In life you say “Live and learn”, in email marketing that is rather test and learn. A/B split testing is a proven way to optimize your email marketing.
Even though companies know they should be testing and optimizing their email marketing more, they don’t. Sometimes that is for valid reasons, often it is not.
How much do we test email newsletters?
How many marketers test their email newsletters? The email census study from econsultancy showed that less than 33% of email marketers test regularly, the rest does an occasional test or doesn’t test at all. The same study showed that 74% of the companies that tested regularly found their email marketing ROI to be excellent or good, twice as much as the companies that don’t test at all.
Lack of testing leaves a lot of (marketing) effort not transferred to into result. Because if you are not testing, you will need to work harder to get the same results.
Reasons for not testing your email newsletter
Most marketers are actually very busy trying to manage all day-to-day business. There is no time invested in a proper email marketing review, let alone into A/B split testing. There are a lot of reasons for not testing, but most of them are faux once you realize that continuous email marketing improvement means better results.
Sometimes the problem is that colleagues (or bosses, peers, you) need to be convinced before even starting to test the email newsletter. They come up with a range of arguments, sometimes inspired by office politics, that seem very plausible, but aren’t true. There are so many, you could write a book about it. I didn’t. but I did write a whitepaper.
So how to make a case for email marketing testing, even when there are a billion reasons NOT to test your email newsletter? Let me give you some real world examples:
We are doing great already
This is often heard. The current results might be satisfying, but most often, this is not the most you can get out of your email campaigns. If you don’t test, there is no way of knowing how much your results can improve.
Industry email marketing benchmarks won’t give a lot of insight in this regard. For they usually report on opens and clicks, but not the real KPI’s, like revenue. They are averages across an industry and often compiled by a single ESP. Think about your own industry, will the average of your competitors tell you anything about the potential in your specific situation? So it is better to benchmark against your own results and test different versions of your own campaigns.
We just had our newsletter redesigned
Redesign time is the perfect time to make improvements. The new design is fresh out of the garage and needs to go for a test-drive. A well-tuned design will bring you closer to achieving those top-gear results. Ideally a design is made with optimization in mind. Talk it over with your designer and make your template ”optimization friendly”.
A great opportunity for redesign is for all those that haven’t adopted their emails for mobile devices yet. Did you know that a big part of your emails are opened on mobile devices these days? Take a look at this overview of all the mobile email stats you will ever need. If you are looking to do a redesign for mobile, treat it as a complete redesign and do the tests.
You are the expert
“So you are saying you don’t know for sure what will work and you want to test?, I thought you were an expert”. Ay, that is very tricky. Colleagues making it personal and questioning your professional skills can take all the pleasure out of an otherwise very constructive atmosphere. But it is also an opportunity to explain some essentials email marketing testing basics and actually prove you know what you are doing.
It takes some skill to not see it as a personal attack and rather as a question for you to pitch your level 3 email testing. Becoming an email marketing expert means that you must feel comfortable going in and make an email program rise above itself, even if there is no guarantee for success.
Running the right tests
Now the goal isn’t to get the tests done, but to get better results. So run better and smarter email split tests, with a high potential for improving your email marketing program.