Two Ways to Run Split Tests in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Mitch Tarr

What is Split Testing?

A/B split testing is one of the single most important skills you can learn as an email marketer.  I may have told you this story before, but… it’s a good one.

I attended an email conference in Miami a few years ago and the presenter showed two different emails they were split testing for their campaign.  He asked the audience who thought version A performed the best and who thought version B performed the best.

The room was split 50/50 in their votes.  Now, this was a room full of skilled and aspiring email marketers, and the split meant that half of them would be wrong!

Split testing is a great way to learn what your particular audience responds to and what email will get you the best return on your investment of time and money.

Some Email Service Providers have a split testing feature, but even so, they implement it differently. Some have no split test feature built in at all.

Before you start, make sure you have segmented your lists into two groups.  Create a custom field called ‘split’ and set the value at ‘a’ or ‘b’ for each person on the list.  Now you have a segment called ‘a’ and ‘b’.  You can mail to each of these separately.

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Split Test Method 1

For this method, you are simply going to take your full list and send a different email to each segment.  You can split test subject lines, copy, offers, pricing, layout, call to action button color, you name it.

Generally this works best on smaller lists.  Say under 75K.  Your goal is to try to learn from the split test results how your audience sees the world so you can adapt in future mailings.

It’s pretty straight forward but I guarantee you if you have 10 competitors, maybe one of them is doing split testing.

Split Test Method 2

This method works better if you have a larger list and want to ensure you get the most return on any mailing you do.

In this method you take a sample of your list, say 10K names, and split them into an ‘a’ and ‘b’ group.  You send your split to these lists and review the results.  Let’ say the ‘b’ version wins by a big margin.

Take that version and release it to the rest of the list.

In this split test, you don’t have to guess which version is the best.  You let your audience tell you through their actions.

The biggest difference I’ve personally experience with split testing like this is a 12X difference. Our winner produced 12X the results of our first tests.

No matter which method you use for your split testing, you should incorporate it into your processes.  Sure it’s more work, but the results can be big!

Posted on by Mitch Tarr in Email Best PracticesEmail Marketing TipsList Segmentation and tagged Email Best PracticesEmail Marketing TipsList Segmentation

Mitch Tarr President ZinMarketing

About The Author

Mitch Tarr is the author of Email Marketing Mastery: Accelerate Your Business Using Email Marketing.