Split Testing: Maximizing Email Marketing Effectiveness

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.

Landing Page

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

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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.