Never Start an Email Marketing A/B Campaign before Reading This – Expert Advice

In the previous post, we shared the complete guide for A/B Testing Email Marketing Campaign. Read more about it here.

Now, you already know how to do it, it’s time for what’s not to do when doing email marketing campaign A/B testing. 

1. End the test too early

While the competition is fierce online, and you want to conclude the test as soon as possible and launch it to everyone, it is not advisable to end your test too soon. 

You might not have enough data to conclude just yet. So, give the test for some time and compile enough data first. A good piece of email can makes you great results in a shorter time. 

So, what should you be doing instead?

First, have a clear A/B testing plan and define a sample size you desire. Ultimately, you should first direct 50% of traffic to each version in the first round. Then, on the second round, direct 50% of traffic to the winning version (version A) and 25% to another 2 versions (version B and version C). 

If the winning version is still winning at the end of the second round, then it is a clear winner now. 

Second, you need to set up the testing time. If you don’t give your recipients enough time to receive and read your message, it will most likely distort the credibility of your data. 

2. Testing without a goal or target 

The second mistake in A/B testing is running the test without having any specific goal or target for the test. Without a strategic goal, you won’t be able to draw clear conclusions for a particular test. 

You should, have a clear goal like this : 

“We will change this variable in this version, and it will affect this metric”

For example, changing the colour of the CTA button, and will increase the open rate by 10%. 

This is what you want to achieve ultimately. And, by testing different colours you will see if it can be achieved. 

3. Not testing enough

People always think they are smart. But, not in the digital marketing world. There are no clear winning formulas that will work all the time. You will still need to test every email marketing campaign or the sales copy to get the winning copy. 

Even big companies and professional digital marketers did the split test to get the best-optimized version for their campaigns.

Not to forget, due to the changes in algorithms for different platforms, and the market trend, what works last month may not work now. 

So, having a clear SOP or testing workflow for your team to run tests regularly is crucial to stay optimal for all your email marketing campaigns. 

4. Ignoring the statistical significance 

Sometimes one of the variants wins, but it doesn’t mean that it would generate an uplift if you were to repeat the test. Why?

Because the results were statistically insignificant because the audience sample was too small or the difference between the results they generated was too minor. 

So, run the test several times so you got enough sample data before deciding on the winner. 

10 best practices for successful email marketing A/B testing 

Learn from the expert and avoid obstacles.

Below are 10 best practices that you should follow in email marketing A/B testing.

1. Start simple 

Don’t overcomplicate the process and wanted to test everything at once. Take them one by one. Start with the subject line, then the pre-header and the sender\’s name. Then only split test the email content. 

2. Test only one element at a time 

Again, to emphasize the importance of A/B testing. You should only compare “apple to apple”. Subject line to subject line and CTA to CTA. 

If you are changing the subject line and CTA at once and testing together, you won’t know which changes contribute to the improvement. 

3. Choose the same sending time

Sending emails on different days of the week and hours and comparing them will give you a headache with the analytics. If you decide to go for Monday at 9 AM, stick to it. 

Different sending times will get different open rates as well. 

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4. Keep records of what’s tested and what’s not

Regular documentation and having a clear SOP are essential to get a clear view of what’s done and also share with your team what had been done. What they should do in future A/B testing. 

5. Make A/B testing part of your email marketing launch routine

If you are serious about getting good results in your email marketing campaign or any digital marketing campaign. Always remember to conduct split tests regularly. Get the data, analyze, optimize and repeat.

6. Don’t rush with the test

Don’t conclude the test too early. Get enough time for the recipients to react and read the email. Get at least 48 hours before reading the data and decide. 

7. Learn from your mistake 

The accuracy of your instinct will be shown during the A/B testing. Learn from it and improve your messaging and content structure to hit home next time. 

How to set up email marketing A/B test in 9 easy steps

For this tutorial, I will be using the software called GetResponse. The autoresponder that I used and recommend.

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Step 1. Go to the email marketing tools and select A/B tests to create a new test.

Email Marketing

Step 2. Select the element that you want to test

In GetResponse You are able to select either the subject line or email content to test. And the variable element to test on the next page will be different. At the same time, you can test up to 5 different variations in one test.

But I suggest starting with two variations and picking the winner. After you have mastered the skill, then only split test more versions. You will need to know which changes caused the improvement anyway.

Step 3. Setup the basic information for the email marketing A/B split test

In this step, set up the basic information for your split test. This includes naming the test campaign and your sender name.

Step 4. The main element to test

For either element that you choose to test, subject line or content, you will be getting up to 5 different variations to test at once.

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Step 5. Select the recipients for the test and start designing the content

Here you can select directly the list that you want to test or even the segments of people in the list that you want to test. Then you can start designing the content.

Step 6. Design your email content.

There are a few options here to start with. Pre-designed templates, blank templates, HTML editor, or your past email templates.

It depends on you whether you want a nice design visual-based email or just start a text-based email from the blank templates.

Step 7. Configure your A/B test Email Marketing

Here there are a few important elements to configure before starting the test.

  • Traffic proportion for the test – the percentage of traffic to be sent to each variation and how to verify the winning variant.
  • Decision time – The time to wait for your audience to open the email or click on the link before the software makes a decision and gives a result.

Step 8. Decide when to send your email 

Finally, when to start the test. Immediately? Or at a predefined date?

Your call.

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Final Thoughts – The biggest email marketing campaign A/B testing mistakes and how to avoid them

Great! We reached the end of your ultimate guide for email A/B testing! Now you know all the basics and knowledge you need to know to start a successful email marketing A/B testing.

Now it’s time to implement all you learn and put it into action. Nothing will happen if you don’t take action.

To help you to start, Get started with GetReponse’s 30-day free trial now. Start running the test absolutely free for 30 days.