5 Tips for A/B Split Testing for Perfection
The value of email marketing has been well documented over the years. It remains the digital marketing channel with the best return on investment for marketers, retailers included. With this in mind, here are five tips for helping your company establish an effective A/B email testing program:
1. Defining a "classic" campaign. Most men have at least one nice white dress shirt paired with a tie in their closet — a classic standard benchmark in the world of men's fashion. Similarly, it's critical to create an optimal campaign as the benchmark control message; otherwise, testing without comparisons is a waste of time. Establish a set time period to measure the success of the control message and use that time period for all additional minor changes.
2. Split style preferences. Designers from all industries — fashion, marketing, advertising and everything in between — must understand their audiences to create ideal styles that suit varied tastes. Retailers should consider this concept and split customer lists into random sets in order to best test campaigns to all audiences, rather than a specific type of customer. Once split, test lists should remain as such to continue effective testing on different aspects of email communications.
3. Setting goals in style. A brand specializing in tennis attire wouldn't focus on targeting someone who snowboards, and it would be unrealistic to set a goal for high conversion rates for that snowboarding-apparel market. Think similarly and set realistic goals. Clickthrough rates are unlikely to increase by 90 percent, but growth of 5 percent over a defined period is likely within reach.
4. Break the rules (in style). As in fashion or business, trends are in the eye of the beholder, and often, rules are made to be broken. In my experience, conducting A/B split testing can help uncover preferences and positive reactions that go against widely accepted email marketing "best practices." For example, "short and sweet" might equate to "short and delete" and a detailed headline might land your email in the deleted folder. By identifying your own best practices instead of simply following industry norms, you'll pave your own path as a visionary campaign designer, catapulting your brand to center stage while your competition is left behind.