Split Testing: Some Ideas

Have you ever thought about when the best time to send your email marketing collateral might be? How about what day? Have you experimented with subject lines? Do open rates improve when you inject humor into the subject box? Or, do recipients respond better to clear and simple headings?

The only way to really get an answer to these questions is to experiment by testing and tracking sends with different variables; this is called split testing.

Split tests are perhaps the easiest way to compare ever so slightly different versions of the same email campaign for effectiveness based on key stats like unique opens, clicks or forwards.

So, what can you test?

Pretty much any component of your email message, here are a few ideas:

Subject Lines: Why not try pitting a longer subject line against a shorter one? It might interest you to find out if the word ‘Free’ impacts open rates or if personalizing the subject line affects the campaign in any way.

Calls to Action: Experiment with the positioning, style and frequency of your calls to action to see which option delivers the best results.

Timing: Try sending on different days and at different times in the day. You may even want to consider testing a weekend send against a weekday one.

From Field: Do people respond better when there is a real name in the ‘from field’ or is it better to send correspondence from your company name? A split test will help you decide….

The nuts & bolts of a split test

Here’s how you actually go about performing a split test once you’ve pin pointed the criteria you’d like to test:

  • Select the percentage of your mailing list you wish to test on. If you choose to run a test with 30% of your list then 15% will receive version A and 15% will get version B.
  • Measure your results to establish which one was most successful
  • Send the best performing email to the remaining 70% of your database
  • Guess what? dotMailer will automate this for you…read more

Important Tip

Split tests can arm your marketing team with powerful data that can help shape and improve your future e-marketing efforts.

However, remember to only test one variable at a time. If you send an A/B split test with varying subject lines at different times in the day you’ll not be able to identify whether it was the timing or the subject line that contributed to the better/poorer result.