What is A/B Testing in Email Marketing? A Guide For Businesses

By: Amanda Recktenwald

Have you ever spent hours coming up with a catchy subject line just to find that only 5% of the recipients even bothered to open the email? Have you ever wondered if you could’ve gotten a higher click rate if you had taken the time to embed that video? Well, I have. And let me tell you, there is a better way!

Allow me to introduce you to A/B testing. But what exactly is A/B testing? Simply put, A/B testing involves creating two very similar emails in order to see how a small change can make a large impact.

Getting Started with A/B Testing in Email Marketing

The first thing you need to get started with an A/B test is to create an awesome email. Then, ask yourself “what else could make this email even better?” This could be as simple as adding an emoji to the subject line, moving a button to the top of the email, or including an engaging picture.

Next is my favorite part: sending both versions of the email to your test group and assessing the results for each. Email “A” is sent to a small percentage of your list, say 25%. Email “B” is simultaneously sent to another 25%. After waiting a few hours to collect results, a winner is declared based on the variable tested. For example, if you’re testing two different subject lines, the email with the higher open rate during the test period may be the winner. The winning email is then sent to the remainder of your list.

How Does Email A/B Testing Help Your Business?

Initially, it helps by allowing you to send the better-performing, or “winning”, email to 75% of your email list. However, the larger benefit comes from the information gained during the test. 

For example, let’s say the Valentine’s Day email you sent that included a heart emoji in the subject line resulted in a higher open rate than the same email sans subject-line emoji. Armed with this knowledge, you can choose to include a four-leaf clover in the subject line of your St. Patrick’s Day email to achieve better results.

Using A/B testing in your email marketing campaigns can give you actionable insight into what kind of content your email list is likely to respond to positively. By conducting regular A/B testing and continually reviewing results, both new and past,  you can continually tailor your emails to better fit your audience and generate more opens, clicks, and conversions.

Want to learn more about how A/B testing can improve your email campaigns? Contact us today for a conversation with our email marketing experts, or see how our email marketing solutions have helped other businesses reach their goals

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