25 Things To Test in eMail Marketing

In our last post, we looked at the 11 things you should pay the most attention to when creating a marketing email to get the best engagement. This was based on a survey of market experts asking them what gave them the results.


At the end of the article, we talked about testing and measuring email engagement by using some of the mail management systems that provide analytic reporting. With the testing, we indicated that you can change your email and run a test to see which one version gave you more engagement. This is known as A/B testing.


Improving engagement with your eMail Marketing

Because of the high engagement and key benefit of internet marketing using email, you followed our advice and have sent out your email. But you have decided that after a while you want to try and improve engagement. But you are not sure which parts to change and which one will give you the most traction. For example, when we said it is important to focus on the content of the email we did not point out specific elements.


So another survey was conducted and this time they were asked when changing an email to get better engagement what can you change from most important to least important. This list breaks that down for you.

Best practice is to just change one element at a time, to understand the impact it has on engagement. Fortunately, you do not need to start with a blank canvas as most of the email management system offers you templates that you populate with your own content. Most of these templates are based on email formats that has proved to create good engagement. But it is still worth taking the time, with little changes to develop a format that works best for your customers, products and services.


eMail Marketing Segmentation


When you start to get engagement statistics back from the email management system, you can also begin to segment your customers based on their email engagement behaviour. With segmentation, you can have several email formats or send at specific times. Versions may include one version for those who like red buttons, a group for morning emails and one for the afternoon or long emails for those who like long copy instead of short copy.


eMail Marketing A/B Test List


Let us work our way through the list:

  • Subject Line – Still at the top of the list. It was number one in the first survey and is again, so it shows how important this is. You need this catch the attention of the person you are sending to, otherwise, you end up being deleted
  • From Name – An email from a company or brand that your customer recognises is more likely to be opened, than from one that looks like a machine sent it
  • Day of Week – What day do customers like to receive emails. There is no hard and fast rule here. If you are selling a business solution then work hour email may be better. Or at the beginning of the week so you get onto their to-do list. With email management systems you can see who opened the email and maybe do a follow-up email two days later.
  • Time of Day – With all the emails your customers receive in a day when are they most likely to open yours. Do you want to be part of the morning email engagement, maybe send to the just before lunch or about the time they are sitting down for the evening and have more time on their hands?
  • Frequency – How often do you send emails. Too much and they start looking at your emails as spam and delete immediately or unsubscribe. Watch your analytics for signs that you are sending too often. The frequency may be based on sales funnel that introduces them to the concept and brand over a period of weeks, then hits them with the buy now email. Some companies are getting a lot of value from post-purchase emails to create return customers or social media engagement. Some are targeting those who did not open their email as a sign that they did not have time, so they send it again the following day. Keep an eye on the analytics.
  • Mostly Image vs Mostly Text – Images tell a strong story if they match what you want to communicate. If you have powerful images that communicate your value then use them, as studies show that email with images get more engagement. If you have a complex product then maybe text is your better option for communicating the value. Based on what you are selling, what do customer expect images or text
  • Short Copy vs Long Copy – Does your product need a long explanation. Do you need to introduce the concept or brand before you make a call to action? Too long can have customers exiting before they get to the “call to action”. To short and you don’t capture them enough to make the commitment to buy. Consider using images to quickly communicate concepts and ideas so you don’t have to explain them in the text. Do you have an emotion sell or a factual sell
  • Links vs Button – Call to action buttons or text. Do your customers like a button more. What colour, what size, what text, what font
  • Number of Links – Too many choices can be distracting, so reduce the calls to action and give them one choice. Or do you offer them options as part of what you sell? If you give them a link to your website they may go there, where the front page does not have the information or a call to action. Social links can provide social proof, but also take them away from your story
  • Unsubscribe at the top – Those who do not want your email can opt out quickly. You will end up with a quality email list. Or will they unsubscribe before you can promote the value of what you are selling
  • First name personalisation in the subject line – Explains itself. Who wants to be another number on the machine. They feel like you know them and this email has meaning.
  • First name personalisation in the email body – Same as above
  • Animated gif – Creating a visual movement to attract the eye. Studies have shown that people read in an F. Top lie heading, skim the text, skip to the next heading, skim the text. Or add movement and disrupt that flow
  • Font colour – What colour do they prefer
  • Font Style – Readability and emotional response to fonts is more powerful than most people think
  • Opt down – Let your customer tell you what they prefer by choosing their own options. Only send me emails once a week instead of every day. Choose the topic they prefer.
  • Social sharing icons – Social engagement and ratings can influence customers perceptions. If you need proof this can be delivered via social media.
  • Social connecting icons – If they connect to you or follow you in social  media, posts you make can show on their feed, creating recognition and brand awareness
  • Delivery by zone – Segmentation by zone with different messages working better in different areas, or delivering to different time zones so it arrives at the right time of the day
  • Call to action number – How often in your email do you ask the customer to act. Some email tries to get the customer to act after every benefit, while others wait until they have absorbed the whole story. Do you have one call to action or several different types
  • Call to action placement – Just once at the end or after every key benefit
  • Post click landing page – Where do you send them when they click. Does it continue your message and theme? Do not send them to the front page of your website if it does not move the sale forward and have a call to action. You got them this far with your email, so keep them engaged
  • Social proof – Have others purchased this product and did it deliver on the promises. I do not want to be the first. Has it helped someone with the same issues I have? If you have Complex or expensive products maybe you need an emotional sell with some proof
  • Tone human vs corporate – Write to your target audience. Use the words and types of language they are comfortable with
  • Copy length – How many times do you need to sell your value proposition before you get the engagement you want. Copy length can get long when you add in all the benefits, images, calls to action, social proof. It may be better to get them to a web page to continue your story other than telling it all in the email


So there we have it. 25 things you can change in your emails to improve engagement. Remember to change, test and measure.


This is not a one time exercise. If you have a good email campaign that gets good engagement then repeat it. But keep measuring, because perceptions change over time and you will need to alter your messages to address these changes. If a market is being saturated with similar products and offerings it may time to change your pitch.


Good selling