It’s a new year, and this is the perfect time to make plans to improve results from your e-mail programs by conducting some meaningful tests.
It always surprises me that as marketers we give lip service to the importance of testing, but many of us don’t take the time to fine-tune our e-mail programs. Just think, if you are able to identify a few elements through testing that resonate with your customers and then employ those insights in your ongoing program, the improvements may be sustainable over time. And, studies show that marketers who test have higher ROI than those who don’t.
Approaches to Testing
If your program generally works well and compares favorably to industry metrics, you may want to isolate individual variables and conduct some A/B tests to determine which is more effective. A/B testing is easy to set up and doesn’t require advanced analytics to determine success.
If your program is not meeting your objectives and results are below industry benchmarks, it may be time to take more drastic measures. You may want to try a major overhaul and test multiple elements at the same time. This is similar to direct mail where you might develop and test an entirely new format and presentation against your control.
In either case, you want to structure your test so you have reliable results. If your list is sizeable, it is relatively easy to take 5 percent to 15 percent of your file to conduct your tests. If your file is small, it’s more problematic. Structure your tests so you’ll have at least 100 responses to measure for each test group. Depending on your goal, responses might be opens, clickthroughs, clicks-to-opens or conversions on your site.
If your testing is straightforward, you also can pretest prior to a campaign and then roll out to the balance of your list with the winner.