Archive for March, 2012

How to optimize the newsletter with A/B testing

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Which are the subjects that make users open the emails, which is the best hour to start sending your newsletter or the best day to do it? The answers to these questions is to experiment more alternatives. A/B testing can be used succesfully to raise the indicators of your campaigns by determining what elements don’t work in your newsletter.

What is A/B testing

You make two versions of the email newsletter and send them to two segments in your list. This way you will test the two messages to see which one works best, and then you will send that one to your entire list. A/B testing has many advantages: they are easy to implement, you have the results in a short time and they are easy to understand. The aim of A/B testing is to give you the optimal version of your email newsletter.

What can you test

To start testing you need to define what you have to find out. To be sure you get to the right conclusions is better to make the two versions you are testing are not that different, because if you are changing to many elements you won’t be able to know which one was working and which one wasn’t. This is why is recommended to change only a few elements at once.

1. Subject line
The subject is the factor that influences the most the opening rate of a newsletter. To establish the efficiency of a subject line you can test what difference it makes a specific subject or a general one, also you can test a subject where you tell your subscriber a benefit or that the offer expires soon (You have only two days left to…). Personalization is also another good way to go. You can test to see how it works on your list: you can send a version with your subscriber’s name in the subject and one version without.

2. “From” field
The “From” field is very important for the subscribers to identify you easily in their inbox when they receive a newsletter from you. Also this is a very important element for the opening rate. You can optimize the best version to tell your subscribers who you are. You can put only your company name, or you can try “Newsletter Company Name” or you can put there the name of a representative of your company, if he is known by your subscribers.

3. Hour and sending day
Will you get better results if you send the newsletter in the morning or in the afternoon and which are the best days to start sending? Testing you can find out the answers to these questions.
To test the hour or the best day to send your newsletter you need to send the same version at different hours. These tests will give you information about the behaviour of your subscribers, and when are they more likely to open the newsletters.

4. The layout
You can test two version of layout to see how they work. You can make a test with a more complex layout, a dynamic one and a simpler one, with a very clear structure. A/B testing will help you decide which one you should send.

5. Links and call-to-action
Call-to-action messages determine the value of the conversion rate. When you are testing you can try different texts, colors or font sizes for these messages. Also you can test if it works better to have call-to-action links or buttons.

A/B testing helps you improve your campaign’s indicators and build a stronger relationship with your subscribers. Most times the hardest part is to decide what to test, but you need to choose a few elements and see if they are according to your subscribers expectations. A/B testing can bring you the best optimizing solutions for your newsletter.