Although testing is one of the most effective ways to improve the results of your email campaign, 58% of businesses do not test their campaigns regularly.
Testing elements of your email marketing campaign gives you insight into what your readers respond to so you can adapt your campaign for better results. Testing regularly is an easy way to improve your sales and conversions.
If you’re in the 58% of non-testers, you’re missing out on some impressive improvements to your open rates, click throughs and sales. Here are 5 places you can start to improve your email marketing right now:
The sign up form on your web site is the gateway to your email campaign. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend optimizing the ideal email message if your visitors don’t invite you into their inbox. They’ll never see your content.
Consumers face certain psychological resistances when confronted with a form asking for their personal details – even something as benign as an email address. Your job – and your web form’s job – is to convince them to see past their reservations to benefit from the value your email campaign offers.
- Test the number of fields on your web form. The amount of information you ask for can be a barrier to getting more sign ups. Run a split test with one form asking only for name and email address and the other asking for additional targeting information your business may need. Which form gets the most sign ups?
- Test your sign up incentive. Do you offer coupons, downloads or other incentives for customers who sign up for your emails? Incentives can add instant value for consumers and outweigh their hesitation to open their inbox to you. If you don’t offer an incentive, test one out. If you do offer an incentive, test a few different offers to find the strongest one.
- Show subscribers what they’ll receive. Build trust early on by linking to an example of your newsletters on or near your web form. When new customers know what to expect, they’re more likely to share their inbox with you.
Once subscribers join your list, you’ll want them to open your emails. Testing variations of your subject line shows you what your audience responds to. The higher your open rate, the better your subject line resonates with your readers.
Find the right subject line for your subscribers by testing some of these variables with your email marketing campaigns:
- Phrasing. Do you get more opens from a subject line that asks a question or one that summarizes your content? What about using directives like “Act Now!”?
- Length. Most email clients cut off a subject line that’s too long. But a too-long subject line can work to pique your subscribers’ curiosity, appealing to their desire to know more. Maybe your audience likes it short and to the point instead. Test the length to see which version gets the most opens.
- Branding. Referencing your company’s name in the subject line can help your customers recognize your emails in a crowded inbox, especially if you display a personal name as your sender name. This easy recognition can boost your open rates.
- Personalization. Some consumers respond to seeing their name in the subject line. Personalized subject lines can make your subscribers feel more like valued customers and less like addresses on a list. But not everyone responds to this kind of personalization. Test it to see what your subscribers prefer.
The design, content and length of your email messages work together to communicate your campaign’s purpose and get the response you need from your customers: a click through to your web site to make a purchase.
When it comes to optimizing your message itself, think about how to effectively and efficiently communicate with your subscribers.
- Test your use of images. Are visuals important to your business? Test the ratio of images to text in your emails. Does your audience respond to a concise image and less text? Or do your words speak to them louder?
- Test the length of your copy. Do your readers have tolerance for long articles or do short, bite-sized summaries get your newsletters a better response? Split test the length of your articles to find out.
- Test your design and layout. Do your messages get more click throughs with a navigation bar at the top of your email template? Does plain text get a better response than HTML? What about the placement of important information above or below the “fold”? Play around with your design elements to determine what works best with your audience.
Calls to Action
What action do you want your subscribers to take after reading your email? Is it buying a product, reading your blog post, sending their feedback? Your call to action tells your readers what to do next.
Optimizing your call to action can increase your click through rates and, consequently, your sales. When testing to improve your call to action, think about:
- Placement. Does it get more clicks when placed at the top or bottom of your message? Should it be the first thing your readers see? What about multiple calls strategically scattered through your message?
- Text vs. Buttons. Using a button for your call to action can draw your readers’ focus better than a text link. But a text link is more easily editable than the text on a button. Does your audience respond more strongly to visuals or phrasing?
- The Wording. Your call to action could be turning people off, especially if they think you’re asking them for a big commitment too soon. A big, red “BUY NOW” button can make your readers feel too pressured into making a decision they’re not quite ready for. Test different wording so your subscribers don’t feel overwhelmed.
Preheaders are probably the most overlooked email design element in a lot of email marketing campaigns. The preheader is the one or two lines of text that display above your normal header:
Gmail – and some other email clients – will display the first few lines of text in a message as a preview following the subject line. This usually means that your preheader displays in the inbox.
Optimize your preheader so that your first line of text teases your message content. Capturing your readers’ curiosity tends to work better than housekeeping announcements.
Respect Your Results
The point of testing the above elements is to adjust your email marketing campaigns to reach customers more effectively. In order to optimize your marketing techniques, pay attention to your test results and make changes based on what your target audience prefers.
Testing is only effective if you implement the changes. Where will you start improving your campaign today?