In an age when social media seems to reign as the most engaging form of marketing, it’s actually good old email that still rules in terms of ROI ($44.25 for every $1 spent). In fact, people who come to your site via email shop more and spend more, says Forbes. What’s more, a Software Advice Survey says that 40% of B2B marketers rate the leads generated by email marketing as high quality.
Here are a few other great reasons to maintain an active email marketing strategy:
- Your audience has opted in; they want to see you in their inbox (rather than take the chance of catching you on social media’s busy news feeds)
- You can tailor your message to your audience based on demographics, purchase history, interests, and more
- Unlike social media, email is easily measurable. Open rates, click through rates, unsubscribes, etc. are all a great way to gauge whether your email marketing is a success
However, as email volumes grow open rates are on the decline. Standing out from the crowd is getting harder than ever.
So what can you do? Actually, quite a lot. You can change your subject lines from one blast to the next, or reposition your call to action, so it’s more prominent. And you definitely want to optimize your email for mobile screens (mobile now makes up the majority of email opens at 51%. Source: Litmus).
Tweak then Test
But the only way to truly tell whether any of the tweaks you are thinking of making will work is to test them. In fact, testing should be at the core of all your online marketing efforts.
The best method for doing this is A/B testing, and it’s really a simple concept. A/B testing literally compares two different versions of the same email to a sample audience and compares which one performs best – A or B?
So, for example, if you want to test how a particular subject line performs versus another, A/B testing can give you the answer. You can also compare and test email length, call to actions, as well as the best time of day/week for delivery. Although, to be sure you’re getting a clear picture of what’s working and what isn’t, it’s best to focus on tweaking and testing one of these factors at a time.
How A/B Testing Works
Most email platforms and CRM systems have some form of testing built-in. During a test, you’ll set up several versions of the same email – A, B and even C – and send then the system will send them to random, small subsets of your email list. All this happens well before you send out your main blast. Once the results are in, review the metrics for your test:
- How were open rates for email A vs. B?
- What about click throughs?
- Did more people unsubscribe from one particular version over the other?
When you’ve determined the best performing content/format/timing, or whatever, you can run with that version of your email.
Build Testing into Every Campaign
Testing is there to help you, don’t just go with your gut instinct, keep testing to see what works. And don’t stop there, A/B testing also works for banner ads, landing pages, blogs, and more.