5 Email Marketing A/B Testing IdeasAustin Whiting
Finding new ways to A/B test your email marketing campaigns can be hard. While certain aspects of your email naturally standout as go-to’s for testing (subject lines, templates, etc.), there inevitably comes a point where you may be asking yourself, “what’s next?”
As an email marketer myself, I’ve definitely been there. That’s why I want to share some testing ideas that have worked for me in the past when searching for additional ways to test and move the needle for my email program.
“Friendly From” Name
Your “Friendly From” is the inbox-facing nickname of the from address which sent you an email. Normally, if this is sent from a brand, it will most often be the name of the brand (ex. Airbnb), though it has been a popular tactic for brands to add an individual’s name here to add a pinch of personalization in.
While we believe it’s important to not be misleading (previously discussed here), on our end, we’ve found for one particular email, our users significantly prefer seeing “Matt from SendGrid” over just “SendGrid” for our friendly from. Try using a first name as your friendly from to see if your recipients open your emails more.
While it can be easy to over-personalize (and risk being misleading), testing your from name is also a good opportunity to be clear. For example, using “Billing at SendGrid” vs. “SendGrid” may give your recipient a better idea of who the email is coming from and also leaves more subject line real estate available.
The more you understand your audience, the more you can provide them with valuable content. But no one recipient is the same, so segmenting your email list will help keep engagement rates high. For example, how do your openers within the past 30 days react to your email vs. those who haven’t opened in 30, but did within 60? Send the same email to both groups to see if there is insight you can use in your future sends.
You can see if they respond by opening or clicking at a different rate. By testing this, you can see what email resonates better with what group, and ideally, begin narrowing or personalizing your message and copy to different segments within your email list.
Time of Day
A/B test the time of day you’re sending your emails, as well as the day of the week. Given the content of your email, and the traits of the people on your list, how different emails perform on different days will often not be the same.
For example, while I was working on the email team on a daily deals website with an older subscriber base, we found that we saw our best results on weekends early in the morning. This was when we found our base was most active, or almost ready to take action on a sale.
I’ve also seen that emails from a local non-profit experience higher email engagement later in the evening on a Wednesday, whose base consisted of young, working-class adults. Depending on your content, and who you’re sending to, there is most likely a sweet spot for your sending times.
Personalization is always going to be an important factor for a successful email marketing campaign, and it’s a great element to test. What information do you have on your user and their activity with you? The more data you have about your email recipients, the more opportunity you have to personalize the emails that they receive. Try and think of new ways to include that insight as you are creating your emails, and then test the impact! For example, will a subject line that includes someone’s first name result in a higher open rate?
Or what about including a brand name in the subject line that they recently purchased from vs. a generic choice? Test new ways of including personalization in emails against a control and build on your successes.
This last idea is a bit different and may not be right for every situation, but resending your email may be effective in some situations. Although not a true A/B test, by giving resends a try, you can see what incremental value you can achieve, along with what price you have to pay for re-emailing your users. Resends are a great tactic often used around promotional marketing email, and pair well with a sense of urgency.
Our 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report shows that the number of emails being sent per month is dropping, so if you do decide you have something worth emailing your customers a second time about, be sure it’s providing value! If you have something good to share, a follow-up email could be a solid way to drive your KPIs, but you’ll just want to make sure the pros outweigh the cons.
Finally, make sure you reference our A/B testing essentials guide for an additional helping hand and other best practice tips to ensure you are making the most of your email testing strategy!