6 Mistakes to Avoid in Email Testing
Test each element separately. First, select a subject line that works better than others. Then get your best salutation. Now you're ready to try different versions of copy. You also need to test pricing and your order form. Nobody ever said testing was easy, particularly if you neglect testing elements separately.
3. Offering too many choices. Time after time, direct marketers have tested direct mail pieces that offer readers two or more choices against a mail piece that offers only one possible answer. One choice always beats two or more choices. For example, let's say a company selling tours tried two approaches: “Only $69 for a family vacation weekend. Chose any of the following six weekends and the vacation is yours” or “We have only one available family weekend left for $69. Call right away.” The second message will always beat the first by a large margin.
Don’t think you can’t learn from direct mail folks just because you're an email marketer. There are a lot of fundamental truths about marketing that have already been learned. Choice killing response is a fundamental truth. Don’t make the mistake of giving readers a choice.
4. Not knowing the territory. You'll get better results for your email campaigns if you know who you're sending your emails to. Are they affluent seniors or college students? Are they married women or single men? Do they live in big cities or out in the country? Are they previous buyers or subscribers who have never bought anything?
The elements you test may attract some people but alienate others. If you know nothing about your audience, stick with big, significant changes in your testing — e.g., a dramatic ease of navigation or a promotion that's of general interest to all.
If you do know the territory, show different content to different segments. Run different tests for each segment. You’ll get clearer answers on your tests if the population who sees the test is more consistent.
Related story: The Danger in Mailing Too Often