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A/B Testing Emails

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Best practices

What are some of the best practices for A/B testing?

  • Test early and often: Don’t wait until the end of the process. Test this thing out. You’re not actually sending it live to your list yet, so you can test as often and as early as you want. That’s really important.
  • Use a random email list: If you want, you can do some A/B testing with a random list to see how it works. And that can be an interesting way to test your email.
  • Test only one element at a time: As with any A/B testing, you only test one element at a time because that enables you to figure out what works and what didn’t. For example, we changed something in this email, and it wasn’t changed in that email, and that enabled us to know what worked and what didn’t. If you change a lot of elements, it’s really hard to measure. It’s like testing a hypothesis. You don’t want to change a lot of things. You just want to have one thing. You’ve got kind of a control group on one hand and then the change on the other.

Email elements

So what are some email elements when you’re thinking about this? And this goes into your open rate optimization.

  • Subject line: This is perhaps the most obvious element, and it’s like the first thing that catches the receiver’s attention.
  • Time of send: This the time you send the message
  • Day of send: This is the day you send the message. If you send a message out on a Friday afternoon when everybody is gone or off work or they aren’t necessarily thinking about the most recent, relevant sector news, they might not read it if it’s a professional-context, industry-level message. However, if you’re trying to sell someone something around, “Hey, 10 Best Places to Go Out for Dinner,” in their city, then maybe it’s actually better to send it sort of nearer to the time when they might be going out.
  • Sender details: You’re also going to have sender details. What email address are you sending from:
  • Preview text: This is the text that the receiver can see before opening the email.
  • Body copy: This is the main content of the email.

These are the elements which will help you in determining things like open rate. And these are testable elements.

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of email marketing in demand generation and lead conversions 
  • Evaluate marketing emails designs and their effectiveness
  • Appraise the performance of email marketing campaigns

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Applied Email Marketing
Eric Stoller
Skills Expert

Communication expert Eric Stoller will help you to identify the attributes and features of an effective marketing email. You will recognize the importance of professional email design to retain brand reputation and subscribers, and will understand that testing is the basis of every successful email marketing campaign. Eric will then introduce the key metrics and statistics within email reporting, and will help you to identify methods for optimizing the performance of your campaign.