There are various questions as an email marketing consultant that I’m always fielding from clients and prospects; how often should I send to my list? How do I grow my list with interested prospects? How do I generate more sales from my email marketing? How can I increase the opens, clicks and conversions I see from the emails I send.

And these are all really great questions and fundamental to building a great email marketing programme, but there is one key that will unlock the answer to these questions and YOU have the power to influence it!

Whether you’re an entrepreneur working on your business or a valued member of a marketing team in a bigger organisation, increasing the results you see from the emails you send is vital for your success.

As an entrepreneur you want to increase your sales, automate your processes and grow your business. As a member of a larger company you have targets to meet, other marketing activity to integrate with and an overall customer journey to consider.

So regardless of what stage you’re at with your email marketing, what is that one way you can guarantee an increase in your results and find the definitive answer to ALL your email marketing questions?

TESTING!

Over the last 10 years, I have sent millions of emails and run many, many different tests on my email marketing campaigns – I’m not one of those people claiming to be an expert – I’m there in the trenches with you, analysing data and planning my next steps.

Testing is an important strategy in your armoury to ensure your campaigns generate the results you need and desire. Because email marketing has moved on….it most certainly isn’t dead, but the way in which you use this amazing channel to gain the best results has changed – it’s no longer about batch and blast; the same message to everyone. As an entrepreneur just getting started, this is going to be a practice you do, but as you move forward and grow, you need to consider how you can move your communications away from this method and towards a 1-2-1-millions* basis.

Now to do this, there are various tactics and techniques you can use; including segmentation, automated campaigns and dynamic content – all great ways to get to the ideal 1-2-1-millions scenario.

But how will you know what will work for your company? How do you know what will increase your results? If you knew that already, you’d have the best email marketing programme in the world already and probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post! Testing will provide all the answers to your questions.

And testing can be conducted on every part of the email journey – from your sign up form, to your email content and your unsubscribe process.

So, here’s my 5 step guide to getting started with testing….

  1. Choose your test element

When testing it is important to only work with one element at a time so that you can be sure which change affected the resulting increase or decrease in your statistics. If you were to change more than one element at the same time, you wouldn’t necessarily know which change had made the difference.

Want to know how to test and get some ideas of the elements you could test? Check out my blog post here >

  1. Create your hypothesis

When testing you need to start with a really clear view of exactly what you want to find out; what do you want to prove or disprove with your test?

For example, a hypothesis around testing your subject line may be: I believe that shorter subject lines will create a higher unique open rate, click through rate and conversion rate, than longer subject lines over 35 characters.

The more specific you are with your hypothesis, the better you will be able to analyse the results you see during your test in step 5.

  1. Choose your testing time period / volume

Depending on the type of test you are running and the hypothesis you are trying to prove, you may need to consider running your test over multiple campaigns/weeks to ensure that the results you are seeing are valid. For example, the majority of opens happen on an email within the first 4 hours after delivery, whereas actual conversions may be seen weeks after the email has been sent.

Take a look at what you are trying to prove with the test as well as the statistics you are monitoring and consider whether your test needs to be extended.

When it comes to your sign up form for example, you might decide that rather than a specific time period, you want to run your test based on the number of visits to the page you are driving traffic to.

  1. Run your test

So you know what you want to find out, what you are testing and how long you’re test will run for. The next step is to actually get the test underway!

  1. Analyse your results

Every test you run is a learning opportunity. Not just for that individual email, but for every campaign you’re planning in the future; it is important to ensure you use this learning in future sends to increase your results.

Frequently testing your campaigns and strategy will allow you to increase your results; but remember, you may see decreases in your results on some of the tests you run…and that’s OK! It’s a constant cycle to improve your results:

Tweak +Test + Optimise + Repeat = Results

When looking at your results, you need to look out for changes in both positive and negative engagement metrics. The handy chart below separates some of the most common email marketing statistics accordingly.

Positive Engagement Metrics Negative Engagement Metrics
Delivered %
Opens (Total and unique) Unsubscribes
Clicks (Total and unique) Complaints
Forwarded
Conversions
Social Shares

 

*1-2-1-millions = This means communicating with your subscribers as if you were speaking to them on a 1-2-1 basis but you’re actually speaking to a larger set of subscribers…millions of people even that have a commonality between them.