How to Approach Testing Email Content

testing email content

So, you’ve learned the ins and outs of A/B subject line testing and you’re gathering data that will help you create better subject lines for future blasts. But you’re still not convinced that your email content is as compelling as it could be. You’re in luck. We talked to three experts about the science behind testing email content so that you can approach it confidently and systematically and get the biggest bang for your buck.

When should I A/B test my email content?

“Content testing is an entirely different beast and shouldn’t be done as frequently as other forms of testing, like subject lines,” says Julian Dutton, marketing manager at CardFellow. “Not because it isn’t important to test, but because the results take more time to create a picture of what is working.”

Because you don’t want to constantly perform split tests on your content, it’s essential to know when the best time is to begin the process. April Wilson, President Digital Analytics 101, advises marketers to ask themselves, “Is your open rate steady/good, but your interaction rate is poor/declining? Then it’s time to A/B test the body of your email.”

How should I test my email content?

“Email content testing is generally focused on the key metrics which represent deeper layers of the conversion funnel – specifically, click rate and conversion rate,” JT Capps, Senior Director of Demand Generation at Swiftpage, notes, so you should focus on adjusting variables that could help boost those specific rates. For example, you can begin by adjusting call to action buttons from one blast to another or testing the length of the content itself. “[Other] considerations for content testing may include the creation of different imagery, editorial copy, dynamic content block insertion and strategic calls-to-action,” Capps says.

Capps adds, “An understanding of how these variables may be impacted by the device used by the recipient to view the email is also a key consideration – especially if the email is coded for responsive design tactics which can further complicate the results if not accounted for in the analysis of the split test.”

How can I use this data?

“Creative Optimization tests should be ongoing with a test and roll (challenger vs. champion) framework focused on the items delivering the most impact,” Capps says. Keep track of your best performing changes and continue to optimize important variables until you reach the best combination. One change may yield better results in one area, and another change in another, so knowing what results you want is essential.

Dutton recalls, “I remember testing a webinar email that had a full breakdown of the webinar features, against a webinar email that listed only the time and date and had a few key points surrounding it. We found that we had more clicks on the email with just the time and date, but the email with more information had a better conversion rate because people knew what to expect.”

Missed our 101 lesson for A/B subject line testing? Get caught up here.