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.
- Product image variations
- Soft sell (benefits) versus hard sell (buy now)
- Pre-header text
- Style based versus Product based
- Headline copy and length
- Tell the CEO that he cannot write a lame intro this time
- Header height
- Pricing and discount variations (10% off versus 10 dollars off)
- Optimize for Mobile readers
- Responsive versus non-responsive design
- Product image sizes
- One column vs two vs three column
- A negative pitch (loss aversion)
- The order of your links and CTA’s
- Adjusting the colour scheme
- Using (price) ribbons
- Add odd-shaped arrows and writing to highlight important parts
- Incentives to stimulate engagement
- Do a radical redesign
- Send time of day
- Use price brackets
- Use sorting cues as categories
- Reword your body copy
- Upsell based on previous products purchased
- Change product description copy
- Offer a trial or test membership / purchase
- Balance of content in email versus landing page
- Feature one product versus multiple products
- Animation – animated gifs
- Isolate one feature or benefit
- Video in email
- A flash sale; how long should your redeem time be
- Benefit versus product feature driven
- Adding a Teaser email
- Personal tone versus business tone
- Sending a reminder
- Button to go to your survey vs already asking a first (multiple choice) survey question inside the email.
- Swap the order and position of your content categories
- Adding / removing editorial content
- Sending a triggered welcome email series
- The number of text links: a lot of links versus not so many links
- Top lists, or even list of lists
- Most popular items
- Using trust icons
- Removing links from your header navigation bar
- Using line of sight to direct the eye
- Different background colours
- Use humour or whit (Danger! Can backfire!)
- Newest / new in stock items
- Segment customer versus non-customer
- Test different navigation structures and designs
- Changing colours to highlight an important element
- Show spokespersons or ambassadors
- Using testimonials
- Use an interesting looking graph or flow diagram
- Make it look less like an offer / advertisement
- Clear versus teasing subject line
- Link to archives or related content
- Long copy versus short copy
- Use of bullet points
- Adding a footer navigation
- Testing the from name
- Use steps or a progress indicator in a series
- Add a variety of social proof
- Showing personal data (name, customer number)
- Loyalty points and customer levels
- Tie in to special days / events
- Being less lazy in your Call to Actions than “click here, read more”
- Repackage products into combinations and packages
- Removing clutter
- Repetition of the CTA and button
- Reuse last year’s successful campaign
- Change the writing perspective of the copy: He, Me, She, We
- Intellect Versus Emotion
- Write down your assumptions, then assume nobody knows
- Present a search box in the email
- A Call / Chat / contact now option
- Don’t sell to the ones that can’t buy
- Follow up on any downloaded content
- Change you Landing page design
- Present decision-required information (eg for an event, show date and time)
- Focus on the Greedy nature of the subscriber
- Change your incentives
- Rename (even if only in the email) your product / content
- Using a different designer
- Adding / removing index links
- Changing image Alt-texts
- Use the from name to show the type of email message
- Shopping cart abandonment emails
- Hook on to a popular trending topic
- Send more of previously successful campaigns
- Adding scroll indicators or scroll promoting design
- Ask to fill a wishlist
- Promote updating preferences
- Placement of Social Media buttons
- Highly personalised offers and content
- Call to action (CTA) button colour en design
- Add a see / search all catalogue link
- Customer versus non customer segmentation
- Segmentation based on engagement
- Introduce your team to the reader
- Make an unexpected offer
- Day to send
- Individualized Send Time vs. Universal Email Send Time
- Abandoned cart offer and timing
- Add a sense of urgency: “last chance, last dance”
- Equal or increased size for lead articles
- Reminder versus service update
- Behavioural data interests segmentation
- Social buttons design
- Think before you send
- Adjust your triggered emails by Season
- Personalizing images based on customer profile
- Splitting your CTA up into multiple, deeper linking CTAs
- Adding a PS
- The number of products in your mail
- Mail based on RFM scores
- Document the impact of the test on the funnel
- Coupon code versus a direct link mechanism
- Send Frequency and cadence
- Offering third party products or content
- Tone-of-voice: Human versus corporate
- Resending to non-openers
- A non-selling email
- Add / remove a contact center employee image
- Adding reviews or scores
- Product images versus people using the products
- Images of a successful outcome of using the product
- Different ways of segmenting your subscribers
- A mystery email
- Test call-outs, text pointing to particular parts of a picture
- Test violators, attention-grabbing shapes such as starbursts, ovals and banners
- Image heavy versus text heavy
- Market segment
- Inserting personal data in copy (name of business)
- Pintrest style email
- Use of first name in copy or subjectline
- Brainstorm more variants of a previous test
- Curated content versus original content
- Different CTAs inside product images
- Single message in your email versus multiple items
- Transactional email promotions
- Repeat your offer and main benefits on the landingpage
- Use of a Survey
- Using in-email banners
- Product versus product category
- Using different fonts and font sizes
- Mail based on engagement level (heavy opener versus never buyer)
- Doing Nothing
- Category landing page, versus product landing page
- Intro length
- Use of (previously) bought product
- Removing the intro
- Retest the test you did more than 3 months ago
- Pre-sales mails
- Email exclusive content
- Adding click indicators to your CTAs
- Loss aversion (don’t miss) in subject line and email
- Different type of offers (free shipping versus discount)
- Using a contest or prize draw
- Adding easter eggs
- Add an indication of reading time (eg approx 2 mins reading time) for articles
- Break one email into several more focussed emails or vice versa
- Adopt for preview pane reading
- For once: don’t offer a discount
- Add or remove a highlighted / featured article
- 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.