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.
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 and execution.

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!

170+ 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. (Life)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. Different mobile responsive designs
  10. Product image sizes
  11. One column vs two vs three column
  12. A negative pitch (loss aversion)
  13. The order of your links and CTA’s
  14. Adjusting the colour scheme
  15. Using (price) ribbons
  16. Optimize for Mobile readers
  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. Use your subject line verbatim as the final Call to Action – make it exactly the same
  31. Isolate one feature or benefit
  32. Video in email
  33. A flash sale; how long should your redeem time be
  34. Benefit versus product feature driven
  35. Adding a Teaser email
  36. Personal tone versus business tone
  37. Sending a reminder
  38. Button to go to your survey vs already asking a first (multiple choice) survey question inside the email.
  39. Swap the order and position of your content categories
  40. Adding / removing editorial content
  41. Sending a triggered welcome email series
  42. The number of text links: a lot of links versus not so many links
  43. Top lists, or even list of lists
  44. Most popular items
  45. Using trust icons
  46. Removing links from your header navigation bar
  47. Using line of sight to direct the eye
  48. Different background colours
  49. Use humour or witty text (Danger! Can backfire!)
  50. Newest / new in stock items
  51. Segment customer versus non-customer
  52. Test different navigation structures and designs
  53. Change colours to highlight an important element
  54. Show spokespersons or ambassadors
  55. Use testimonials
  56. Use an interesting looking graph or flow diagram
  57. Casual case versus Camel Case in your subject line
  58. Make it look less like an offer / advertisement
  59. Clear versus teasing subject line
  60. Link to archives or related content
  61. Long copy versus short copy
  62. Use of bullet points
  63. Add a footer navigation
  64. Test the from name
  65. Use steps or a progress indicator in a series
  66. Add a variety of social proof
  67. Show personal data (name, customer number)
  68. Loyalty points and customer levels
  69. Tie in to special days / events
  70. Being less lazy in your Call to Actions and make it something else than “click here, read more”
  71. Repackage products into combos and packages
  72. Remove clutter
  73. Repete the CTA and button
  74. Reuse last year’s successful campaign
  75. Change the writing perspective of the copy: He, Me, She, We
  76. Intellect Versus Emotion
  77. Write down your assumptions, then test your assumptions
  78. Present a search box in the email
  79. A Call / Chat / contact now option
  80. Don’t sell to the ones that can’t buy
  81. Follow up on any downloaded content
  82. Change your Landing page design
  83. Present decision-required information (eg for an event, show date and time)
  84. Focus on the Greedy nature of the subscriber
  85. Change your incentives
  86. Rename (even if only in the email) your product / content
  87. Use a different designer
  88. Add or remove index links
  89. Change image Alt-texts
  90. Use the from name to show the type of email message
  91. Shopping cart abandonment emails
  92. Hook on to a popular trending topic
  93. Send more promotions like previously successful campaigns
  94. Add scroll indicators or a scroll promoting design
  95. Ask them to fill a wishlist
  96. Promote updating preferences
  97. The placement of Social Media buttons
  98. Highly personalised offers and content vs unpersonalised
  99. Call to action (CTA) button colour en design
  100. Add a see / search all catalogue link
  101. Customer versus non customer segmentation
  102. Segmentation based on engagement
  103. Introduce your team to the reader
  104. Make an unexpected offer
  105. Day to send
  106. Individualized Send Time vs. Universal Email Send Time
  107. Abandoned cart offer and timing
  108. Add a sense of urgency: “last chance, last dance”
  109. Equal or increased size for the top / lead articles
  110. Reminder versus service update
  111. Behavioural data segmentation for interests 
  112. Social media buttons design
  113. Think before you send
  114. Adjust your triggered emails per Season
  115. Personalize images based on customer profile
  116. Split your CTA up into multiple, deeper linking CTAs
  117. Add a PS
  118. The number of products in your mail
  119. Mail based on RFM scores
  120. Document the impact of the test on the funnel
  121. Coupon code versus a direct link without coupon code mechanism
  122. Send Frequency and cadence
  123. Offer third party products or content
  124. Tone-of-voice: Human versus corporate
  125. Resending to non-openers
  126. A non-selling email
  127. Add / remove a contact center employee image
  128. Adding reviews or scores
  129. Product images versus people using the products
  130. Images of a successful outcome of using the product
  131. Different ways of segmenting your subscribers
  132. A mystery email
  133. Test call-outs, text pointing to particular parts of a picture
  134. Test design “violators”, attention-grabbing shapes such as starbursts, ovals and banners
  135. Image heavy versus text heavy
  136. Market segment
  137. Insert personal data in copy (name of business)
  138. Pintrest style email
  139. Use of first name in copy or subjectline
  140. Brainstorm more variants of a previous test
  141. Curated content versus original content
  142. Different CTAs inside product images
  143. Single message in your email versus multiple items
  144. Transactional email promotions
  145. Repeat your offer and main benefits on the landingpage
  146. Use of a Survey
  147. Show in-email banners
  148. Individual product, multiple products versus product category
  149. Using different fonts and font sizes
  150. Mail based on engagement level (heavy opener versus never buyer)
  151. Doing Nothing
  152. Category landing page, versus product landing page
  153. Intro length (one line, short, mid or long)
  154. Use of (previously) bought product
  155. Remove the intro
  156. Retest the test you did more than 3 months ago
  157. Pre-sales mails
  158. Email exclusive content
  159. Adding click indicators to your CTAs
  160. Loss aversion (don’t miss) in subject line and email
  161. Different type of offers (free shipping versus discount)
  162. Using a contest or prize draw
  163. Add easter eggs
  164. Add an indication of reading time (eg this email take 3 mins 14 secs to read) for articles
  165. Break one email into several more focussed emails or vice versa
  166. Adopt for preview pane reading
  167. For once: don’t offer a discount
  168. Add or remove a highlighted / featured article
  169. Move the email header and navigation down below your primary text/imagery and call to action.
  170. Focus on higher priced versus lower priced versus high margin products

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.