green beans blog email testing

A/B Testing For E-mail Marketing

A/B testing: an effective way to gauge how to distribute your most important business information via email.

A/B Testing comes in handy when trying out new email formats and techniques. Without testing out your options, you won’t be able to determine what works best. If you have two options and neglect to test them independently, you may accidentally choose the worse option- the option that receives fewer opens, click-throughs and conversion rates. Let’s focus on the better option and give A/B testing an honest effort!

So how does A/B testing work?

It’s simple, really. You have two versions of an email you’d like to send. The trouble is that you are unsure which will be the most effective. Refer to these versions as Version A and Version B for the sake of the visual. Version A is sent to group A while Version B is sent to group B. As seen above, Version A only received 1 click, so this will be the version you discontinue. Version B received 25 clicks, meaning that 24 more people viewed your email. Clearly, Version B won out, and now you can confidently send this email to the remainder of your email list. By doing this, you will be certain of which email will produce better results, and clicking send may not be so daunting anymore.

So what all should I test?

There’s plenty of different things to test in your email. There may be many things you’d like to test, but it’s important to narrow it down to one specific thing in order to produce accurate results.

Here are things you can produce two variations for:

Subject Line: Your subject line is likely your most important piece of email info. The subject line is what the customer uses to decide whether to open or trash. Your subject line should use wording that attracts opens, while still remaining truthful. The body of your email and the subject line must be consistent.

Call to action: From:Person’s name or Company/Organization name?
The “from” part of your email is also important. Does your name or your company’s name provide more credibility? Which boosts click-rates?

Body Text:We suggest keeping your body on the shorter side since your customers are probably too busy to read a extensive email. Try to narrow it down to the main chunks in order to avoid clouding the email with unnecessary detail.


Delivery Dates/Times, Weekday or Weekend?, Morning, afternoon, evening?

Which time is the best to reach your customers? Do most of your customers check their email around the beginning, middle or end of their work day? Or do they put off personal email checking until after dinner? Gathering this information will show which time is the most viewable time for your customers.

What do I do with my results?

Your focus should be on 3 areas of your email. The open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate once they’re on your website. Your aim is to get people out of the email and onto your website and place of business. If your email is allowing for many click-throughs but little conversion, then you’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If your email is eliciting higher conversion with less click-throughs, then maybe something has to change in the subject/from part of your email. There will be some trial and error taking place here. Make sure that while doing all of this, you are testing a large sum of people to produce accurate results. Also, make sure what is written in your email is affirmed by your website. Viewers should never wonder if they have landed on a wrong page. If your information is inconsistent, this breaks down the trust, credibility, and professionalism that is shared between you and your customers.

What is the easiest way to conduct an A/B test?

There is always the manual route. Split your current lists into two separate lists, and then send out one version of your email campaign to one list and the other to the other list. Compare the lists manually but exporting your data to a spreadsheet.

The easier route would be to use an email campaign software that has built-in tools for A/B testing. A few examples are MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and Active Campaign.

~Happy emailing!~