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Top 8 A/B testing elements for email marketing campaigns

A/B testing is one of the most important tactics for any email marketer. The main aim of A/B testing is to drive better email marketing metrics through more relevant emails. It’s about hypothesizing something about your subscriber and testing to validate that assumption.

Through A/B testing, you can send two marginally different emails to your target audience and determine which kind of emails bring maximum engagement.

Based on this information, you can send the most effective email in the final campaign. A well-planned A/B testing can make a drastic difference to your marketing strategy.

Let’s discuss the advantages of A/B testing and how it helps marketers to understand their target audience better.

Advantages of A/B testing in email marketing

1. Better subscriber engagement

Information gathered by creating multiple campaigns with the same goal and same target audience can be the guiding light for more effective email campaigns. You can carry out controlled tests and analyze the performance of each campaign. Based on the results, you can choose the winning version as the final send, which will ultimately drive better subscriber engagement.

2. Enhanced email metrics

The most frustrating thing for any email marketer is incompetent email metrics even after all the hard work. By A/B testing your email campaigns, you can figure out the flaws in your strategy and optimize it for best results.

Let me share an example with you. Suppose your open rate is constantly dwindling. What will you do in such a case? The obvious answer would be: Work on your subject lines.

A/B testing comes into picture here. You can prepare two campaigns with different subject lines and send to two different subscriber groups. The one that brings you better open rates will be considered as the winning email. You can run similar tests for email copy, design layout, call-to-action, etc. to enhance your email metrics.

3. Higher conversion rate

The easiest way to create content that converts more subscribers into buyers is A/B testing. When you invest your time and thought in crafting two versions of your campaigns, it gives you accurate information on what resonates the best with your subscribers. Once you have these details, you can surely yield a higher conversion rate through your emails.

That said, we shall now delve deeper into the top eight email elements that you should A/B test:

Top 8 A/B testing elements for email marketing campaigns

1. Subject line

Your subject line works like the headline of a newspaper headline. The more enticing it is, the better will be the open rates. You should take into account the recent subject line trends and prepare two different campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t.

Try out emojis in subject lines, first name personalization, numbers or use of power words that will instantly make the recipient open the email. Also, test longer versus shorter subject lines. The results will surely unlock the key to better open rates for your future emails.

2. Preview text

Besides the subject line, preview text also matters when it comes to email open rates. Many marketers miss out on making prudent use of this space and end up writing something like “View this email in browser” as preview text.

Instead, elaborate the subject line and let the subscribers know why they should open the email.

For example: Test “50% off continues” or “Avail your coupon code now” as the preview text, that would inform the subscriber about what the email is all about and prompt them to take action.

3. Email copy

Your email copy should be interesting enough for the subscribers and inspire them to take a decision. Try to instil a sense of trust through your email copy.

There are different body copy variants that you can test:

  • Use of bullet points or numbered list
  • Question and answer format
  • Plain text versus HTML email

Minor tweaks like these in your email copy can greatly influence your email click-through rates and conversions.

4. Personalization in emails

Personalize your emails to create a human touch and appeal to your subscribers in a better way. With attention span of people falling down to 3-4 seconds, you do not have much time to grab their eyeballs.

You can test different tricks of personalization by including the first name of the subscriber in the email copy or applying the principles of artificial intelligence. Personalize your campaigns on the basis of past purchases, products searched for, resources downloaded, etc. and note the metrics to understand how it works for your target audience.

5. Email design

Email design encompasses several parameters such as visual elements like rich media, responsiveness, and interactivity. Your emails should be invariably mobile responsive to cater to the mobile subscribers.

According to your industry and type of business, test the usage of different design elements like images or GIFs in your emails. If you are a marketer belonging to the ecommerce sector, try using GIFs in your emails and assess the click-through rates or conversions.

Also, consider the fact that animated GIFs are not supported by email clients like Outlook. Therefore, you should always test the emails, which implies that even while you A/B test, you should never forget testing the emails for any rendering issues.

6. Discounts or offers in email

Special offers in email always light up your subscriber’s face. Test non-urgent versus limited time offers in the emails. Also, send a countdown in email to one of the groups to see how it fares in the metrics chart.

7. Call to action

Your call to action (CTA) is the ultimate driver of conversions. Hence, you should pay special attention to this element. Try out first person narrative or second person narrative in your CTA copy.

Also, work on different colors of CTA buttons and assess its performance. Rather than writing something as simple as “Shop now”, give a shot to a creative and out-of-the-box copy. Usually, CTAs written in all caps work better than those written in sentence case. Test one versus multiple CTAs in your email campaigns and see if there is any difference in the conversion rate.

8. Time of sending email

The time of sending an email is of paramount importance as far as the success of your email campaigns is concerned.

Let’s say: You receive an email at 8:00 AM and another at 9:00 PM. Which one will you act on? I would prefer to act on the latter. What about your subscribers? Test for the optimal time and day that works the best for your email list.


Are you ready to A/B test and win your subscribers’ hearts already? Just prepare a sizeable list as the test group and you are good to go. At the first thought, it might seem a daunting and time-consuming task but I assure you it is surely worth the sweat of your brow.

Happy testing and happy emailing!

Kevin George is Brand Marketing Manager at EmailMonks.

The post Top 8 A/B testing elements for email marketing campaigns appeared first on ClickZ.

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