Just imagine if it were possible to optimise each and every element of the sales emails you send. You could increase engagement, your conversion rates would skyrocket, and – best of all – your boss will start to think of you as an email superhero, you’ll be promoted to director of marketing, and receive a shiny new company, Mercedes.
Okay, we can’t guarantee that last part.
Optimising your sales emails, though, is probably easier than you think. In this blog, we’ll be sharing our top tips on how to ensure your messages make the maximum impact by using A/B testing.
A brief introduction to A/B Testing
The essence of A/B testing, applied to email marketing, is to send out two versions of the same sales message and see which performs the best. Once you’ve collected the data, you can scrap the version which is least effective and stick with the email message which achieves maximum engagement.
Using this method, it’s possible to test any part of an email – from the subject line to the signature – and continually optimise your messages by testing new ideas and changes over time.
So, let’s look at some of the detail of A/B testing and some top tips for applying it to your marketing.
Every business and marketing situation is different, but they all have common elements and so, as a rule, there are three general guidelines which all salespeople should follow to make the most of A/B testing their emails.
1. Test one variable at a time
It’s tempting, we know, to change many things at once – especially when you’re feeling creative and your marketing brain is overflowing with ideas. Don’t give in to this temptation. By testing only one variable – changing only one thing – at a time, you can be sure that you know exactly what it is that’s causing the difference in engagement between two near-identical emails. Then you can capitalize on your new knowledge.
2. Aim for Statistical Significance
If you work in marketing you will know that data matters, numbers matter. If your test emails have only been sent to a small audience of, say, 20 or 50 people, your results are unlikely to be meaningful. You won’t know whether the difference in response rates or engagement is down to the difference between your emails or the difference in the groups of people who received email A or email B.
By testing with larger groups – in the hundreds or bigger – you can be much more confident that your samples truly reflect the whole population whom you are aiming your emails at, making any results much more significant.
It’s also worth noting that you should always ensure that both sample groups (A and B) are the same size.
3. Keep a goal in mind for every test
Your goal will determine how you measure the success, or otherwise, of each of your email versions. Are you interested in open rate, reply rate, or click-through rate? Not only will this help you to plan how you will track your results and analyze the date, you can also use benchmarking tools to compare your email’s performance with averages in your industry sector.
Which elements of an email can be A/B tested?
Almost all parts of any email campaign can be optimized using A/B testing.
4. Subject line
One-third of users decide whether to open an email based purely on the subject line and, for most others, it forms a part of that decision too. You can optimize your subject line by thinking about, and testing differences in:
• Format: for example, whether using questions or statements achieves better performance
• Length: a good subject line is always concise, but you need to work out what length is best for you and your users
• Specificity: some users prefer clarity while others can be hooked on a little bit of mystery
5. The email Itself
Elements you may want to include in your A/B testing include:
• The salutation: Hello, Hey, Hi, Hey there… or even Dear Joe. See which one your users respond to best.
• Tone: in some industries, and depending on your users, a formal tone may hit the target, whereas, in other places, a friendly and informal style may be more effective in engaging your audience.
• Call to action: Don’t always end your emails by asking for a call-back. Often a thought-provoking question, using a scheduling app, or just using different styles of asking your prospects to get in touch, can be more effective. Use A/B testing to see which works best for your business.
• Relevant (forwardable!) resources: Some case studies, blog posts, or reports will resonate more with some audiences than others, so use testing to try out different ideas and see which is most effective at engaging your audience. Also, users love to be able to forward memorable quotes or useful resources to their colleagues, so it is always best to attach these things to emails or send them in some other forwardable way.
• Personalization: Rarely will any marketer have the time to write a personalized email to every one of their potential clients. However, it’s a well-known fact that personalized emails always outperform generic ones. So, experiment with the options and levels of personalization available in your mailing list or CRM package and see what moves you towards your goal the most.
Other things you may want to test include the length and timing of your emails, or even the day on which you send them, to see what difference these extra factors can make.
The best thing about A/B testing, of course, is that you can use it to optimize just about any part of your emails. And, the more you test the better your emails will become! For more advice about A/B testing or any other marketing techniques, get in touch with our team today.