Your Guide to A/B Testing For Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool that has the potential to drive much more traffic and ultimately, sales, to your business. It’s perhaps the easiest way to get people to your storefront, or engaged with your product. The good news is a/b testing can be used to increase conversions and sales through determining which elements need to be reworked. Whether you’re looking for a spike in sales, traffic, or sign-up conversions, this article will serve as a guide to get your email marketing efforts up to snuff. 

your guide to ab testing for email marketing

Determining What to Test

A good rule of thumb is to test all elements of your email campaign – call to actions, subject line, images, time of delivery – to create the most effective campaign possible. With that said, it’s best to test one element at a time. This way there is no question in your mind as to what caused an increase as that variable was isolated. 

Analyzing the Subject Line

ab testing subject line researcher

Subject lines have the potential to resonate with an audience, and marketers spend alot of time constructing the right ones to aide in this effort. In generating subject lines that inspire clicks, consider the following: Specific vs general.

It’s often thought of as beneficial to have your subject line be as specific as possible. In a saturated web, being direct is a way to stand out. This doesn’t necessarily ring true in all cases. “Ring in the New Year” could be just as effective as “Sale starts Dec. 31st.” In this case it’s best to test both a general and specific approach to email subject lines to determine which meets the demands of your audience.

Create a Deadline

We tend to respond quickly when we know there’s a deadline to meet. This same practice can be applied to your email newsletter headlines. Examples may be adding a ship-by-date to your subject line, like “Only 3 more days to get guaranteed shipping by Christmas!” and compare it against a date-less one, like “Get guaranteed shipping by Christmas.”

From Line

Let your subscribers know who the email newsletter is from by experimenting with different subject lines. For instance, try incorporating your name into the form field, or simply listing the company. Be sure to experiment to see which gets the most open rates.

Time of Delivery

Will subscribers respond more favorably to email sent in the morning or late afternoon? Open rate may vary depending on when the email is sent out, so run a test to determine what the best time.

ab testing get started

Call to Action

The call to action plays a hugely important role in users into conversions. In your testing, try different sizes, colors, and text in determining which inspires the most action.

Layout, Colors, and Format

This should be easy if you’re working within existing brand guidelines, but try variations in your testing to see which combination elicits the most interaction.

ab testing layout colors format


Not sure how many offers to include in your newsletter, or stumped about how to present discounts? A/B testing will give you a glimpse into how many offers should be included, as well as the best method for wording discounts: “30% off” versus “Save $40″, for instance.


To see the true value email marketing holds its best to set up some tests and monitor the results. The advice laid out in this article may increase the overall performance of your campaign and drive up sales and conversions. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing your campaigns are meeting the expectations of your subscribers. What do you have to lose? Give a/b testing a shot to see how it works for you.

About the Author:

Brad Weitz, Director of Client Services, Maxymiser, Inc.

Formerly the Vice President of Operations for Autonomy Optimost, Brad has been at the cutting edge of online marketing for over 8 years. Now Brad has joined Maxymiser, Inc. where he develops and oversees all client relationships with a 360-degree digital marketing strategy for improving content optimization, increasing website conversion rates and producing outstanding marketing ROI.

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