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Top Tips for Testing A/B Email Marketing Campaigns

2nd Apr 2013

Email is one of the key marketing chains for any business; it can be beneficial for your company in many ways. Results can include increased engagement, increased profits and a more streamlined communication channel. However, results aren’t guaranteed and the only way that you can identify areas for improvement is by using  A/B email marketing campaigns. 

What is A/B Email Testing and can it improve my results?

A/B email testing means to send out two different versions of an email marketing campaign to a segment of your current subscriber list to test what factors perform the best.  It’s best to split them into equal parts for example you should send test A to 5% of your database and the other 5% test B. The email that performs the best is then sent to the remainder of the list. The main point about A/B is that you only ever change one aspect of the email and keep everything else constant. For example you could change:

  • Time of day
  • Calls to action – colour, positioning 
  • Subject 
  • Day of week 

You then measure which email has the greatest response rate and send out that email to the remaining subscribers.

In terms of measuring performance, you should focus on one of the following factors:

  • Open rate 
  • Click through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Conversion rate* (which will require extra analysis through Google Analytics or similar) 

*It’s worth noting that conversion rate will be affected by factors outside of your email, for example the customer journey to checkout, so it’s best to keep this as simple as possible. Take clickers to a dedicated, clutter-free landing page; with a strong, clear call to action which will take them to the final stage, whether it be checkout, registration or whitepaper download. 

A Few Important Factors

  • Always use testing before sending out an email. Yes, it may be time consuming however in the long run it is for the best to see higher sales.
  • Always go with the figures. You must go with the email that achieved the highest response rate even if it isn’t the one you preferred; the figures should always be trusted. 

Need some more hints?

If you’d like us to talk you through A/B testing in more detail, please contact Louise Davies, Digital Marketing consultant on or 0161 870 8194.