Ahhh…A/B testing (aka, ‘split testing’). I remember I first came across the basic notion/existence of A/B testing during the first week of my first marketing job.
Fresh out of college, I thought I knew it all. I was running email campaigns, scheduling bomb social ads — I was finding my groove.
Until a few days later, my boss stopped by my desk and asked, “So those email campaigns…what was the outcome of the A/B testing? What’d you end up testing? What’d we decide to go with?”
And that’s when I realized two things:
- I had no idea what A/B testing was (YIKES!)
- Seasoned marketers ALWAYS A/B test, especially when launching new campaigns, initiatives, tactics, etc.
Okay, I realized the second point a few weeks later after taking a crash course on A/B testing.
Now that I’m much further along in my marketing journey, I too know the importance of A/B testing; however, I have to be honest, I still don’t use it nearly enough.
If you find yourself in the same position and need a little A/B testing inspiration, take a look at my helpful tips down below all about how to enliven your email marketing campaigns with A/B testing!
Honestly, I’m using this to inspire myself too so… we’re all in the same boat 😉
First of all, if you’re like I was and have no clue what A/B testing is (no shame!) here’s a quick definition for ya provided by VWO:
“A/B testing, also known as split testing, refers to a randomized experimentation process wherein two or more versions of a variable (web page, page element, etc.) are shown to different segments of website visitors at the same time to determien which version leaves the maximum impact and drive business metrics.”
For today’s purposes, we’re specifically talking about A/B testing when it comes to email marketing — but keep in mind A/B testing is remarkably versatile and can be used in pretty much every area and aspect of digital marketing.
Now, let’s get into the many ways you can enliven and re-energize your email marketing campaigns with A/B testing!
- Only test one variable at a time
I’m making this point #1 because, in my eyes, it’s what I wish I would’ve learned sooner (i.e. FIRST THING).
In order to successfully A/B test, you should only test one variable at a time.
So let’s say you’re looking to increase your click rate on your next email marketing campaign. You might want to test out different CTAs, different button styles/colors, different images, etc.
That’s all well and fine! But you will want to run separate A/B tests for every single one of those options.
If you change all three of those things, you’ll never actually know which element increased your clicks. Was it the button? The CTA?
Experimentation and A/B testing take time and patience. Don’t rush it if you want to see results!
- Start small (and at the beginning)
One of the first (and easiest) A/B tests I recommend running is your email campaign’s subject line. This is my go-to when A/B testing any new email marketing campaign.
It’s small but mighty. Also, it’s the “entrance,” so to speak, to the whole email campaign!
Start with the subject line and then feel free to A/B test the actual content of the email (preheaders, CTAs, copy, buttons, colors, images, etc.)
Need help crafting the perfect subject line? Check out our blog post, “Subject Lines: 5 Ways to Make Them Shine in 2021.”
- When in doubt, make personalization your primary focus
If you know Net-Results, you know we absolutely adore personalization when it comes to email marketing. We can’t recommend it enough! In fact, we wrote a whole piece all about why personalization matters in marketing automation (and digital marketing, overall).
With that in mind, I strongly encourage you to A/B test elements of personalization — see what works!
Try personalizing subject lines, intro copy, preheaders… the world is your personalization oyster when it comes to A/B testing (that may have been the cheesiest line I’ve ever written, but I stand by it).
- Keep track of all your findings
You’d be surprised how many people leave out this all-too-important step! Sure you can go back to campaign reports to remember the outcome(s) of A/B testing, but that’s a pain.
Having a spreadsheet and/or a well-documented log of your A/B testing results will help future you and future marketers at your place of work. Basically, you’ll thank yourself later.
In addition to saving time, a well-kept log of findings will allow you to conduct further analysis/observations about your target audience.
We’re talkin’ key insight here!
Pssst…I found this really cool article all about how to document your A/B tests — check it out!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to A/B testing, but it should set you on the right path as you work to enliven your email marketing campaigns!
And don’t forget, if you have any questions about A/B testing (better yet, how effective and easy A/B testing is in the Net-Results platform), please consider scheduling a free, 20-minute chat with our team.
We’re always here to help.
Cheers to your success,
Digital Marketing Specialist