Hands down, email is the easiest medium to test for effectiveness. Here are some examples of tests that we recommend to help you achieve optimal results in 2013. Remember to test only one feature at a time.
All marketing professionals agree that the subject line is the key to obtaining the best results. The subject sets the tone of your message and invites the recipient to open it. A small change to this line could mean a big improvement in results. One simple test is to copy the content of your message into a new email and change the subject line. Choose two random samples from your contacts and send them the messages. A few hours later, check the results for the number of people who opened the messages, clicked a link or unsubscribed from the list. Chose the message with the best results and send it to the rest of your list. Be careful to send only one copy to each person.
Timing your mailings
Your contacts determine the best time to reach them. The market can be a good indicator, but depending on the type of message, the ideal mailing time can vary. For example, consider sending out flyers on weekends, since people have more time to view them. To test whether or not this rule applies to you, choose a message and mail it at several different times during the week. Begin by testing which day works best by sending 20% of your messages each day from Monday to Friday. You can also test by time of day, such as morning, noon, afternoon or evening.
When possible, we recommend that you always use the same message for testing. However, it can be difficult to target your contacts over a long period (e.g. 20 test groups five days a week, four times a day). Consequently, we suggest that you do four tests each week, and at the end of your five-week test period, take the best results and retest with only one message to confirm your results.
Call to action
This is a crucial part of your message. A good call to action can deliver excellent results. First, decide on the result you wish to achieve: a higher click rate, more visits to your site, more conversions into customers, and so on. Make sure you have the right tools in place to identify which call to action led to which result. For example, include the campaign name in your hyperlink so that Google can generate a traffic report or the information can be sent to your sales system.
Example of a call to action
Again, you should test only one thing at a time. You can test the wording of your button, its colour, its placement, or any other feature you wish. This type of test requires a little more time, since you’ll want to see the full results of your mailing and not simply the open and click rates. Give yourself time to analyze the results (at least 24 hours) before deciding which call to action works best. Again, once you’ve completed your series of tests, do a final check to ensure that your results are consistent.