tips
Are you taking the time to fully test all aspects of your email marketing efforts?
What if you could make a slight change to one of your campaigns and see a drastic rise in opens or a nice increase in sales? You would do it in a heartbeat, right?
But how do you know what aspect to change to get those results? That is where testing steps in to help you.
One of the many great things about email marketing is that you can quickly test important elements of your email at very little or no extra cost to you. By testing, you can find out what factors influence the success of your future emails.
Follow these four steps to help create an effective and measurable test.
1. Decide what you want to test
Since testing with email marketing is somewhat easy to do, it is often tempting to test many areas all at once. But you have to be careful you don't go overboard.
Imagine putting 10 bowls of different kinds of food down for a dog. He or she would go crazy and just start eating without worrying about what kind each food was, how it tasted or how it would affect their tummy later. In the end you don't really learn anything, other than your dog was really hungry.
Testing too much at once makes it challenging (and sometimes impossible) to determine what exactly influenced the response in the first place.
You should start by testing just one aspect of your email campaign and go from there.
Here are a few easy tests to start with:
Subject lines - Create a few different subject lines for the same email marketing campaign.
Long vs. short copy - Create two versions of a promotional email. Keep one very short and to the point and make the other a little longer by adding additional information like blog posts or product features.
Special offers - Create two different promotional offers.
The time of day or day of the week you send - Everyone reads email at different times. You want to find the most popular.
With an image or without – Text only emails can be just as effective as ones full of images. Think of the mobile users out there. Add images to one and leave the other one just in text form.
Types of calls-to-action – Find out what gets people to open that email. Try two different approaches.
Placement of a call-to-action button or link – Try placing the link to your website or landing page in a different spot in each email.
2. Decide how you want to measure success
What should you measure to determine the success of each test? Possibilities include website traffic, customer feedback, sales, opens, bounces, and click-through.
Whichever you choose, make sure you can attribute an increase (or decrease) in the area you measure directly to the email you send out. The easiest place to start is with your email campaign opens, bounces and click-throughs, This data is found in the reports section of your SimplyCast
3. Send, measure and choose the winner
Once you have everything ready, send your two test emails to two different groups of subscribers. The great thing about email marketing is that you get your results quickly. Within a few days (or less) you will know which email got a better result by checking out your reports.
Once the results are in and evaluated, choose the more successful one and send that email to the remaining members of your list.
4. Keep on testing yourself
Don't think of testing as a chore. Add some fun to the process by making a guess of which test email will do better before you send, and see if you are right. Take it a step further and involve your coworkers and make a game out of it.
The interesting thing you will find about testing is that many times the results are not at all what you expect. This only cements why testing provides such incredible value to your company. Without it, you could be going down the wrong path and missing out on increased open rates and new sales.
Let your customers do the work for you by letting them tell you through their actions what they respond to best. The customer is the most important person to the continued success of your business, so it only makes sense to create campaigns they respond to.