Software to allow you to test individual aspects of the whole process is what gives us the edge over other forms of marketing. We know; others guess.
Nothing is certain. There are accepted best practices that most agree on, but they are suggestions. You know best, but bear the following in mind when testing.
1/ Test everything
Nothing should be untouchable. Everyone has their favourite aspect. You might think that your From line is one of the best in the business. Unless you have tested it then that is a guess.
2/ Test repeatedly
Even if the results were statistically overwhelming the last time you tested, circumstances change. Even a subtle difference in, for instance, the interest rate could modify the behaviour of your subscribers.
You might have discovered that the best way of addressing your subscribers is by being familiar. A friendly ‘Hi, Alice’ showed a significantly higher open rate than the more formal ways you tried. But that was then. Certain aspects of your product, the make-up of the subscribers to your email marketing lists, the current situation in your sector of the market might well make your conclusions invalid. You will have to test again.
3/ Use a sample that is statistically significant
Some suggest splitting your list in half. Then there are those who say that this can be wasteful as one of the emails will perform badly in comparison. Then there is the chance of upsetting your customers, putting them off by whatever you altered. The only essential is that you have enough in the text sample try this out.
4/ Keep everything identical, apart from the factor you are testing
Little things can impact on the email as a whole. For instance, you might be testing gifs against jpegs. Will you keep the images the same size? Placing them in the same spot might limit the effectiveness of one over the other. What about object size? Is there a longer download time for one over the other? Any change will limit the dependability of the result.
5/ Test one thing at a time
Change just one aspect of the email. For instance, if you test both From and Subject lines, you will not know which factor made the difference, if any. There are ways to test more than one aspect simultaneously, and we will go over these in a later article.
6/ Believe the results
We all have our prejudices and preferences. They are difficult to discern by oneself. If results are counter-intuitive or go against common sense, then you might well have hit on a system your competitors have missed. Perhaps they discarded the results as a glitch. Don’t do the same.
7/ No result is a failure
Every test proves something, even if a negative. Keep records of what you test, what the results were and what you did.
8/ A result is merely the start
Ask yourself why the test sample was better than the one you had test earlier. What has changed? Does it point to other factors requiring testing?
We’ll move on to more complex testing systems in future articles.