Email marketing is widely regarded as one of the most effective and cost-effective forms of marketing available to a business. Yet many do not carry out any type of testing, instead just churning out email after email with no thought for how the results they receive could help them do it better.
A/B testing is a very useful way of learning what works for your business in terms of email marketing.
This is where you send out one email to half your list and another to the other half, changing just one variable – whether that’s the subject line, the offer or the content.
You then check the results you receive to determine which email worked better. The data you need to collect includes:
- Open rate – how many people actually opened the email once they received it
- Click through rate – how many people clicked on the link you wanted them to after they opened the email
- Bounce rate – how many emails bounced back due to a bad or non-existent email address
- Auto-responder rates – how many emails were replied to by an out of office or “no longer works here” email
Let’s look at each of these in turn and discuss what they tell you and how that benefits you for your future email marketing campaigns.
This will tell you how effective your subject line was. As it is the first thing a recipient will see it has to be engaging, it has to make them open the email. If you sent out a test with two different subject lines, the one with the most open rates will tell you which subject line was better. Consider these:
“Latest News from Company X”
“Latest News from Company X – Download your free eBook”
It may seem obvious which is going to be more compelling but many companies are in such a rush to get their email out they don’t consider the subject line. It is obviously the second one, but in instances where you have to seemingly attractive lines, use the A/B test so you know which is likely to work in future for your audience.
Click Through Rate
This will tell you how compelling your offer or call to action was. This is a particularly useful way of gauging two different offers to see which will work best for you. Send one offer to half your list, and the other to the other half. The results in click through rates will clearly show you which is the most appealing offer and you can roll it out to those who didn’t get it in the first place.
Keeping an eye on the bounce rate allows you to keep a clean email list. If a certain email address bounces back more than a couple of times you should consider removing it from your email marketing list. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is a waste of your resources to send to a lot of dead or bad email addresses, and secondly it can get you blacklisted as a sender of junk mail. You can use the services of Truemail or Verifybee which is the best Truemail alternative to verify all the emails from your list with more than 90% accuracy.
Auto Responder Rates
Similar to the bounce rate reasoning, too many emails from the same address coming back to you with an out of office can mean you’re wasting your resources. Consider removing these email addresses after five or six auto response emails, it may be that person is no longer checking or able to check that account and never will again.