Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3
Who doesn't want their emails to make a splash? Unless you're an email savant, however, you might debate about what to send. While you can take chances, an easier and more effective method is to ask your audience. And although you can, and should, outright ask your subscribers what they want in the form of preference centers, this won't help you with the little details that can make or break an individual campaign. For help with the little things, start performing split tests with your emails.
Where to start
If you're beginning to get into testing and want to know where to start, look to these five areas:
1. From Address: Very few businesses give any thought into testing the from address, even though it's the first thing subscribers look at when deciding whether to open an email. There's no perfect type of from address to use, so consider testing options like a branded from address (your company name or product), an actual name of a person (somewhat typical for B-to-B emails, but this can backfire, which is why we're testing) or maybe a unique name for your newsletter. Some brands do a combination of personal name and brand name to boost opens.
2. Subject Lines: Small but impactful, subject lines are the first hurdle your email must pass in its journey to deliver marketing value. Unless your subject line can engage the subscriber to click, your copy, design and offers won't get a chance to have an impact.
Assuming you have a control whose performance you can predict, craft your second subject line to work off what you already have. The most effective split tests of subject lines compare two similar subject lines, so stick to small (but important) alterations. Try changing one or two words or rearranging the construction of your sentence to present key information in opposing orders. Will your subscribers be more enticed by a "Free tote bag for the summer" or a "Complimentary summer tote bag?" Test and find out.
Related story: Smart Email Marketers Win the Waiting Game