Catch the E-mail Testing Bug!
2. Determine what factors or elements have an impact on each stage.
Each point of activity on the e-mail response funnel has distinct factors that influence whether or not the desired actions are taken.
Open. When you’re focusing on getting the e-mail opened, the sender (or from) lines and subject lines are critical. Sender lines should remain consistent across your e-mail sends, but if there is a strong indication that your sender line is not recognized by your audience, test two to three viable alternatives and settle on your new sender line.
Frequency also has an important impact on open rates. E-mail too often and open rates drop; e-mail too infrequently, and you will miss opportunities to get your message out. Consider longitudinal tests of small samples compared to your main list—which will act as the control—to look at both increasing and decreasing frequency. For a frequency test, you would consider the short- versus long-term impact on the bottom line. For example, in the online retail environment, the best way to maximize short-term revenue is to send offers every day. However, this causes a spike in unsubscribes and results in e-mail labeled as spam. The net result of this tactic is a severe decrease in long-term revenue. Some marketers, such as Amazon.com, devise programs that aren’t based on a set schedule; rather, they limit mailings to only timely and relevant communications. When analyzing the results, you will want to look at conversion as well as open rates to find the balance that maximizes sustainable ROI.
Click. Once the e-mail is open, the factors that can influence whether or not a customer chooses to click through can be overwhelming to a marketer. To start, consider the following list of common areas for clickthrough testing:
• Personalization. Does using the recipient’s first name improve clickthrough rates? How about a link to a map showing the store closest to the customer’s home? How much is too little or too much?