150+ A/B email split testing ideas you can use today

150+ A/B email split testing ideas you can use today

Have you ever received an email campaign and you thought “Wow, this is really great!” ?

Maybe it had a nice design, maybe a strong story, maybe it was very personal.

Let me ask you another question, before I hop on to giving over a 150 email split test examples.

Did you buy from that lovely mail?

As marketers, we know that a single on the mark email can outperform your average newsletter by a mile.
But it isn’t a beauty contest to see who can make the best-looking email or even the smartest email.

The challenge is to get the most engaging result rich email possible.

You might be thinking, simply said, but Jordie which email will do better than others?
Should I do this version or that version?

The ultimate answer is simple: You come up with one great idea.
and then (this is the trick) a second great idea. The second idea can be a different idea or a variation of idea 1.

Then you let those (and possibly version 3,4,5 and 6), battle it out for the win by running an email split test.

Can you lift all your email campaign results to that top level? That all depends on the quality of your ideas.

Know what works with A/B email split testing

Knowing what works is key to insightful marketing campaigns. With A/B split testing you have a great result booster at your disposal.

A/B testing will help you pinpoint which version of your email campaigns is the most effective.

But marketers often get stuck or run out of fresh ideas for email split testing, making it repetitive. So I often get asked for examples of good email split tests. Econsultancy research suggests that there are only a few email split tests that are often done by marketers… which is a shame seeing there is so much more to explore. A good reason to try the fresh email split testing ideas below!

150+ A/B email split test ideas

From the subject line all the way through the spectrum of design, copy, offers. Of course the whole anatomy of the email can be tested. Even the core message and your segmentation.
Below is a list with 150+ ideas for A/B email split tests to try. Some I used before with clients and come from own experience, use it for inspiration.

  1. Product image variations
  2. Soft sell (benefits) versus hard sell (buy now)
  3. Pre-header text
  4. Style based versus Product based
  5. Headline copy and length
  6. Tell the CEO that he cannot write a lame intro this time
  7. Header height
  8. Pricing and discount variations (10% off versus 10 dollars off)
  9. Optimize for Mobile readers
  10. Responsive versus non-responsive design
  11. Product image sizes
  12. One column vs two vs three column
  13. A negative pitch (loss aversion)
  14. The order of your links and CTA’s
  15. Adjusting the colour scheme
  16. Using (price) ribbons
  17. Add odd-shaped arrows and writing to highlight important parts
  18. Incentives to stimulate engagement
  19. Do a radical redesign
  20. Send time of day
  21. Use price brackets
  22. Use sorting cues as categories
  23. Reword your body copy
  24. Upsell based on previous products purchased
  25. Change product description copy
  26. Offer a trial or test membership / purchase
  27. Balance of content in email versus landing page
  28. Feature one product versus multiple products
  29. Animation – animated gifs
  30. Isolate one feature or benefit
  31. Video in email
  32. A flash sale; how long should your redeem time be
  33. Benefit versus product feature driven
  34. Adding a Teaser email
  35. Personal tone versus business tone
  36. Sending a reminder
  37. Button to go to your survey vs already asking a first (multiple choice) survey question inside the email.
  38. Swap the order and position of your content categories
  39. Adding / removing editorial content
  40. Sending a triggered welcome email series
  41. The number of text links: a lot of links versus not so many links
  42. Top lists, or even list of lists
  43. Most popular items
  44. Using trust icons
  45. Removing links from your header navigation bar
  46. Using line of sight to direct the eye
  47. Different background colours
  48. Use humour or whit (Danger! Can backfire!)
  49. Newest / new in stock items
  50. Segment customer versus non-customer
  51. Test different navigation structures and designs
  52. Changing colours to highlight an important element
  53. Show spokespersons or ambassadors
  54. Using testimonials
  55. Use an interesting looking graph or flow diagram
  56. Casual case versus Camel Case in your subject line
  57. Make it look less like an offer / advertisement
  58. Clear versus teasing subject line
  59. Link to archives or related content
  60. Long copy versus short copy
  61. Use of bullet points
  62. Adding a footer navigation
  63. Testing the from name
  64. Use steps or a progress indicator in a series
  65. Add a variety of social proof
  66. Showing personal data (name, customer number)
  67. Loyalty points and customer levels
  68. Tie in to special days / events
  69. Being less lazy in your Call to Actions than “click here, read more”
  70. Repackage products into combinations and packages
  71. Removing clutter
  72. Repetition of the CTA and button
  73. Reuse last year’s successful campaign
  74. Change the writing perspective of the copy: He, Me, She, We
  75. Intellect Versus Emotion
  76. Write down your assumptions, then assume nobody knows
  77. Present a search box in the email
  78. A Call / Chat / contact now option
  79. Don’t sell to the ones that can’t buy
  80. Follow up on any downloaded content
  81. Change you Landing page design
  82. Present decision-required information (eg for an event, show date and time)
  83. Focus on the Greedy nature of the subscriber
  84. Change your incentives
  85. Rename (even if only in the email) your product / content
  86. Using a different designer
  87. Adding / removing index links
  88. Changing image Alt-texts
  89. Use the from name to show the type of email message
  90. Shopping cart abandonment emails
  91. Hook on to a popular trending topic
  92. Send more of previously successful campaigns
  93. Adding scroll indicators or scroll promoting design
  94. Ask to fill a wishlist
  95. Promote updating preferences
  96. Placement of Social Media buttons
  97. Highly personalised offers and content
  98. Call to action (CTA) button colour en design
  99. Add a see / search all catalogue link
  100. Customer versus non customer segmentation
  101. Segmentation based on engagement
  102. Introduce your team to the reader
  103. Make an unexpected offer
  104. Day to send
  105. Individualized Send Time vs. Universal Email Send Time
  106. Abandoned cart offer and timing
  107. Add a sense of urgency: “last chance, last dance”
  108. Equal or increased size for lead articles
  109. Reminder versus service update
  110. Behavioural data interests segmentation
  111. Social buttons design
  112. Think before you send
  113. Adjust your triggered emails by Season
  114. Personalizing images based on customer profile
  115. Splitting your CTA up into multiple, deeper linking CTAs
  116. Adding a PS
  117. The number of products in your mail
  118. Mail based on RFM scores
  119. Document the impact of the test on the funnel
  120. Coupon code versus a direct link mechanism
  121. Send Frequency and cadence
  122. Offering third party products or content
  123. Tone-of-voice: Human versus corporate
  124. Resending to non-openers
  125. A non-selling email
  126. Add / remove a contact center employee image
  127. Adding reviews or scores
  128. Product images versus people using the products
  129. Images of a successful outcome of using the product
  130. Different ways of segmenting your subscribers
  131. A mystery email
  132. Test call-outs, text pointing to particular parts of a picture
  133. Test violators, attention-grabbing shapes such as starbursts, ovals and banners
  134. Image heavy versus text heavy
  135. Market segment
  136. Inserting personal data in copy (name of business)
  137. Pintrest style email
  138. Use of first name in copy or subjectline
  139. Brainstorm more variants of a previous test
  140. Curated content versus original content
  141. Different CTAs inside product images
  142. Single message in your email versus multiple items
  143. Transactional email promotions
  144. Repeat your offer and main benefits on the landingpage
  145. Use of a Survey
  146. Using in-email banners
  147. Product versus product category
  148. Using different fonts and font sizes
  149. Mail based on engagement level (heavy opener versus never buyer)
  150. Doing Nothing
  151. Category landing page, versus product landing page
  152. Intro length
  153. Use of (previously) bought product
  154. Removing the intro
  155. Retest the test you did more than 3 months ago
  156. Pre-sales mails
  157. Email exclusive content
  158. Adding click indicators to your CTAs
  159. Loss aversion (don’t miss) in subject line and email
  160. Different type of offers (free shipping versus discount)
  161. Using a contest or prize draw
  162. Adding easter eggs
  163. Add an indication of reading time (eg approx 2 mins reading time) for articles
  164. Break one email into several more focussed emails or vice versa
  165. Adopt for preview pane reading
  166. For once: don’t offer a discount
  167. Add or remove a highlighted / featured article
  168. Move the email header and navigation down below your primary text/imagery and call to action.

A/B split testing your email newsletter

A/B split testing is a great tactic to optimize your messages. You know, there isn’t one right way to create, design and send your email marketing campaigns that will work for each brand and audience Not all of the above are suitable for your own email marketing program. But with that many variables, there are equally enough combinations of A/B split tests you can do.

If you are looking to improve your email marketing results, A/B split testing your emails is a great tactic and it should not be missing from your email marketing strategy. As you can see there is so much more to explore!

Let me know about your own split testing experiences, tips and questions in the comments.

About the Author:

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.
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