So your sales tool has A/B testing for email. Great news! You’re going to have the perfect email every time right? Not exactly. A/B testing effectively requires some knowledge of the process before it can be leveraged effectively. Scientists didn’t cure Polio just because they had the right chemistry set, after all — they knew the process.
So what do you need to know before you start testing? To begin, every A/B test requires two things:
- One clear goal. What are you testing?
- One metric. How are you measuring success?
One Clear Goal
Effective A/B testing is all about limiting your variables. With one clear goal, you can be confident that the variance in results you are seeing is the result of what you are testing.
For example, if you were comparing sending your email at two different time of day, you’d want to keep the body of the email the same. If you send at two different times and with two different subject lines, it will be hard to tell which change caused the variations in performance.
Once you figure out what you’re going to test, you need to figure out how you’ll measure success. While there are numerous email metrics you can track, the three most accessible and easy are:
- Open Rate — How many people opened each variation?
- Reply Rate — How many people replied to each variation?
- Click-Through Rate — How many people clicked the links in each variation?
While sometimes your choice of metric will be obvious, such as “which subject line gets the most opens,” other times, your test could apply to all three metrics. In these cases, it’s more important to be more consistent with what you measure across your tests than it is to pick the perfect metric.
So what should you be testing? Here are ten ideas to get you started!
Day of the Week
We’ve all felt the ebbs and flows throughout the work week, and it’s no different for your prospects. Test which days of the week your prospects are most responsive so you know you’re reaching out at the best time.
Time of Day
Most people answer emails in bulk at different points of the day. Delivering your email during these active periods to ensure it’s at the top of their inbox is crucial to getting opens and engagement.
You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and your subject line is the first impression of your email. Make sure you understand which subject lines work best. Short? Long? Personal? Emotional? Test them all!
It seems like a tiny aspect, but even the capitalization of your subject line matters. Capitalizing the first letter of every word can feel formal, while sentence case can have a more conversational feel. Figure out which one your audience responds to best.
Using a “FW:” in your subject line can be a clever way to get your audience to notice your emails. Test the open rate and see if it works for your audience.
Does your audience prefer language focused on the department or company they work for, or language focused on them as individuals? Do a little research on them and try both styles out.
Dynamic tags can be a great way to insert personalization into an email with little to no effort. Test out using the prospects first name or company name in emails, and see if it improves performance.
Most of the time, the first line of the body of your email will show in a person’s inbox. Have you given any thought to what that opening line says and how it sets the tone for the rest of the conversation?
Every audience prefers a different length of email. Some people are busy and need to skim a brief bullet list, while others want to dive deep into the details. You should be testing both.
Call to Action
What are you asking your audience to do at the end of your emails? How you ask and what you’re asking for can dramatically change results of your click-through rate.
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