Without proper testing, there is no way to tell what your customers are actually seeing or how they are responding to your message.
In this article, Spencer Kollas tells us to start with establishing a comprehensive plan that outlines what you want to test, what you will consider a success or a failure and how you will measure this.
What can/should you test?
- Test to see how your message renders: test your message in a campaign preview tool to see how your message will appear in the various email clients.
- Test to see where your messages are placed. Does your email reach the inbox, the junk folder or is it blocked all together? Test inbox placement during every campaign.
- Test your content. By making easy and small changes to your content, like changing one word in the subject line or highlighting a product feature, you can increase clicks and sales dramatically. When testing campaigns with different content, you'll want to start by changing one element at a time. This allows you to more easily see what factor is having a direct impact on your email response rate. An easy and effective way to do this is to pull two randomized samples from your entire list. This is called A/B testing.
For smaller lists, it is common to split the entire list into two randomized groups and send one version of the email to each of the groups and measure which group had a better response rate for opens, clicks or revenue generated. Next, apply those findings to future mailings.
For larger lists where statistical significance is not a concern, many marketers use a 10/10/80 split, but you could also select an exact number of recipients for each test mailing. This method allows you to determine the best performing email and then send it to the remainder of the list for maximum impact.
There is also value in testing a carefully selected combination of factors so that you can determine if any of the test elements interact with each other positively or negatively. However, before you embark on what we call multivariate testing, you should recognize that this type of testing is very complicated and requires advanced planning, stringent adherence to the test plan and an extra level of sophistication to interpret the results.
- Learn from your results. Track and document your testing results and share information on what works with key stakeholders involved with the strategy, design and promotional aspects of your campaign.
- Test continually. Every company has its busy season; for retailers it's the time between October and January, for others it might be the back-to-school season. Either way, it is important to test as much as possible before your busy season. That way, when the critical time arrives, you can take advantage of your most effective messaging based on what you've already learned about your customers and what works for them.
Source: iMedia Connection