If you’ve worked in digital marketing for more than five minutes, you’ve probably done the tried and true subject line A/B tests for your email. But there are many, many more things you can test that will tell you a fair bit about your audience, both from emails and your website.
Email A/B testing
Subject line A/B tests are a great place to start, but there’s much more you can find out after you see what compels consumers to open your messages. The connection between browsing history and targeted email messages is a key area to focus on, as well as the use of images of items recently viewed. Changing out these images and testing which convert best is important. For instance, do recently viewed items or items similar to those recently purchased have a better conversion rate? Following users’ activity to provide targeted content is big business with the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital investing millions into technology that follows users between devices to better personalise content.
The connection between browsing history and targeted email messages is a key area to focus on…
Website A/B testing
Many marketers A/B test email, but you shouldn’t stop there. If you find your emails converting to your website, and are seeing a big bounce rate, start A/B testing your entire digital funnel, from email to landing page. Having a clear order to each page with keywords you used in your email copy can often help you mitigate bounce rate and increase time on site. If you’ve overlooked this step from your funnelling process a simple A/B test on one or two pages can quickly help you attribute any increase in click-through and conversion with this simple change.
Having a clear order to each page with keywords you used in your email copy can often help you mitigate bounce rate and increase time on site.
Leading on from this front of shop approach is the elegantly simple task of re-ordering or shifting visual prompts and icons, which you can do both on your site and in your emails. Layout is really key, but as with any aesthetics, the subjective nature makes this difficult for instruction. ComScore have used A/B testing on product pages and found different layouts increased conversion by 69%. From the humble search engines to the masters of marketing, good, clear layout with less text, several explanatory images and clear calls to action often wins out.
From the humble search engines to the masters of marketing, good, clear layout with less text, several explanatory images and clear calls to action often wins out.
The online luxury fashion destination Net-A-Porter have used this method to great effect. Both in their email layouts and with promotional code input placement at checkout, you can see A/B testing it at play. For the promotional code entry, they opted for subtle, small text and clever placement from A/B tests toying with these factors. Having realised that often when searching for discount codes customers would be drawn away from their site, they utilised some clever positioning and phraseology so as to keep a customer’s eyes on the larger picture. They kept the positioning of the code box low on the page, to the left, with small type and used the sentence ”Add a gift card or promotion code” rather than using a striking keyword that draws the eye to such placement.
This lack of emphasis means people are more likely to stay on this page and not go in search of a gift code and possibly find the product elsewhere in the process. This, in comparison to other retailers and other checkout models, does not employ technical masking characteristics but simple camouflage and an acute understanding of how someone goes through the site. This is knowledge gained from testing layouts and thus seeing key points at which users bounce from the site.
A/B testing is so much more than testing how your subject lines perform, and opens up a world of possibilities that can change how you communicate with your audience.
Try a few measures and see what changes you discover to drive more conversions.