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Why you need to split test your emails

An overview of why split testing is important, and what tests you need to run to optimize your email funnel.

Why would you want to spend time split-testing your emails? 

Because you will KNOW which emails have an impact on your sales. 

 

No guessing, no hunches. 

 

With results in black and white, your data will tell you what emails are converting better. Your time will be well-spent, considering the results will help you make decisions on what emails to use, and which ones to drop. 

 

In this article I’ll go through what you should test and why. The exact steps of how to set up a split tests will depend on which email software you’re using, so we’ll leave that out for now. If you’re setting up split tests in your own email software and you have a question, feel free to write to me. 

 

So, WHAT should you test? 

Subject lines

The easiest and one of the most common things to test is the subject line. The subject line will have a direct impact on the Open Rate, so it’s critical to get it right. 

If people don’t open your emails, they won’t read what you have to say, they won’t click any links driving them to your website, and they won’t buy from you. 

 

The few characters in the subject lines are really important, so use them wisely 🙂

 

When you set up your split test, you want to set it up so that you can actually learn from them. The subject lines need to be different, but not too different. 

 

For example, if you’ve written an email about a new product coming up the split test might look something like this:

Subject line A: New product: Awesome Pillow.

Subject line B: FirstName, New Product: Awesome Pillow

 

Let’s say Option B is the clear winner.

 

Based on this scenario, we can assume that what had a positive impact is using FirstName in the subject line. It makes sense, calling on the reader’s name draws the reader’s attention. 

 

Creating a test where the difference between the subject lines is small, we can be more confident about the conclusions we can draw from the test. If the subject lines are wildly different, it can be hard to draw conclusions you can trust. Even small changes can have a big impact. 

 

Other things you can test in the subject line apart from the exact copy is Capital letters vs normal, whether to use emojis or not, FirstName vs FullName. 

Pre-header

The pre-header is the snippet of text you see underneath the subject line when you look at an email in your inbox. Here is an example: 

Why would you want to spend time split-testing your emails? 

Because you will KNOW which emails have an impact on your sales. 

 

No guessing, no hunches. 

 

With results in black and white, your data will tell you what emails are converting better. Your time will be well-spent, considering the results will help you make decisions on what emails to use, and which ones to drop. 

 

In this article I’ll go through what you should test and why. The exact steps of how to set up a split tests will depend on which email software you’re using, so we’ll leave that out for now. If you’re setting up split tests in your own email software and you have a question, feel free to write to me. 

 

So, WHAT should you test? 

Subject lines

The easiest and one of the most common things to test is the subject line. The subject line will have a direct impact on the Open Rate, so it’s critical to get it right. 

If people don’t open your emails, they won’t read what you have to say, they won’t click any links driving them to your website, and they won’t buy from you. 

 

The few characters in the subject lines are really important, so use them wisely 🙂

 

When you set up your split test, you want to set it up so that you can actually learn from them. The subject lines need to be different, but not too different. 

 

For example, if you’ve written an email about a new product coming up the split test might look something like this:

Subject line A: New product: Awesome Pillow.

Subject line B: FirstName, New Product: Awesome Pillow

 

Let’s say Option B is the clear winner.

 

Based on this scenario, we can assume that what had a positive impact is using FirstName in the subject line. It makes sense, calling on the reader’s name draws the reader’s attention. 

 

Creating a test where the difference between the subject lines is small, we can be more confident about the conclusions we can draw from the test. If the subject lines are wildly different, it can be hard to draw conclusions you can trust. Even small changes can have a big impact. 

 

Other things you can test in the subject line apart from the exact copy is Capital letters vs normal, whether to use emojis or not, FirstName vs FullName. 

Pre-header

The pre-header is the snippet of text you see underneath the subject line when you look at an email in your inbox. Here is an example: 

How the email is displayed in the Gmail inbox on a mobile device.
What the email looks like. Note that the first text is shown in the pre-header in the inbox.
 

You can either define the pre-header, or if you leave it blank it will automatically be the first line of text in the email. The pre-header will also have an impact on the Open Rate, so give this part some thought, don’t leave it to chance. You can test the copy, capital letters, emoji’s etc. Remember to use curiosity, what would make the reader open the email?

From Name

You don’t necessarily need to use the company name here. If you can make it personal, make it personal. For one of my clients, European Bartender School, the Welcome Sequence emails are sent from the Head of Education, a person of authority in the industry, so the From Name is  “Gavin EBS”. You could try Name @ Company, Name from Company, or just Full Name. 

Call-To-Actions

A call to action is something which encourages the reader to take some kind of action, clicking a link most likely. It can be embedded in the text:

 

“Click here to book a call”

 

Or a separate button. 

 

It’s impossible to know exactly how your audience is going to react to your emails, so you definitely want to test your CTA’s. Test the copy, the colors of the buttons, capital letters, and the number of CTA’s in your email.

Structure of the email

Find out what structure works best on the type of emails you send. For example, a Welcome Sequence email will likely look different from a promotional email. I recommend using a banner at the top for your promotional emails, you want the reader to quickly be able to see the most important things, such as value offer, discount, promo code, call-to-action etc. Test what banner works best for you. 

 

You could also test the overall structure, whether to put images above or below the text, the order of the different content etc.

Images

Images are also likely to have an impact on the engagement. Remember that most users are reading their emails on a mobile, so optimize for mobile devices. Keep the image size to between 400 – 650px. Test product/service photos, having people in the photos vs without.

How to split test effectively

Last but not least, test one aspect of your email at a time. If you’re testing different copy, buttons, and structure in two different emails at the same time, you won’t know what changes had an impact. Was it the copy or the image placement that had an impact on the click rate? We can’t tell. Let’s say you want to test what CTA works best, a button with red or blue background. Then set up a split test with the same subject lines, with identical email content, apart from the buttons. The only thing that is different in the emails should be the colors of the buttons. This way, as long as the audience size is large enough, you can trust the result of the email.
 

You can either define the pre-header, or if you leave it blank it will automatically be the first line of text in the email. The pre-header will also have an impact on the Open Rate, so give this part some thought, don’t leave it to chance. You can test the copy, capital letters, emoji’s etc. Remember to use curiosity, what would make the reader open the email?

From Name

You don’t necessarily need to use the company name here. If you can make it personal, make it personal. For one of my clients, European Bartender School, the Welcome Sequence emails are sent from the Head of Education, a person of authority in the industry, so the From Name is  “Gavin EBS”. You could try Name @ Company, Name from Company, or just Full Name. 

Call-To-Actions

A call to action is something which encourages the reader to take some kind of action, clicking a link most likely. It can be embedded in the text:

 

“Click here to book a call”

 

Or a separate button. 

 

It’s impossible to know exactly how your audience is going to react to your emails, so you definitely want to test your CTA’s. Test the copy, the colors of the buttons, capital letters, and the number of CTA’s in your email.

Structure of the email

Find out what structure works best on the type of emails you send. For example, a Welcome Sequence email will likely look different from a promotional email. I recommend using a banner at the top for your promotional emails, you want the reader to quickly be able to see the most important things, such as value offer, discount, promo code, call-to-action etc. Test what banner works best for you. 

 

You could also test the overall structure, whether to put images above or below the text, the order of the different content etc.

Images

Images are also likely to have an impact on the engagement. Remember that most users are reading their emails on a mobile, so optimize for mobile devices. Keep the image size to between 400 – 650px. Test product/service photos, having people in the photos vs without.

How to split test effectively

Last but not least, test one aspect of your email at a time. If you’re testing different copy, buttons, and structure in two different emails at the same time, you won’t know what changes had an impact. Was it the copy or the image placement that had an impact on the click rate? We can’t tell. Let’s say you want to test what CTA works best, a button with red or blue background. Then set up a split test with the same subject lines, with identical email content, apart from the buttons. The only thing that is different in the emails should be the colors of the buttons. This way, as long as the audience size is large enough, you can trust the result of the email.
Personalization at scale.

 

+34 634 57 02 84

malin@hookhold.marketing

C/ del Comte Borrell, 62, 08015 Barcelona

Personalization at scale.

 

+34 634 57 02 84

malin@hookhold.marketing

C/ del Comte Borrell, 62, 08015 Barcelona

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