4 Marketing Email Elements You Should Really Be A/B Testing

October 14, 2015 Rachel Riley

email-a_b-testingAs a marketer, you understand the value of A/B testing your marketing emails to optimize them for conversion. But are you testing the elements that actually make a difference to your audience?

As a marketing firm, a common problem we experience is that clients will spend a lot of time A/B testing elements of an email that aren’t very important, such as a minor change to the body text. Such changes may seem crucial, but will in fact have little impact on audience engagement and conversion rates.

There are multiple platforms available from which to A/B test emails, including HubSpot, MailChimp, and Marketo, and you can use them to test every part of your email, if you have the time. But to make the most of your investment in split-testing software, first you should know the four features of a marketing email that you should really be A/B testing to improve the effectiveness of your campaign.

4 Email Elements to A/B Test

1. Subject Line

The subject line of an email can make or break whether a recipient opens it, so it’s important to test your messaging to make sure it’s optimized for clicks. It might be that your audience prefers a shorter subject line or that including a number or keyword increases engagement, so test those variables (one at a time!) to see what works.

2. CTA/Offer

You should A/B test both the text and design of your CTA to maximize its effectiveness at converting leads. Include an action word in the text of your CTA like “request trial” or “subscribe to blog” to drive clicks from your audience, but remember that they won’t even read your CTA if they aren’t visually drawn to the button. Include whitespace around the CTA and use a color that contrasts with the rest of your email to increase its visibility.

3. Images

According to HubSpot, 65 percent of users prefer emails comprised mostly of images, so including an image in yours is likely to drive audience engagement. But which one? A company that sells camping gear might find that their email audience responds better to a picture of a woman hiking with her dog than a picture of a happy couple in a tent. Email images can become the focal point of an entire email, so it’s an important element to test.

4. Overall Layout

Last but not least, you should be A/B testing the overall layout of your emails to see how the placement of certain elements might affect your audience’s engagement and conversion rates. Perhaps your readers would click on your CTA button if it was right in the middle of the email or maybe if it was well placed on the right side. With so many features of your email available to switch around, this will be the most labor intensive of your A/B tests, but it’s crucial to test the layout of your emails to determine audience preference.

We hope you see increased success in your future campaigns by A/B testing these four email features for maximum effectiveness.

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