Ashmita Chatterjee

Associate Director, Analytics

Katelyn Muenck

Katelyn Muenck

Senior Creative Strategist

Five Tests to Maximize the Impact of Your Email Campaigns

Email is a key component of most brands’ digital marketing strategies. In fact, a recent survey found that 80% of marketers say email drives customer acquisition and retention. At Rise, we use email to help ensure our clients are maximizing returns on their lead acquisition investments.

Email marketing plays a critical role in converting new customers, while also building relationships with existing customers. Most importantly, email fulfills a unique role within your marketing toolbox, as it’s only going to individuals who have told your brand that they want to hear from you! As a result, their level of intent is deeper and they are primed for engagement.

When developing email campaigns, testing is crucial to achieving the most successful outcomes. Among these are tests that focus on content and creative—elements that play a huge role in enabling a successful email program. Due to their fast-moving nature and ability to impact KPIs, content and creative are great places to start when prioritizing email tests.

Testing Email Content and Creative
While creating an email, your team should consider template design and development, along with compatibility, messaging, and segmentation. Delivering a seamless user experience is critical to a successful email program and is affected by everything from subject lines, CTAs, images, and visual elements to CAN-SPAM compliance elements and browser, email client, and device compatibility.

There are quite a few standard “levers” you can pull to optimize your email's content and creative, but it can be challenging to understand how these variables fit together when designing an email testing strategy.

What is the secret? Follow the user. Prioritize your tests based on the standard order of user interactions. For instance, the user reads the subject line, then the preview text. The user opens the email, skims through the content, and then decides whether or not to take the desired action. Therefore, the subject line is more important to get right than the call to action; if the user doesn’t open the email, the call to action doesn’t matter.

While there are a number of execution-level details that help make an email effective, there are four big-picture items to keep in mind while testing:

  • Prioritize your variable tests based on the order of user interactions
  • Keep all other variables besides your test variable constant
  • Test the same variable multiple times
  • Analyze your results and use your conclusions to create email standards

Sample Testing Plan
Below is a sample plan for testing email content and creative using a variable phased approach. This can be used as a starting point for your own testing initiatives.

Phase 1: Subject Line


Test: A/B test variations of subject lines, such as one that says “5 Restaurants We Are Loving Right Now” against “20% Off at Our 5 Favorite Restaurants.”

Outcome: Following the tests, you’ll have a better understanding of best practices for future subject lines and the impact different variations can have on open rates.


Phase 2: CTA Text


Test: A/B test the call-to-action (CTA) text. For example, test a straightforward CTA such as “Register for Our Webinar” and a CTA that references something specific within the email, such as “Achieve Better Business Outcomes.”

Outcome: After the test concludes, provide a best practices summary for writing CTAs based on the test results and use these to guide your team moving forward.


Phase 3: Template Layout


Test: A/B test layout changes. For example, test a layout with two CTA buttons versus a layout with one CTA button.

Outcome: After the test concludes, use the learnings to finalize the template layout and guide future emails.


Phase 4: Image Style


Test: A/B test image style changes. This could mean testing a hero image featuring people against one that uses iconography.

Outcome: After the test concludes, use the learnings to finalize the image style for each type of email.


Phase 5: CTA Button Color


Test: Conduct A/B testing on CTA button color changes, while remaining within brand guidelines. For example, test a blue CTA button versus a green CTA button.

Outcome: After the test concludes, use the learnings to finalize the template button color.


While these tests are not inclusive of all possible testing options, they provide a great framework for getting started. As you work to build and test your email content and creative as part of a comprehensive email marketing program, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rise to see how we can help you drive results.




07/14/2017 at 07:16

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