Four email A/B tests to improve results in five minutes today

This article is about A/B testing. Promise.

Imagine receiving a frantic call from your mother while at work: “Why didn’t you tell me you were dying?”.

This is the call my friend’s coworker received a few weeks ago. His mother had just gotten off the phone with the health insurance company. They had called to say that the test results were in and it was bad news. The guy left the office that day in a state of confusion and terror. He had gone to the doctor recently. They had run some tests. Was he really dying?

No. It was a horrible mistake. Turns out that the health insurance company had mixed up records. Then they had called his mother and disclosed private (not allowed) and incorrect medical information. Can you believe it?

This story popped in to my head as I debated titles for this article like: “Your test results are in” or “Has your copy gotten tested recently?”.

I couldn’t do it! So I went with “Four email A/B tests to improve results in five minutes today”

Here they are. And I hope you never have an experience like my friend’s coworker!

Test 1: Try sending emails from your CEO or Marketing Manager

We recommend that your from address is something like: name from company. For example: Colin from Customer.io.

Customers have told us (and our experience is) that people respond better when an email comes from a real person. (You could always test that vs just your company name)

Try testing some variations of your from address. What if an email comes from the CEO? Or the marketing manager? Or your community manager?

How does that affect your open rates and the number of responses?

Test 2: What if your subject lines are longer, shorter, funny or serious

Subject lines are always fun to test. You can get your creative juices flowing.

Get out a piece of paper and scribble down stream of consciousness subject lines for one of your emails.

Here are a few that hit my inbox recently:

Do your customers love you more than they did 6 months ago?

Why I said no to a million bucks

Can you pick a winner?

Do you know if your audience likes a long subject line or a short subject line?

Test 3: Personalization in your email

Will using the recipient’s first name in the subject increase opens?

What about sprinkling it throughout the content of the email you’re writing?

Light personalization

Too much personalization can seem cheesy or forced, but a little bit sprinkled in your email can make people feel more comfortable with your business.

Name is an obvious one. Another idea might be if you have other billing information for the person like city or country, you can use that to personalize content. Like: “How’s the weather in Oslo today?”.

Test 4: Find out which content drives more clicks & conversions

Once you’re happy with how many people are opening the emails you’re sending, you want to start looking at content testing.

You should wait because to get meaningful results for content, people first have to open your emails! So get those open rates up before trying things like:

  • Content Length (long vs. short?)
  • Lots of Images vs. Text Only (here’s one test)
  • Text link? Or large button?
  • One option to click through or lots of links to the same place?

Where you take your email testing is really up to your imagination.

What are some email A/B tests you’ve run (or want to run)?

Shout your successes from the hilltops in the comments below.

Happy Emailing,
Colin