We want to thank you all so much for registering and attending our webinar about effective communications and A/B testing yesterday! We had a great group of attendees who asked some awesome questions. And here’s a chance for us to answer the most frequent ones.
The A/B testing feature in email is a way to let you send two slightly different emails to your audience. You can then see which version generated more engagement and then send the most effective email to the rest of your list.
Before you begin, it might be helpful to review some guidelines for effective A/B testing.
- Only conduct one test at a time. If you test an email campaign that directs people to a landing page at the same time that you’re A/B testing that landing page, your results can get muddled pretty easily. How will you know which change caused the increase in leads?
- Test one variable at a time. In order to evaluate how effective an element of your page is, you have to isolate that variable in your A/B test. Only test one element at a time – so either an email, or the landing page you’re sending your audience to.
- Test minor changes, too. Although it’s reasonable to think that big, sweeping changes can increase your click numbers, the small details are often just as important. While creating your tests, remember that even a simple change, say, switching an image in your email, or using a different subject line, can drive big improvements. In fact, these sorts of changes are usually easier to measure than the bigger ones.
- You can A/B test the entire element. While you can certainly test a button color or a background shade, you should also consider making your entire email a variable. Instead of testing single design elements, such as headlines, subject lines, and images, design two completely different emails and test them against each other. Now you’re working on a higher level. This type of testing yields the biggest improvements, so consider starting with it before you continue your optimization with smaller tweaks.
- Measure as far down the funnel as possible. Sure, your A/B test might have a positive impact on your email click rate, but how about your sales numbers? A/B testing can have a significant effect on your bottom line. You may even see that an email with fewer clicks produced more sales. As you create your A/B test, consider how it affects metrics such as open rates or click rates that will contribute to you achieving your KPIs.
- Decide what you want to test. As you optimize your email, there are a number of variables you can test. You don’t have to limit yourself to testing only images or text size. Look at the various elements on your marketing resources and their possible alternatives for design, wording, or layout. In fact, some of the areas you can test might not be instantly recognizable. For instance, you can test different subject lines, senders, or ways to personalize the message.
- Split your sample group randomly. In order to achieve conclusive results, you need to test with two or more audiences that are equal. At GetResponse, we automatically split traffic to your variations so that each variation gets a random sampling of visitors.
Segmenting your audience
Marketers know that segmenting email marketing lists can improve open and click-through rates. That said, figuring out the best way to segment your email marketing lists can be a huge undertaking.
To make it a little less overwhelming, here are a few quick ways to get you on the right segmentation track.
The first way many marketers begin email marketing segmentation is by using demographic data. Information such as age, gender, company position, and income level can say a lot about a person’s needs and interests.
The more information you can get about your audience in the signup process, the more options you’ll have for demographic segmentation. Be careful with this, though, because asking for too much information can scare people off from signing up at all.
2. Email engagement
Email engagement is another very basic way to segment your list that can have a huge impact on your overall results. Open rate and click rate are the main metrics here that you keep track of in your email marketing service.
You can segment by engagement by designating active vs. inactive users, such as someone who hasn’t opened your emails in three months. You can then create a specialized campaign designed at re-engaging your inactive subscribers. This is perfect for those of you who take off with little subscriber data.
There are a lot of different ways to use geographic location data, making segmentation by geographic area a valuable tool – especially for businesses where location greatly influences purchasing decisions, or the availability of offers.
4. Website visits
Keeping track of website behavior is another simple way to get more information about visitors’ interests. For example, you can send targeted emails based on the specific pages they visited – but that’s far from the only option. You can set up goals at GetResponse and segment your audience according to:
- pages people visited
- pages they didn’t visit
- people who visited one page but missed another related page
- what videos they watched (and how long they watched them), or what content they read
Newsletter optimization sessions:
Whenever you send a newsletter, always try to keep in mind your what your goals are, what you’d like your audience to do, and who your targeted audience actually is. As to improving the readability and reach of your emails, make sure you remember about:
- familiarity – always follow your brand’s voice and scent
- sleek, simple designs – keep a clear header hierarchy, don’t use multiple font types, if you don’t need to
- less is more – focus your email around one, clear call to action to shorten your contact’s path to conversion. Even if you’re just sending informational newsletters.
A/B tests and segmentation are great ways to drive your audience’s engagement and literally achieve more with email marketing. However, I know not all of you may have the time to do it all, among your daily marketing activities. Trust me, working with email right now I may be a little spoiled, but I wore many, many marketing hats before. And I know finding the time for it is not always easy. So start small and most of all – keep trying. Don’t be afraid to change the ways you communicate with your audience.