Getting Started with A/B Testing Your Emails

A-B test. AB comparison. Split testing.

A big part of email marketing – of all marketing – is finding out what works best for your brand and audience. For those just starting on our email platform or those who are looking to change up how they make their emails, it can be stressful to figure out what might work best.

There are many guides out there to improving your open and click-through rates on your mailings (check out our Knowledge Base and blog for great starting points), but one of the best ways is to send and compare two mailings through A/B testing.

Understanding A/B Tests in Marketing

A/B testing (also known as bucket tests or split-run testing) is a way to test changes to a single variable in your email marketing to see which is more effective.

A/B testing has three major components:

  • A test audience randomly split into two groups. The randomness is important, as manually picking them could result in two groups that are already biased by your selection.
  • Changing a single variable in the version you’re sending out. While you can change multiple sections, changing a single part (such as the subject line or CTA) allows you to better see what exactly influenced their behavior.
  • Comparing the results of your test. It’s important to have the tools to analyze the changes in audience behavior (open rates, clicks, etc.). Otherwise, it can be difficult to determine what did or did not work.

A/B testing is used throughout the marketing world because it can be applied to almost any marketing and content created and can quickly provide results. Let’s look at how it applies to email marketing.

Why Use A/B Testing in Your Mailings?

A/B tests are (with the right tools) easy to set up and provide data to understand, allowing you to quickly figure out what changes are improving your mailings.

The more often you perform these tests, the better you can refine your email marketing strategy. Having evidence of what does and does not work allows you to make better decisions and craft better marketing geared towards what works for your audience and brand.

Because of this, you can spend less time finding out what works in your email marketing. These tests give you the data to improve the ROI of your mailings, especially when it comes to sales funnels and automated email marketing that directly impact your business’s bottom line.

How and Where to Use A/B Testing in Email Marketing

Now that we’ve gone over the what and the why, let’s look at how you can apply A/B testing directly to your emails. Below you’ll find the best variables to start making changes and how you can use the tools built directly into FeedBlitz to set up test groups with the click of a button.

Items to A/B Test in Your Emails

Below are the most common elements in your mailings that making small changes can make big impacts.

  • Subject Line: The subject line heavily influences both your deliverability and open rate as it’s the first thing people see. Try using a more formal subject line and a more casual one.
  • Preview Text: After the subject line, many people review this to get a feel for the content of your email. Try one that is a list of contents and another describing the theme.
  • Email Images: Images can make a big influence on the tone and engagement of your email. Try either variation with or without images or try ones with different themes (such as landscapes vs. people).
  • Content: What are you saying in your emails? Try changing the voice you use in your emails, from something a little more formal to something personally engaging the reader.
  • Calls to Action: Somewhere in your mailing, you should try to get the user to take action (by a product, visit your website, etc.). Try changing the content or placement of this CTA.

How to Create A and B Subscriber Lists

In Feedblitz, creating separate mailing lists for testing is easy. Simply select the list you want to send to, open the subscriber menu, and click “A/B List Splitter.”

FeedBlitz client UI focusing on A/B list splits.

Start split testing your emails in no time with FeedBlitz’s automated A/B List Splitter.

After you split the list into the two groups, send your email to the first list. Then using our resend function, you can easily and quickly resend the email to your second list with the changed variable.

Analyzing your A/B Test Results

Before starting the A/B split, it’s important to think about what results you’re looking for with changing the items in the mailings.

Identify what you’re measuring beforehand so you can better analyze the results of your A/B test.

Items to measure when A/B testing include:

  • Open rates
  • Clicks
  • Replies
  • Forwards

The metric you’ll be measuring in your test will signal which variable is best to edit. Looking to increase open rates? Try working with your subject lines. Hoping for more click-throughs, forwards or replies? Adjust the text or placement of your CTAs.

It’s important to note that when checking your results, always consider your margin of error (MOE). The MOE is roughly the square root of your sample size, and so once you know your MOE, you can gauge which test was the most successful.

And that’s the basics of A/B testing in email marketing, a great way of improving your mailings made easy with the tools FeedBlitz provides. The next time you’re going to send out a newsletter or promotional email, think about using an A/B test to start improving your emails.

If you want to learn more about applying A/B testing on your email marketing or about the tools FeedBlitz provides, visit our Support Page for email, chat, and voice options. Live support is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern.