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How to Use Email A/B Testing to Produce Sends Your Customers Actually Want to Read

Transform your email strategy with A/B testing to win over your customers’ inboxes.

Email A/B testing allows you to test different versions and elements of your emails to improve performance.

By Casey Rogers, Marketing Specialist

Email is a tried-and-true marketing tactic that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. More than 50 percent of people in the U.S. check their personal email account more than ten times a day, and 99% of all consumers check every day. As the number of email users – and emails – continues to grow, businesses need to continually evolve their marketing game to reach potential customers through their inbox. One powerful – and cost-effective – way to win with email is to incorporate A/B testing in your strategy. Learn more about this method and how it can help your business produce better emails below.

What is Email A/B Testing?

Simply put, A/B tests involve altering one variable in an email and sending each version to different email groups to see which version produces the best result. The first step is to start with a clear goal in mind. Knowing what you hope to accomplish before you begin is the difference between producing tangible, useful results and your email falling completely flat. For example, do you want to know if adding a customer’s name to the subject line will make them more likely to open the email? Or if the time of day you send the email matters? You can answer both these questions through A/B testing.

In the former example, you’d send one version to group A with the customer’s name in the subject line. Then, you’d send the second version to group B, but it won’t have the name in the subject line. Which group opened more emails? In the latter example, you’d select two different times to send group A and group B emails to see which one performed better.

With a clear direction, you’ll end up with results you can build on in future tests, and more effective emails that your company – and customers – will appreciate.

What Elements Can I Test?

While you’ll want to stick to changing only one element at a time so that the A/B test results are as reliable as possible, there are many elements you can choose to test, including:

  • Subject line length, tone, word order
  • Email content styling, length, tone, calls to action, layout, deal/offer
  • Use of personalization in the subject line or email body
  • Email send time or day of week

We recommend starting with subject line tests focused on improving open rates. Once more of your customers are opening your email, you can move on to content and other changes that affect clickthrough rates and conversions.

Why Should I Use A/B Testing?

Email A/B testing can provide a ton of valuable information about your audience, such as what topics or stories interest them more or when they are more likely to engage. This type of testing is a highly effective strategy that allows you to:

  • Write more valuable, high-performing content
  • Improve your open and clickthrough rates
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Get quick data for better email implementation
  • Increase the number of sales or conversions generated by emails

Armed with A/B test results, you can create better emails that your customers want to receive time after time. Discover additional ways to refresh your email marketing efforts on our blog.

Contact our Madison-area digital marketing professionals today for advice on how to incorporate email A/B testing into your marketing strategy.