Procedure for split tests
There are different approaches to split tests: As part of A / B split tests, it is possible to use two or several variants of a mailing to the entire group of recipients or only to a subset. The “winning version” can now be used for future mailings and further improved. If only a subset of the recipients was written to, the most successful variant can in turn be sent to the other recipients. In this case, the “A / B” does not automatically mean that only two variants are tested.
In some cases it is worthwhile to send three or more variants of a mailing. Usually only one mailing element is checked in this case, for example the subject line. In the case of multivariate split tests, however, several elements are put to the test, for example the subject line and differently colored layouts. This is how online retailers find out which combination works best.
Perform tests properly
Before online retailers start testing, they should define specific goals as possible such as: increasing the opening rate, clicking a button, submitting customer data or reducing the unsubscribe rate. In addition, shop operators should think about which elements are crucial for successful mailings. The 2020 Email Marketing Benchmark by Inxmail provides important average values for this. On the basis of this, online retailers can track down untapped potential and check it with split tests.
Split tests in practice
The top priority: Please do not check everything at once, but regularly. In this way, online retailers ensure continuous improvement of their customer communication and loyal shop visitors. It is advisable to keep the number of changed elements per test low. The more changes, the faster the test results will be falsified. Later it is difficult to determine which factors influence the click behavior of the recipients.
With the help of split tests, all the contents of a newsletter can be optimized: From the subject line to the sender address to the imagery in the mailing. So where do you start? Preferably with the subject. Because this line acts as a door opener for every mailing. If it is worded appropriately, the reader becomes curious. Online retailers should try out what the target group likes: Check different wording, use personalization in the subject, use emojis or work with colored symbols and numbers.
If you have managed to inspire the recipient, you can try content tests. Not only colors and texts, but also the position and formulation of call-to-actions can make the decisive difference here. Online retailers do well with varying the size and placement of product prices to optimize click-through rates. Different dispatch times can also affect the performance of a mailing. Does the target group prefer to open mailings in the morning, in the evening or on the weekend? With automated A / B split tests according to times and days of the week, online retailers develop their own shipping matrix. On this basis, the best shipping times can easily be read off. It is also possible to evaluate the traffic of the online shop and to orientate yourself on the time of peak visits to find out whether these dispatch times also work for e-mail marketing.
Conclusion: an effective tool
Split tests are a cost-effective and effective tool for customer loyalty for online retailers: Each test provides new information about the recipient. On this basis, content can be used for targeted and needs-oriented personalization. In this way, online retailers create the basis for reaching their target group at the right time and in the ideal place with the right content. In this way, they create satisfied customers and have a positive influence on their shop sales.
About the author: Peter Ziras is the founder and managing director of Inxmail and trend-setting networker with a view to the market and its dynamics. (Image: Inxmail)