Testing is rather like going to the gym. We know it’s good for us, we know we should do it more often, but…our heart’s just not in it.

So what’s stopping us?

First, some are unconvinced of the real benefits. Second, testing can drop down the priority list when 101 other tasks demand your attention. Third, there’s often uncertainty about the practicalities, especially the S word*.

Why bother?

Of course, the willingness to commit to testing and overcome any practical obstacles depends very much on that first constraint. Are you convinced that testing is really worth it? Do the potential benefits provide enough incentive to take testing seriously?

The answer is a resounding yes. That’s a YES.

We’ll tackle the practicalities another day, but first let’s be clear on the real benefits of testing.

Everyone wants to improve their email marketing. And there are a lot of changes you could make to your strategy, system, sign-up process, tactical approach and to the actual emails. The problem is knowing how such changes will affect results.

We’d like to think we have enough experience and insight to always pick the best alternative. Unfortunately that’s not the case. “Should we send a welcome message?” has an obvious answer, but other questions don’t.

What color should the “BUY” button be? Should the subject line include first name personalization? Where should we put the sign-up form on our web pages? Should we switch to a single column layout?

The only way to answer such questions correctly – and consistently pick winners – is to test the alternatives. Especially since the right answer often varies from case to case. What’s ideal for one sender’s emails and audience is the wrong choice for another’s.

Even small tweaks have big impacts

It’s not just a question of minor improvements to results, either. The insight you gain through testing can make huge differences to your email marketing metrics. Just consider the results of these A/B tests on relatively minor changes to the email itself:

  • “Click here for more info” as the call to action in one travel email gathered 97% more clicks than the wording “Find out more”
  • A test of three different images for a chip manufacturer saw the winning image produce over eight times the click rate of the loser
  • Using “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” in the subject line almost doubled the click rate for one US retailer

…and that’s why you’d be crazy not to test all the time. Look out for more testing advice from us soon!

P.S. *statistics

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