In a Rut?  Try These Simple A/B Tests

Javi Calderon, Content Marketing Manager, Real Magnet

Its no secret that marketing can get repetitive. You’re promoting one event, webinar, or piece of content after another. Week after week after week. You may think you’re in a great routine; eventually, however, your recipients will think otherwise – you’re in a rut.

A/B testing different variables in your messaging can be a great way to shake things up and give your engagement metrics a boost.

Here are 5 quick tests that you can try:

From Field

If your open rate has gone stale, try A/B testing some different From Field options.

A person. Try sending to your customers from their account manager, or to your prospects from the sales rep who is courting them. Important announcements could come from the desk of your CEO.

From a Department. Do you send your recipients different types of communications? This may be a good approach, as your recipients will feel less bombarded overall and get a better idea of what kind of content awaits them after they open your message. Popular publications often follow this model, sending content from the Sports desk, the Politics desk, the Entertainment desk, et al.

The Company.
If these more personalized approaches have plateaued, maybe sending from your recognizable company brand name will help boost open rates.

Subject Line

Your subject line is the most critical piece of the puzzle. It needs to stand out, hint at the content in your message, and entice the recipient to open — all in one sentence.

Length is key to a successful subject line. Studies show that open rates drop off with subject lines that are longer than 7 words. Make sure to position the most important information at the front.

Urgency. Identify pain points, offer special rates, or point out an upcoming deadline.

Personalization. Recipients these days expect messaging and promotions that are tailored to their interests and needs. Personalization can go beyond adding their first name to the subject line. Get creative!

Preheader Text

Preheader text is the line of text that shows up in your inbox behind the subject line. Many ESPs allow you to customize this line of text. Marketers typically use this as an extension of the subject line or to provide a summary of the email message. This is a great place to be creative.

Offer Details. This is a perfect place to provide additional details, like a promo code or the date and time for a webinar.

Emoji are a polarizing topic in the email world.  On one hand, they’re a great way of conveying a lot of information in one character, thus making better use of your space. They’re also fun and casual. However, if you have a highly professional, buttoned-up brand, emoji most likely wouldn’t convey the type of persona that you’re looking to portray.

Time of Send

When you send your email messages, and the daily routines of your recipients, have a massive impact on your open rates. Take these factors into account when choosing your send times and message design.

Morning. Are you looking to catch early risers, or busy professionals on their morning commute? Maybe mobile friendly designs are the way to go.

Noon. Lunch time might be a risky proposition as many of your recipients might be scrambling around for lunch and away from their desks. However, maybe your recipients are teachers or nurses, for example, and lunch is the only time during the day that they get a chance to check email. Consider what’s most convenient for audience’s schedule, not yours!

Afternoon. If you’re emailing the everyman business crowd, mid to late afternoon may be the best bet as they’ll be at their desks and in the flow of their daily routine.

Day of week. Test! That’s the goal of A/B testing — to squeeze a little more performance out of your email marketing. Test sending your messages at different times and days of the week to see which consistently perform the best.

Message Design

Its no surprise that the design and layout of your message can have a big impact on how your recipients interact with it. Changing up your message layout might be just the thing to boost your engagement metrics.

Images. Consider where your images are located in your message, and the overall balance of images to text. You’ll want to keep your messages short and sweet, with plenty of supporting imagery.

Call-to-Action. Where is your Call-to-Action located in your message? Try to have your initial ask above the fold once the message is opened, so the recipient immediately knows what you want from them.

Message Length. It’s no surprise that the length of email messages negatively impact engagement. Recipients have busy schedules and short attention spans. Faced with too much content at once and recipients quickly bail. If you send regular newsletters, make sure to keep the most important content at the top.

A/B testing is a great way to take the guesswork out of marketing and make the most out of your email marketing efforts. Whether your email metrics are in an unexpected slump, or you’re simply looking to optimize the experience for your recipients, regular A/b testing will help you create and deliver email that your audience will consistently want to open and engage with.