A/B Testing Takes the Guesswork out of Email

Originally written for and posted on the ListEngage blog.

Who hasn’t heard the phrase “Test, test and test again” when it comes to email marketing? Smart marketers have always understood the power of A/B testing their campaigns but the process has been cumbersome, and time consuming. Checking to see which emails perform best when, or with different subject lines and offers has always been a challenge that emarketers have had to take on manually.

Send one email at 10:03 am and one at 2:07pm with separate subject lines and then spend the next 3 days poring through the data, analyzing the results trying to incorporate the findings into your next campaign.

A/B testing has been inefficient to say the least—and most importantly, marketers have really only been able to view their insights in the rearview mirror in the past… but not anymore. Now, leading ESPs like ExactTarget have made A/B testing easy for marketers providing real-time emails, real-time testing and real-time results. Now email marketers can send 2 versions of a campaign simultaneously, measure open rates in real-time, pause sends and decide which campaign to launch to their “master list”.

What does real-time A/B Testing mean for email marketers then? Less guesswork and more results.

A/B split testing allows you to put your best campaign forward in Real-Time by monitoring various versions of the same email, and determining which is performing best. Users are then capable of evaluating test results and sending the “winning message” to subscribers.

The way that is works is simple:

  1. A user can go into the system and choose a campaign to set up in A/B Testing.
  2. The user can then set up their test variables, like:
    • From Name
    • Subject Line
    • Send Date/Time
  3. Users then decide their “test audience” say, 20% of their master list
  4. Once the test has been sent, users can then evaluate the test results and…
  5. Voila! Send the most successful campaign to the remainder of their subscribers on that particular list/campaign.

A creative subject line, a lunch time pick-me-up email, or sending from a well known person in your company may be the difference between email success and a big “flop” of an email, so make sure you’re always continuing to test, edit, and try new things in an effort to achieve overall email accolades. You, your boss, and your subscribers will all be psyched at the more targeted messages and awesome results!

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