Catch the E-mail Testing Bug!
To start the testing process, use the following three-step approach, which will help you identify what to test within your e-mail campaigns and the appropriate means of conducting the tests.
1. Identify your greatest opportunities to improve your e-mail program.
You’ll want to prioritize the points of the e-mail marketing program that need to be optimized by evaluating the e-mail response funnel (e.g., delivered, opens, clicks, product views, sales). The e-mail response funnel is the same for all organizations up to the click stage. At that point, the response funnel should reflect the objectives of your site. While the objective may be sales, it could just as well be registration for an event, driving a phone call, printing a coupon or downloading a whitepaper. To evaluate your e-mail response funnel, compile your e-mail campaigns’ historical averages of delivery, open, clickthrough and conversion rates, and compare those to a good set of benchmarks (e.g., by considering industry and list size). This will help you identify and prioritize areas that need optimization.
For example, say you are a consulting services firm with a list of 5,000 subscribers. Your average unique open rate is 30 percent and your average unique clickthrough rate is 2 percent. After gathering industry benchmark data from your e-mail service provider, you find that the open rate is in line with industry averages, but the clickthrough rate is much lower than industry averages. You now have identified the starting point for your optimization efforts—the design of your e-mails. Alternatively, if your average unique open rate is 15 percent and your average unique clickthrough rate is 2 percent, you’ll want to look at the factors affecting getting the e-mails opened, since a 15 percent unique rate is well below comparable benchmarks, and opens precede clicks on the e-mail response funnel.