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Email marketing

The ABC of AB Testing subject lines

22 Feb 2018 by Sadie Burgess

Email campaigns are a great way to get both new and repeat business. Your contact base is already pre-qualified as they have opted in to hearing news and updates from you and many will have already done business with you.  Improving conversion rates here can make a bigger difference in your bottom line than many other marketing efforts, especially those of similar cost.

With so many possible things to optimise in your email campaign, where should you start looking?

Our advice, start with the subject line – because if you don’t manage to get your targets to read their mail, it will be pretty hard to test anything else! 47% of email [1]recipients open email based on the subject line alone and 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line – so it is a crucial element to try and get right!

The most effective ways to AB test your subject lines.

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But don’t just test random elements. Be systematic with your testing and test against a hypothesis about your targets motivations, for example ““benefit-led copy will increase conversions over loss aversion-led copy” then you can test several elements i.e. you will be able to test the subject line, CTA, headlines, copy, imagery and landing page as you are testing a motivation rather than a factor or element of the email.

You can test against various elements, even test against popular research for example “questions are more effective than statements” or “comedy and light heartedness are more effective that serious corporate copy” or test the level or use of numbers or personalisation.

By seeking these long-term valuable insights through email marketing, you not only increase results within email marketing but you can share them across other channels to drive the business objectives that are common to all channels. You can then apply what you've learned to your website copy, to your keywords, PPC campaigns and related landing pages, and even in the copy you use on ads and banners you run on third-party sites in remarketing or network campaigns.

Email gives you a good basic testing structure that you can build on to sharpen your insights and improve your marketing efforts bit by bit across all channels. It's another one of email's superpowers that marketers so often overlook or ignore. 

Ultimately, it's another reason why investing both time and money in email pays off across your entire marketing program.

Ready to get started? A/B testing requires some thought, but it can help narrow down your email marketing strategy so you can take maximum advantage of one of the least expensive and most effective marketing tools available.

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