How to Do A/B Testing for Email Marketing

We’ve put together this A/B testing for email marketing guide to help you attract more customers and generate more sales for your business. Here’s what you need to know.


What Is A/B Testing and How Does It Work?

A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of an email, webpage, or other type of advertisement in order to see which performs better.

A/B testing is most commonly used in marketing, but it has also expanded into other areas such as web design and software development.

Benefits of A/B Testing

By testing alternative versions of content, A/B testing allows business to determine what version of a message is working better for a specific audience. Rather than make changes and guess at their impact, A/B testing offers real-time, quantitative data to help guide messaging decisions.

How Does A/B Testing Work With Email Marketing?

A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of a web page to determine which has the best response. A/B testing can be done with any type of marketing, including email marketing.

The goal of A/B testing with email marketing is to see which subject line or call-to-action button works better for users in order to determine which content resonates best with your audience.

Things You Need to Know Before You Start Doing A/B Testing on Your Emails

Before you start doing A/B Testing, there are some things you need to know. For example, you need to find your target audience and determine what they want. You will also need to make sure that you have more than one email template for testing purposes.

A/B testing gives a quantifiable conclusion when it comes to emails, so it allows email campaign organizers to clearly determine the effectiveness of a particular message. Before beginning a test, do not forget your objectives and goals. Reflecting on your goals ensures that your email templates are intentionally designed to achieve success.

Popular A/B Tests

As a marketer, there are lots of different types of A/B tests, and we will discuss the benefits of the two most popular types of A/B tests.

Two types of A/B tests:

  • The first type is called a subject line test. This type of test helps the marketer find out what subject line resonates best with their audience.
  • The second type is called a layout test which lets the marketer know if design elements such as images, headlines, and CTA buttons should be adjusted for better conversion rates.

Do This Before Starting an A/B Test

The idea behind A/B testing is that you need to split your users into two groups and show one of them a variant of the original design. The goal of this test is to figure out which design will be the most effective for your business. Before clicking send, ensure that you:

  • Define your goals and KPIs
  • Define the audience
  • Determine what you want to learn from the test
  • Determine what you want to achieve with the new design
  • Define an engagement metric for your goals

How to Do A/B Testing

To run a simple A/B test:

Step 1: Plan and design your experiment:

You need to plan and design your experiment before you start thinking about any infrastructure changes. You need to identify what variable you want to test, what control group you want to compare with, and what metrics you will use to measure success.

Step 2: Build out your site, email campaign, or other branded advertisement:

Developers and content creators should now build out an A version of the site or content piece and compare it with a B version which they create using the same basic information and architecture.

Step 3: Analyze results and implement changes:

Once your test is complete, consult the data to determine the overall impact of the message. This allows you to determine how to create the most efficient messages for your audience in the future.

Considerations When Running A/B Tests

A/B testing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to increase the performance of your online content.

There are four main components to A/B testing:

  1. Message - what you're trying to get across
  2. Format - how you're going to deliver that message (text, video, infographics, etc.)
  3. Media channel - which channel is your target audience on (An email list, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)?
  4. Call-to-Action (CTA) - what do you want people who complete the test and see your content to do? This will be one of your KPI variables to test.

Get Started Doing A/B Testing to Get Better Results

A/B tests are a great way to improve conversion rates, increase customer retention, and get higher quality leads. Doing A/B testing will also help you to become a better marketer over time. Try using A/B  testing to measure the impact of different colors, page layouts, or even copywriting changes in your next campaign.

PRO TIP: The most optimal way to A/B test is to make sure you have a high-quality email marketing service. We’ve reviewed the best email marketing services to help you decide which is best for your business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you use A/B testing?

Testing is an established method for improving the success of any type of marketing campaign. You need to know about your audience so you can determine which types of messages will result in conversions and engagement.

How much does it cost to do an A/B test?

The cost of an A/B test is dependent on the company’s needs and the size of the test being performed. Tests measuring multiple elements will require more time and resources.