Split testing is one of the most important activities you should be doing with email marketing. It helps you identify what audiences prefer on many different fronts. This can help you to achieve better results, more revenue and greater profits. However, not everyone realises the benefits, or knows how to properly adopt split testing in their campaigns.
In this article, we’ll be looking at why you should be conducting split testing in your email marketing campaigns. We’ll also be giving away some top secrets to help you out.
What Is Split Testing?
Split testing is the process of sending two versions of an email out (or landing page) with one variance on the copies to see which performs better. The difference between the two emails can be very slight, like the colour of a call to action button or one word. Or it can be a massive difference like the time of day, or day of the week.
There are many ways to test the effectiveness of split testing. You might find that customers prefer to read the content of an email with a certain subject line but are less likely to purchase after reading the email. That is why it’s important to set up key metrics for your campaign and determine what you class as better.
In addition, you should try to exhaust one variance at a time. However, if you have a significantly large enough list (i.e. over 100,000) you could test three or four varieties of the difference (i.e. four different coloured call to action buttons). However, to be sure of the results, you should do the test a couple of times.
Why Use Split Testing?
Split testing is essential if you want to improve email marketing revenues. As more ROI is generated from email marketing than any other digital sales channels, you should focus a lot of efforts on this channel. By testing your emails and adopting audience preferences, you’re likely to get better results.
It isn’t just conversions that are important either. You can look at ways to decrease the unsubscribe rates, increase social sharing, and other factors that you deem important. Split testing is also the only real way that you can test what the audience prefers absolutely.
Top Tips For Succeeding With Your Split Testing Campaigns
Split testing isn’t easy. There are many ways that you can get information or strategies wrong. So, here are some of the best kept secrets about ensuring your split campaigns are a success:
Test large populations – Ensure that you have a large enough population to start testing. You should be looking at least a couple of hundred per segment in the testing. The more you have, the higher the accuracy of the results. If you don’t have many on your mailing list, don’t buy more – just repeat the test a few times.
Exhaust options before moving on – One test does not determine the most popular options. Your audience might prefer orange as a call-to-action button in one test, but that doesn’t mean red isn’t more popular on another test. Always ensure that you’re exhausting options before declaring any success.
Randomise the audiences on each segment – When conducting a split test, always ensure that the audience in each segment is randomly selected. Otherwise you could face some bias in the results.
Regularly retest assumptions – Sometimes you might need to retest an assumption because of changes in trends or attitudes. Never be afraid of this.
Don’t tell people you’re testing them – People react differently if they know they’re being testing. All the changes you make should be subtle and the audience should be oblivious to the split testing process.
Split testing is important and you should be constantly doing it. With the right tools and attitude you can improve results of your email marketing campaigns and enjoy higher returns on your investment.
Do you do split testing? What holds you back?
Let us know in the comments below.
Split campaigns are one of the best ways you can ascertain what your audience prefers in emails. They take one element, create a variant and then offer half an audience one variant and the other half the other variant.
What you can change in a split campaign is limited only by your imagination. For instance, you can change the text in an email, the colour of a call-to-action button, or what time the email is sent. Results from these campaigns can then be analysed and pushed into new campaigns for the future.
So, what can you do to get the best results from split campaigns? Here are some useful tips:
1. Test One Element At A Time
If you’re testing numerous elements of a campaign at the same time, you’ll face significant problems. First, you’re unlikely to have a significant sample size to determine any accurate results. In reality you would want each test segment to be at least 200-300 strong.
Second, you’ll never really know what element made the biggest impact on your split campaign. Not knowing what the deciding factor was in the success of a campaign, means you can’t replicate the success in other campaigns, and you’ll spend more time trying to find the best fit.
2. Continue Split Testing
While you might get the answer you want for one question, there are unlimited combinations when it comes to email marketing campaign design. Therefore, you should always be testing your campaigns to see if a slight adjustment can offer you better returns.
For instance, you might have discovered the best time for your campaigns, but a change in the call-to-action button might improve results more too. Split testing done on a regular basis continuously improves results and offers a better ROI for your marketing.
3. Treat Segments Differently
If you send lots of different emails to your various segments, you need to treat those audiences separately from each other. Male buyers might prefer a different time of day to your female buyers and therefore, you need to find this out.
Segmentation is proven to increase conversions and ROI of online marketing. You need to take your split testing to the same level and ensure you’re not creating generic rules for every audience when you can get better results by optimising content for each segment.
4. Run Tests At Least Three Times For Accurate Results
While it might seem counterproductive to run a test several times, it allows you to collect more information and ensure you’re making the best decisions. You never know when a test was done on a bad day and some of your audience didn’t participate.
By rerunning the test several times you can take the average results from all the tests to find the true preferences of your audience without bias. This may make the process longer, but it will yield long-term success for your email marketing campaigns.
5. Set Goals
It’s important that you set goals for your email marketing campaigns before you start a split campaign. Different campaigns should have different results, so, if you want more sales, you need to look at conversions, but if you want to spread the word about your latest news, you might look at the number of leads.
This can determine whether a campaign has been a success or not and whether a split test has improved the relevant action. For instance, if you have a split test that improves open rates but has no impact on conversions, then the test has not achieved any goals. You might need to look at something new to test.
Your split testing campaigns can be a vital part of your business’ success when it comes to email marketing. But you need to use the right tactics to ensure efficient use of your campaigns. Use the tips above to get the most from your split campaigns and see the best results from email marketing campaigns.
Do you use split campaigns in your email marketing? What tips do you have?
Let us know in the comments below.
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Split testing is a marketing technique experts often state you should be undertaking on a regular basis. Yet when marketing their brand, leaders are sometimes hesitant to analyse their email marketing in this way, not knowing whether it does actually increase the number of opens in the long run or not.
So why is it that online marketing experts state you should be split testing? Is there any truth in it helping your business? Will it lead to an increase in your marketing results? Here are some of the key considerations:
What Is Split Testing?
Split testing is the process where you test two versions of a piece of marketing (landing page, email, social media, advert etc.) and see which one audiences prefer. For websites and emails, traffic or subscriber lists are randomly split in half, so one half will go to one version and the other half will go to another.
When the results are in, you should see if there are any major differences in the behaviours of those who saw the content. Then you can use this knowledge to produce more effective marketing materials.
Split testing is also referred to as A/B Testing.
Why Is It Split?
Some will question whether it really is applicable to test two variations of an email against an audience. This is often based on the number of variables that can affect the open rate. Audiences may prefer one email over the other but was it down to the wording of the email or the design?
So when split testing, it is important that you only change one variable, for example the colour of your call to action, or the wording of a title. If it is done in this way, split testing becomes the only logical way to determine which email variation is effective for marketing to your audience.
The short-term impact of any split testing is always dependent on how effective your marketing was before the testing. If you actually had the most effective design and layout for your emails, then you will find that any other variant will lead to fewer opens and conversions. In the early stages of testing, you might find that this occurs anyway and therefore, you might get the impression that split testing will harm your email marketing campaigns.
Audiences sometimes react negatively to change, so if you’ve made a major change, audiences might react to the action of change itself rather than the variant. You might need to run the test for three to five weeks to test the long-term impact.
If the change does create a negative impact, then at least you know. However, one split test should never be enough. You should constantly be finding ways to improve your emails and what works best for your email campaigns.
Long Term Impact
The advantage of split testing is that once you’ve found a variation of your email design and copy which produces better results, you can use it as a control for future testing. Also, because you have found a more effective marketing design, as you create more emails, you will be getting more opens. So any subscriber interactions you may have lost previously will be gained again now at a greater rate.
Imagine that you lost 10% clicks on one variation but another produced 5% better results. On a subscriber list of 1,000 split evenly, you had a net loss of 5% opens (or 25 opens). However, in the next campaign, because you are only using the better variant, you have eliminated that loss and in the next campaign, the net effect on opens is increased.
Does Split Testing Work
There is so much research online documenting the positive results of split testing. Looking at some of the evidence on sites like Kissmetrics, Optimizely and others, tells you that a simple A/B test can help you achieve better results, including opens.
The results are clear. If you test, you can find a better way of running your email marketing campaigns, and subsequently, increase engagement. This should create more leads and sales to grow your business. So, can split testing help your business? Yes, it can.
Do you undertake any split testing? What results do you get?
Let us know in the comments.