Given the importance of email marketing campaigns for a business, it is something that you should be engaging with to ensure you reach out to your customers in the most effective manner. However, there is no getting away from the fact that you need to be able to make sure that you test your email marketing activities, because if you don’t, you may cause yourself a lot of trouble, while also missing out on a great number of sales and conversions.
When it comes to email marketing, like with many areas of business, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Email marketing has been used for a considerable period of time and this means that many people have achieved success in this field. It also means that plenty of people have failed with email marketing and it can be worthwhile to look at these failures to determine what mistakes have been made and what you should avoid doing. While it is helpful to examine the activities of successful businesses, it is also helpful to be aware of the mistakes that unsuccessful businesses and make sure that you avoid them.
You need to make sure that your groups are random
When sending out test emails to different groups, you have to make sure that the people you send your tests to are selected at random. If by chance you end up sending all of one type of email to people in a certain location, or people of all the same gender, while your other email is sent to people from a different location or recipients of the other gender, you will not be able to say for certain if the results are due to your change in the email or down to the difference in the recipient. This means that you will have wasted time and money but it means that if you act on the results and implement changes, you may not achieve the results you are looking for when you email out to your entire list.
It may even be something simple like making sure that there is a random distribution of the email addresses of the recipients. For an example, if one group was mainly Hotmail addresses while the other group was Googlemail addresses, what would happen if one group had issues with receiving the mail? Your results would be virtually worthless because you couldn’t be sure if any positive or negative reaction was down to the issues with the email provider as opposed to the change that you had made.
You need to change just one thing
This is a very simple premise of email marketing testing, but it is vital that it is understood. While there are so many things that can be changed when it comes to email marketing testing, you should only ever change one thing at a time.
The following items can all be considered as being worth testing for:
- The subject line of the email
- Whether you have headlines within your address
- Whether an email is text based or HTML
- What sort of tone you use in your content
- What sort of personalisation you use
- What “from” address you use
- The time of day the email is sent
- The layout and design of the email
- The day of the week the email is sent on
- The content of the offer or email
You may be tempted to test more than one thing at a time but if you do this, you will be unsure of what the impact of each individual change was and the work you carried out in setting up and conducting the test will be wasted.
Do not over-analyse the results
While you will need to test the results and see what results and information you get back, you also need to accept that the results are what they are. If you have run a controlled email marketing test with everything in place, there is no point in wondering about “what if” elements or other factors that could be in play. You have carried out your testing, you have received a result and you should take the results as standard. Of course, you should look to continue carrying out testing so it may be that you find other conflicting results later on, but as long as you test in the right manner, you can be confident in what you are doing.