Over the last few years I have worked on thousands of email campaigns and without doubt one of the most important areas to focus on is A/B testing.
First however, it is important to understand what A/B testing actually means.
In short, if I email a list of cold prospects a message that includes the subject line – “Time for a call?” I might see an open rate of around 26%. If I keep the same subject line in all my emails then the only reason my open rate might change is because things other than the subject line change like for instance the time of day or day of the week when my email is sent.
However, if one day I decide to change my subject line to “Are you free for a call today?” then I might see a change in my open rate.
The issue however is that the test parameters have changed, I may have tested my new subject line during a holiday period – as a result, my open rate would have changed regardless of the subject line.
It is therefore important to keep the test conditions the same.
This is where A/B split testing comes in.
Test both subject lines at the same time, under the same test conditions.
At Emailmovers, our platforms can perform A/B split tests by allowing the user to create variants of the email, each with a different subject line. Then, as the platform deploys the campaign, one email has variant A and the next email has variant B and so on. Once all variants have been tested, it automatically returns to variant A and starts again.
Why AB Test?
In the above scenario testing 2 versions of the same email, under the same test conditions will help you understand which element you are testing drives the best result. Don’t forget that whilst you should always test for conversions, it is typical to test different variants to first find the one with the best open rate, then response rate and then conversion rate.
However, I have seen email variants perform poorly when it comes to the open rate but perform well on conversion rate – in this instance, conversion rate wins, right?
How could this happen? Well, if you target a broadly defined audience of Digital Marketers within Construction companies across the U.K. with a broad subject line such as “Fancy a call this afternoon?” then you may well get a 20% to 40% open rate however if you test a different subject line such as “Struggling with attribution on your Google Ads?” then although the open rate may fall to less than 10%, it may be that the conversion rate increases because the new subject line actually filtered out people who were unlikely to ever convert – they only opened the email because the subject line was friendly and personal.
Test to find your formula
The more testing you do, the more learnings you will have and the more successful you will become. Imagine for a moment you decide to take up fishing – typically, you will start out buying any old rod from any old shop and going to any old lake, sitting any old place, using any old bait and casting to any old spot, right?
After 3 hours in the rain and nothing to show for it, you pack up and return home. Do you quit? Well, you might but then again you might decide to try again but this time choose a different spot in the lake. As time passes, you test multiple different spots until eventually you find a spot where you catch something. You then decide after a little while to try different bait, after a bit of testing you eventually find a bait that really works for that spot, in that lake.
You can see where I am going with this right? After months, if not years, you have tested everything and have found a formula that works best for you.
This lake + this spot + this bait + this rod + this shop = 10 fish = 1 delicious dinner
It’s the same principal with cold email outreach.
This audience + this message + this subject line + this call to action = 10 leads = 2 new customers
Finding the right formula for your business is essential and the only way to do it is by testing.
Testing is however a complex process – to help we have created a A/B split test matrix that you can download and use to help you track your test results and find the formula that works best for you.
If you need help with any element of your email marketing then why not reach out to a member of our team for help.