If you're not running A/B testing on your email campaigns, you're leaving money on the table.
A/B testing provides a great way to evaluate your email marketing Funnel and learn what works best for your campaigns and customers.
In this article, we'll highlight some great ways to use A/B testing to improve email conversions. Before we begin, let's explain what an A/B test is.
Table of contents
- What is A/B testing?
- Important email elements for the A/B test
- Tips for running effective A/B testing
- How long should you run an A/B test?
- Wrapping up
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing is the process of sending a specific variant of your email campaign to a particular customer segment and then a different variant to another customer segment with the goal of learning which variant will generate the best results.
In other words, you're comparing two versions of your email or other marketing assets to measure the difference in performance.
Why do you need to do A/B testing for your email campaigns?
Once you create your email copy, you need to figure out what will help or improve your conversion rates.
With A/B testing, you can learn what subject lines, CTAs, images, and other elements work best for your campaigns.
For example, a study by Performable found that a red CTA button outperformed a green one by 21 percent based on 2,000-page visits.
This proves that even a slight change in your CTA button color can make an impact on your email campaigns.
Important email elements for the A/B test
With the right email marketing tool, you can A/B test different email elements to boost your conversion rates. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Subject lines
Your email subject line can significantly impact your open rates. If your subject line isn't compelling, then customers wouldn't hesitate to ignore your message.
When it comes to A/B testing email subject lines, there are different factors to consider such as:
- Length: the ideal length for email subject lines can be a tough nut to crack. The return path revealed the optimal length is between 61-70 characters. However, your target audience is different from the ones included in this study, so you need to A/B the length of your subject lines to figure out what works best for your customers.
- Word order: the order in which you arrange your words can impact your subject lines. For example, you might start a subject line by highlighting a benefit so as to quickly grab your customers' attention.
Even more, try other tactics that can impact your subject lines like testing power words and using subject lines with or without emojis.
- Button vs text
When it comes to crafting an email call-to-action, there are two options you can use—buttons or hypertext links.
Most marketers would argue that using buttons for call-to-action increases click-throughs. However, the best way to learn what works for your email campaigns is by running an A/B test.
- Button text
Whether you decide to use a hypertext link or button, you still need to consider an important element—the copy for the CTA button or text links. The copy is what convinces your customers that your call-to-action is worth a click.
In this case, you need to figure out the ideal words that can have an effect on people who click through your email CTA.
For example, you can test a specific actionable copy like "get your free formulas" against a generic one like "read this formula".
If you can't quickly explain your email offer, you'll find it hard to get your customers to click through on your email campaigns.
This is why you must discover what a great email copy means to your customers. From email length, personalization, tone, and call to action, you need to A/B test these features to know what works best for your email campaigns.
Using images in your email campaigns can be a great way to communicate with your customers. A study revealed that the human brain processes visuals 60000 times faster than text. Rather than sending an email with only plain text, you can include a beautifully designed visual that complements your email copy.
However, some visuals may or may not work for your email campaigns because they might distract your customers from the main message. That's why it's important to use visuals that are completely relevant to your email.
For example, when Site point A/B tested the image in their newsletter, they noticed a slight decrease in conversions because the image distracted customers from reading the email copy.
Tips for running effective A/B testing
So far, we've highlighted the key elements that you can A/B test in your email campaigns.
Now, let's go through some strategic tips to implement an effective A/B test in your email campaigns.
- Choose the email elements to A/B
Before you begin an A/B, you need to choose the specific email elements that you want to test. From the subject lines, button colors, call to action, and visuals, it's likely that you'll have a bunch of ideas for your A/B test.
To get the best results from your A/B test, you need to prioritize the elements that are most likely to make an impact on your conversion rates like —subject lines and CTAs.
To help you achieve this, you can answer the following questions—how sure are you that a change will make a positive impact? How big of an impact will an element have on your conversion rates?
For example, does testing a minimal change in your subject line generate a great impact as testing a word in your email copy?
- Set your goals
What do you want to achieve from the A/B? Do you want to boost conversion rates? Do you also want to increase sales?
It's good practice to focus on a single metric at first. As you move forward, you can run an A/B test that focuses on other metrics.
- Choose a variant
After you have set your goals and chosen the email elements for the A /B test, you need to create a variant of your chosen email that will serve as a control. It serves as the unaltered version of the type of email campaign that you want to test.
After that, you need to build a challenger—this is the altered version of your email campaign.
Remember to focus on a single element at a time and make only one change to it.
If you're testing the CTA, you can change the text, button color, font color, or button size. Leave every other thing identical to the control.
- Choose the right A/B testing tool
When it comes to choosing an A/B testing tool, you need to choose the one that suits your needs.
For instance, with Engage, you gain access to our in-built testing tool to analyze the results of your email campaigns and use the data to run an effective A/B test.
- Analyze the A/B testing statistics
In this section, you need to analyze the A/B testing statistics and draw conclusions based on which variation won. By what percentage did the winner of the test outperform the loser?
Once you gain a better understanding of what your customers are interested in, then you can use the insight to create another test with a new variant.
How long should you run an A/B test?
You need to run your test long enough to get a significant result from your campaigns.
A/B testing for several weeks is a good starting point. You can get significant results as long as you have steady traffic.
A/B testing is a powerful marketing tool that can help you to gain insight into your email copywriting choices.
Here's what you need to remember about A/B testing to optimize your email campaigns:
- Focus on only one email element at a time to gain the best possible result
- Set the right goals and create a hypothesis for how you can improve your campaigns
- Use the right A/B testing tool to optimize your email campaigns
At Engage, we have made testing your email campaigns less challenging. You can use our powerful email automation tool to analyze the results of your email campaigns and run multivariate tests.