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Increasingly, marketers are being asked to prove the value of their marketing campaigns and spend. And many of us face one gargantuan challenge after another, despite diminishing resources. So how do you make sure your marketing – specifically your email marketing – is efficient and effective? In this post, I’ll talk about how testing your emails with your audiences can help you zero in on what works. I’ll also give you a list of quality assurance tests to perform, to reduce email sending problems.

A/B Testing

First, let’s talk about A/B testing. Note that you’ll find deeper, more comprehensive guidance on A/B testing online with a simple search. In this article, I just want to provide the very basics of what A/B testing is, and why it is valuable.

Every organization and marketer wants the best possible response from their investment of marketing effort and budget. But how do you know what will produce the best response? That’s where A/B testing comes in.
A/B testing, at its most basic, is a way to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better.

In email marketing, A/B testing lets you gauge how well a particular message, coupon, or offer will perform with your audience. It helps you improve your email marketing by giving you insights into what motivates people to open and view an email, and what prompts them to click or take some other action such as using the included coupon. Refining your marketing so you are sending only messages that resonate and get responses tends to drive deeper engagement and conversion, and reduce unsubscribes.

How does it work? At its most basic, you send out two versions of an email to sub-sets of your mailing list, and then track which one converts better. You can then send only the better performing version to the balance of your subscribers.

Some email tools include a feature that automates and simplifies A/B testing.
Some things you can test:

  • Subject lines
  • Coupons/offers
  • Graphic(s)/copy
  • Call to action
It’s important to control aspects of your test so as not to introduce false results. For example, send both of your test emails at the same time of day.

Pre-Send “Quality Assurance” Testing

Once you settle on the better version of your email, there’s also testing that you should perform before you send it to your subscriber list. This is to avoid embarrassment (typos), a bad experience on the part of recipients (e.g., broken links), and to maintain your credibility as a sender (avoid having your emails flagged as spam, or even getting blacklisted by internet service providers/email service providers).

I surveyed our email experts and came up with this QA checklist:

1.Proofread top to bottom and bottom to top.

2.Confirm all links are working and point to the correct location.

3.If you include a phone number, call it to verify that it is the correct number and that the phone line works.

4.Verify that any ‘alt tags’ are spelled correctly and that download graphics links work. These are the tags that describe graphics for subscribers whose email program does not automatically download images.

5.View on desktop, iOS device and Android device.

6.If your email program offers customer relationship management tools, make sure that the subscriber actions show up in the CRM activity feed, e.g., open email, click link, click to form submission.

7.If your email tool includes a deliverability test, run it. This will help you avoid spam filters, and gives you the opportunity to correct issues that could cause your email to be flagged.

Messages that resonate, enticing offers, and good subscriber experiences can all lead to great long-term relationships with your customers/email subscribers. I hope this article helps you reach and engage with your email audience.

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