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Why And How To Start Testing Your Emails

Have you been using email marketing to send parents content and offers for your business? Are you doing email testing? If not then it’s a good idea to test different things for your email marketing. Here’s Why And How To Start Testing Your Emails:

Why And How To Start Testing Your Emails

If you are thrilled that you managed to get your business mailing list going and are even more delighted that you’ve found time to send out regular emails to your list, but the thought of tackling testing seems a bit overwhelming, or you don’t know where to start, then here are some tips to help you get started with testing your email marketing.

Why test your emails?

#1. Sending emails is a cost for your business

It’s important to continually test your emails because you are likely paying for your email software to send emails. Even if you are on a free plan with a small list, your time to send campaigns or mailings is still a cost to your business. So the more you optimise this spend/cost the better.

#2. You want to improve your email results

If you could increase the open rate, improve the quality of your list, increase the clicks, enquiries, sales you get from the emails and campaigns you send, then all these would be good results for your business.

#3. Guessing isn’t a good idea

While you may think you know what your audience will respond best to you will never know unless you test.

Your Email Software Can Help with Testing

Whether you use Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign or another mailing software, they should all allow easy testing of your mailing campaign but you usually have to specify this when you create a new campaign.

Most software providers call this testing “an A/B test”. This just means that you are going to divide your list into two groups, an A group and a B group, and that you will send each group something different. Then you can see what results the different tests yielded.

a b testing

Before you send do a test, be really clear exactly what you want to test and what you hope to gain or learn by testing it. You’ll also want to know how you can measure it.

  • So if for example you want to test different subject lines to see if you get a better open rate then you’ll be looking at the open rate on the report after you send it.
  • If you are looking to test two designs to see if you get an uplift in enquiries or sales then you’ll want to be able to track that conversion from your email test.

But let’s get back to basics and look at 5 simple things you can test that don’t take long to organise but will let you see if you can improve results from your emails.

5 Simple Things to Test on Your Email Marketing

#1. From Address

This is one of the first tests you should do.

Sender name is the first thing that people notice, even before subject line. Think about it when you check your email which emails do you open first? I know I always open things in a certain order: personal emails before work emails before things I have subscribed to. The name of the sender is an influence before I’ve even opened the email.

Are you sending your email from a generic email address from your company? Maybe a different less generic email address will work better. It depends on your subscribers but if they are more likely to recognise a person or company name or product name then you might want to consider changing the email you use to reflect that.

#2. Subject Line

Next you can think about testing subject lines. This is a really simple test because you don’t need to do any major thing other than try 2 different subjects. It’s very interesting to see how changing a subject line can make a difference and also to see which subject ends up getting the better response.

There’s lots of advice on improving subject lines online, I found two articles that I think are particularly useful: Hubspot has a good guide with tips on improving your email subject lines while this is a good article from Optinmonster with 101 subject line ideas that they have analysed

By the way if you use Mailchimp they have a built-in Subject Line Researcher that gives you tips on subject lines.

subject line researcher

#3. Teaser Text

The teaser or pre-header text is the first line in your email, and it also reinforces what you have put on your email subject line. You can use the teaser text to provide more information and context to your mailing list subscribers of what the email is about.

You could start simply by testing email with or without a teaser text and see if the teaser helps to increase open rate.
Or change the topic in the teaser text to see which one gets the best response.

#4. Day of Week and Time

If you have always sent your newsletter on a Tuesday, try sending it on Wednesday at the same time and see what happens.
Or if you have always sent it in the morning, try changing it to the afternoon and see if a different time makes a difference.

At Mykidstime we tried out different days each month when we started our mailings and found Thursdays and Fridays work best for our list.

#5. Design

Without spending too much time coming up with 2 completely different design templates for your email marketing, there are some simple things you can test here including a different top image, or a different place for the call to action within your text or even a different coloured button for your call to action.

Don’t try to test more than one thing at a time, as you won’t know what caused a difference. So don’t do a subject line and day change test at the same time. Test them on different mailings so you really know what made a difference, if any.

Now that you’ve run your email test what next?

Check your email results

So once you have sent your email campaign have a look at the results. In particular check

  • the open rate,
  • the click rate and what people clicked on
  • if you were using this to test if you get more enquiries or sales, then have a look at conversion on your website from this campaign.

Decide what the results of the test are telling you so that you can learn from the test to keep improving your future email results. So if you noticed that a particular subject line style worked better then switch to that new style for the next email and test something different next time.

Keep testing

Don’t think of this as a one off task, just like any other aspect of your marketing, it’s an ongoing process. You need to keep testing over and over because many things can influence your tests from the type of subscribers on your list to the weather. Yes the weather! Think about it, maybe it’s fabulous weather and people are more into being outdoors than reading their emails.

I hope this has helped inspire you to start testing your emails regularly even if you start with very simple tests, to improve and optimise your time and money that you spend on email marketing.

What is your experience of email testing? Tell us in the comments below.

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2 Responses to Why And How To Start Testing Your Emails

  1. Amanda 2nd October 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    I’ve never used that subject line researcher in Mailchimp, didn’t even know it was there. Thanks for this Jill.

    • Jill Holtz 2nd October 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      You’re welcome Amanda, it’s a handy one all right

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