Split testing email marketing increases and drives your potential customers and curiosity-seekers to your website. It provides a better understanding of visitor behaviour and shows what effectively attracts and increase sales and returning customers.
Split testing is a good indicator of email marketing weak areas and how to “fix” them. Most service providers make it easy to use free split testing software to upload broadcasts for comparison. It allows testing of more than one version to determine what design and content generates the most traffic. In the long run, it’s all about profit.
Subject Lines and Headlines
Split testing provides comparative results for optimizing open, click, and conversion rates by testing subject lines and headlines. Apply the “2-Second Rule.” Subscribers receive great deal of emails. Familiar senders are typically weeded out, read, and responded to first. The rest are in a pool whose subject lines are skimmed quickly and opened or deleted. The more clever and to the point the subject line is, the greater the chance is the email will be opened. Most segments respond to minimal words (20-25 characters).
The headline must compel the visitor to read the content. The headline should not shout at, or conversely, be understated. Split testing allows the comparison of headlines presented in various sizes, fonts, colour and highlights. It quickly becomes apparent what type attracts whom and if two or more email versions should be used to attract a larger population.
Content and Calls to Action: What you say and how you say it
There are some words that resonate with most audiences such as “Free,” “Buy One Get One Free,” or “Free-Shipping.” First, split test how your email content is worded, and secondly, what entices the visitor to read on, click through, and feel comfortable entering information that guarantees future activity.
Split test demos, promotions, free download, and content that engages the most subscribers. In an interactive, social, environment, the expectation is to be asked to “register now,” watch a video, or download something. Situate buttons reasonably near the top of the message or headline so they can be immediately seen so the reader may anticipate what’s coming.
Test your demographics to determine if your audience is more responsive to hard sell or soft sell? It is the goal to get subscribers to engage.
Design and Images
Split testing helps determine what attracts which demographic and for how long. Some groups craving “new” require more email updating. Some prefer dynamic imagery, while others are offended by it. Others may prefer more conservative images and consistent headline, format, and placement of boxes, buttons, and links. Free testing images may be found at http://ipyxel.com/free-image-variation-pack-download-for-split-testing-your-images/.
Keep in mind how emails are typically purged. A rule of thumb is to feature the main focus of your content in the email preview pane. Also, note some email servers disable images from emails.
To avoid having your email immediately deleted or sent to Spam, include a “From” name as well as address that is immediately recognized by the recipient to have come from a credible and reliable source. A mistake is to only show the address, leaving the “From” blank.
Best Time to Send
We operate in a very mobile global environment. Time zones, mobile devices, and industry may influence when you choose to send your email. However, responses may come at any time depending on when, where, and how the recipient receives and views the email. Convenience is the determining factor, and it is not unusual for an email to be opened, and read, and saved for action at a later time, or date. Testing various subscriber lists sent at different dates and times may be the best determination of when to send group emailing’s.
The best means of determining how successful a landing page is, is to use a simple A/B test on two different headlines, buttons, calls to action, etc. Performance and increased traffic and purchases indicate which combination works the best for your overall recipient demographic.
Responding and Frequency
Email responses should be personalized according to the demographic information the subscriber provided at the initial sign up.
Contact frequency may be determined by how often subscribers are opening sent emails, clicking, and buying. Test a sample group of the most product-engaged members to see if increasing the email campaign will heighten favourable performance activity. Keep an accurate measure and analysis of test results and what works and what does not.
Email Marketing Services
Check out our comparison of the best email marketing companies.
About the Author
Lucy James is a freelance writer specialising in various internet marketing subjects like email marketing, social media and PPC management. She also currently helps to represent Net Effekt, a white label email marketing reseller.
Recently, I’ve began the laborious process of migrating away from Google Analytics on most of my sites. Why? Because it is frankly starting to scare the hell out of me.
- Bounce rate is believed to be a factor used in determining your Google search rankings. This is a measure of the percentage of visitors the leave your site after only viewing the initial first page. It would be silly and very unfair for Google to penalize sites that don’t use Analytics, however, for sites that do use Analytics, Google can easily access your bounce rate. Without Analytics, I can’t think of an easy way Google engineers could figure this out, unless they’re using data from the Chrome browser, in which case we’re all fucked. I know some people will say “well, just create quality websites with unique content that engage your visitors, and your bounce rate will go down”. I’ve said the same thing myself. It’s good advice. But I still don’t want Google having such easy access to data that they’ll use in determining my rankings.
- Lately, Google has been on a real witch hunt for private blog networks and other SEO services. There’s been reports by many companies about their domains being deindexed by Google, which essentially destroys their business. Being in the SEO biz, I don’t want to share any data with Google if they’re coming after people like me.
- I’m worried about the whole footprint issue, with all my sites using Analytics, I’m assuming that somehow this makes it easy for Google to calculate similarities in traffic between my sites and negatively impact my rankings. I also think Bing/Yahoo can notice this footprint. Maybe this is over-the-top paranoid, but it worries me nonetheless.
Here’s a few of the alternative web analytics tools/services that I’ve been evaluating:
- Their Free account seems decent, suitable for sites that you don’t care about Goals or Actions or anything super comprehensive
- Another popular hosted service.
- They specialize in real-time data and have a tool that allows you to popup a chat window with visitors
- Their Free account doesn’t seem very good, so there’s a fair bit of pressure to upgrade to a Paid account.
- Probably the most popular open-source, self-hosted solution. This means you need to download the software, unzip it, FTP it to your server, create a MySQL database, then go through the installation process. It’s a PITA initially but…
- The functionality is much better than StatCounter, at least from what I’ve seen
- I’ve been running Piwik on a few sites for over a year, the only problem being some larger reports have trouble loading due to PHP memory issues. This could be resolved by moving away from shared hosting to something with more horsepower like a VPS or dedicated server.
- Another self-hosted app, so you’re running it on your own server.
- Clean and comprehensive interface.
- It looks like Piwik is the more popular self-hosted tool, but OWA has an impressive list of features.
- Comparison to Google Analytics: http://www.openwebanalytics.com/?page_id=158
What about you? Have you left Google Analytics for similar reasons? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I stumbled across this site recently and thought it was a pretty clever idea. YouLikeHits.com allows you to:
- Get Twitter followers
- Get Facebook likes
- Get MySpace followers
- Get StumbleUpon followers
- Get Digg followers
- Get visitors to ANY website
- Enter your Twitter username
- Define how many points you want to pay for each follower
- Browse a grid of other users who want to be followed, then choose which one you want to follow and click “Follow”. A window will popup with their Twitter page loaded, where you need to click “Follow”. Then return to YouLikeHits and click “Confirm”. In many cases you’ll earn 9 credits for each follow.