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How Your Email Campaigns Can Benefit from A/B Testing

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If you are a marketing expert or running your own online business, you probably already know that your email list is worth its weight in gold. However, while having lots of subscribers is great, it’s only half the battle, because you still want people to open your emails, click through, and most of all, convert. Optimizing your email campaign is a must if you are serious about achieving those lofty sales figures you’ve set for yourself. The solution? A/B testing.

Testing several different variations of your email campaign can provide you with valuable insights. For example, you can send the same content, but with two different subject lines, and see which one performs better. Here are 4 aspects of A/B testing you need to cover if you want to make the most out of your email campaign:

  • Zero In on the Problem and Set Goals

When it comes to email marketing, two metrics are more important than others. We are talking about open rates and click-through rates. The first one indicates how often people actually open your emails, while the second one shows how many subscribers actually click on the link inside your emails. Fortunately, these are fairly easy to test.

  • Decide on What You Are Going to Test

There are many different elements of your email campaign you can test. You can alter your subject line to make it more specific and benefit-oriented (“Become a Marketing Expert in 30 days” as opposed to “30 Day Marketing Guide”). You may also want to test the headlines in your emails, CTAa, their layout, as well as how user testimonials affect your click-through rates. This also goes for the way you address your subscribers (formal vs. Casual), your offers (discounts, free shipping…) and the images inside your emails.

  • Testing the Entire List?

Ideally yes, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you are trying to test how an offer or a prize might influence your campaign, you wouldn’t give it to everyone, only a limited number of users, which means you should only use a part of your list. Also, if want to test a campaign that is bolder or risky, which might hurt you if it backfires, you can simply test it on a smaller number of users.

  • Studying the Results

In addition to testing your open and click-through rates, you also need to pay attention to your conversion rate. Although your conversion rate is dependent on your UX, design, and your marketing strategy, email campaigns play a huge role nonetheless. For example, a decent CTR doesn’t necessarily lead to a good conversion rate, which is why you would want to do split testing.

How to make your A/B testing more effective?

  1. Divide Your Subscribers into Random Groups

In order to make your testing more accurate, you should create random groups using your list of subscribers. While there are some apps that can do that for you, you can also do it yourself, fairly easily. Export your list into Excel, and then randomize the order in which the subscribers are listed, and then proceed to choose a sample.

  1. Test Frequently Sent Emails

Sure, you can apply A/B testing on emails you send out during your holiday offers, but you will only be able to benefit from the results next year. This means you should focus on testing emails which you send out fairly frequently, such as newsletters, reminders that you’ve published a new post, or sales pitches.

  1. Be Original

People are becoming fed up with receiving the same generic emails and seeing the same thing all over again. Testing allows you to think in a more unconventional way and try out different approaches. The good news is that, even if your idea doesn’t go over well, it was a test, which won’t hurt you much, since you have used a smaller sample.

  1. Decide On What Is Statistically Significant

Let’s consider an example of a campaign which includes 30,000 subscribers. The first sample opened your emails 3000 times, while the second one opened them 3200 times. However, while the first sample is a clear winner on paper, the difference is not that significant. Also, in order for the sample to be statistically significant, you need several consistent results.

  1. Learn by Experimenting

Once you have a result which is statistically significant which is in line with your previous results or your initial assumptions, then you can proceed to implement it in practice. Of course, you will fail plenty of times, but the more testing you do, the closer you will be to becoming an expert on the topic. Plus, your email campaigns will no longer be a shot in the dark, but something that is based on real data.

  1. Use Automation Tools

If you email list is exceptionally large, or if you are spread too thin because you are covering other aspects of your business, you can rely on automation tools and apps which will do some of the heavy lifting for you, such as Mailup, Mailchimp, Freshmail, Mad Mimi, Benchmark Email, or Hubspot.


With each iteration of A/B testing, you will be able to improve your conversion rates and your sales, regardless of how complex your campaign is, or how many subscribers you have. All that data might be too much at first, but once you figure out how to use it, you will be able to improve your email marketing efforts, as well as your business.

About the author:

Joan Selby is a former ESL teacher and a content marketer. Also, she proofreads papers at BestEssays, which fulfills her love for punctuation and homophones. A writer by day and reader by night, giving creative touch to everything. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.