Are You Testing Your Emails?

By Richard Parkin

Split testing your emails is an essential part of optimizing your profits, and it’s a lot simpler than it may seem at first. This blog is all about implementing the most effective possible email split testing approach, covering basic setup and more advanced optimization options.

As the name suggests, split testing emails involves sending multiple versions of your campaigns, splitting your mailing list into two or more parts. This testing lets you understand what your audience responds to, shaping future email campaigns to drive even better results.

Practically every email platform has an option for split testing, though they may refer to it in different ways – variations and A/B testing are common synonyms. 

Adding a split test is simple. Once you’ve designed your email, you should be able to clone the message, then edit to build in your tests – you may need to refer to your platform’s documentation for the specific steps.

There’s really no limit on what you can split test in your email campaigns. At the very least, test multiple subject lines, try different copy and experiment with your images. In the past, I’ve been able to take already-effective email journeys to new heights just by changing the background color of an image – it really can be that simple.

Effectively Tracking Split Tests

Whatever you’re planning to test, you need to make sure that you’re tracking results accurately. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s more to it than just running a campaign. Here are three key factors to consider when setting up your split tests:

UTM Codes: Don’t just rely on your email platform’s analytics – they can end up skewed. Add a unique UTM code to any link in your email, and you should be able to track exactly how your test is performing. 

Not familiar with UTM? It’s essentially a short snippet of code placed at the end of a link, which can be tracked in practically any analytics platform. Make sure you note which email variation a link is associated with, and you’ll be able to see exactly what’s going on!

Single-Element Tests: A common mistake with split testing is trying to test too much simultaneously. Keep it simple, or you’ll find yourself unable to tell what’s causing changes for your performance. In most cases, it’s best to test one thing at a time, especially if you’re planning on frequently running tests.

Appropriately-Sized Audiences: In both science and marketing, it’s critical to have a sample group big enough to justify the conclusions you draw. As a basic example, if you’re only sending a message variation to 10 people, you’re unlikely to end up with any useful data. You’ve got to make sure that you actually see trends, not just coincidences.

Optimizing Split Tests

So, you’ve got your split tests running. Now what?

If you want to get the best possible results from your email, you’ve got to start iterative testing. That’s a lot simpler than the name suggests – it just means building off the results you’ve seen, so you’re constantly refining your emails and taking the results even further. 

Beyond that, getting more specific with your email targeting is almost always a must. Different parts of your customer base will respond to different messaging, and building out this specificity is necessary for advanced optimization.

Time for an expert approach to email split testing? Get in touch today for a free 15-minute consultation, and we’ll explore your current email setup and get you ready to drive unprecedented levels of profitability from your campaigns! 

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Comments (2)
Starting Strong With Email – Shockwave Solutions / December 1, 2020

[…] Add multiple messages to your journeys to catch users who missed your initial emails. Try out product/service-specific email flows, and see how different ways to collect contacts (such as exit-intent popups and engagement-activated prompts) work for you. Most importantly, split test everything – here’s our guide to effectively split testing your emails. […]

Developing Effective Email Journeys – Shockwave Solutions / December 22, 2020

[…] with any other kind of marketing, it’s always worth split testing email variants for your journeys. Check whether certain subject lines consistently improve your open rate, see how […]


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