Blogs Ready to Get Nerdy? 4 Ways to Embrace the Science of Email Testing

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2015-08-12

 

The movie “Revenge of the Nerds” turned 31 this summer. Released in 1984, it was a silly, raunchy comedy, and foretold of the day when (so-called) nerds would take over the world. Not long after, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Mark Zuckerberg and many other computer geeks did just that. Because of their success, being referred to as a nerd is no longer the insult it once was. In fact, many wear the term as a badge of honor.

So it’s with that nerd spirit that we dedicate this blog post to the science of email marketing. The reality is, the “art” of crafting an email – the content, images and layout – often garner the lion’s share of the attention. However, experienced email marketers know that successful email programs today are data driven, making the discipline of email marketing more science than art.

With that in mind, here are four ways marketers can use the science of data-driven testing to ensure optimal results with their email initiatives:

  1. Date and time: As these elements are perhaps the easiest to control and test for, it makes sense to start your testing plan here. After all, if you are already in the habit of sending emails at the same day and time, it may already be routine for your audience to ignore your expected messages. So mix it up – if you typically send, say, in the morning, try an afternoon and see if you get better results. And test your assumptions – you might think sending on Mondays and Fridays are not good, but perhaps your audience will respond differently. Send the same message on a Friday – maybe your audience is already in a good mood and open to your message – and see if you get better results.

 

  1. Subject line: As this is what your email recipients see first (after the “from” address), it’s important to get this right, or the rest of your message may not matter. Thus, testing for the best subject line could make an immediate impact on your open rates. Try testing a straightforward subject line with the call-to-action included, and perhaps a more mysterious approach that piques interest. Whichever approach gathers more opens is the one to go with. But don’t stop there – continue testing with alternate words to improve opens further.

 

  1. Content: Here’s where things can get a little tricky. As this element involves many more dynamics than the subject line, testing your content can go in numerous directions. You can test content, layout and call-to-action against alternatives to find the best mix to which your audience responds. For the most accurate test results, pit one element against another (e.g. free shipping vs. a discount), as opposed to a multitude of variables.

 

  1. Frequency: There’s a lot at stake with getting email frequency right. If you don’t email enough, you’re limiting crucial revenue opportunities for your company. The flip side – sending too frequently – can translate into even more peril. You can annoy, turn off or even anger the very audience you are desperately coveting. But it gets worse: sending too much email can get you blocked or banned by email providers, and even blacklisted as an email sender – a list from which it is difficult and time-consuming to get off.

There is hope, however: a big way to increase positive responses (and minimize complaints) is to understand mailbox types. It’s somewhat intuitive: recipients want to receive business emails at their work email addresses, and personal messages at their personal email addresses. So when conducting frequency testing, be sure to examine your address database, and send the appropriate message to the right place. Analyze engagement patterns to understand the composition of your target based on their primary and secondary email account activities, and develop frequency testing for different account types. Watch for negative signals (e.g. outright complaints), and monitor responses and open rates. If open rates are trending downward, you’re no doubt over-mailing.

The rewards of frequency testing can be well worth the investment. According to a recent MediaPost article, the benefits to marketers of understanding email account type and ideal frequency can generate a 40% incremental revenue lift.

Since marketers typically have limited opportunities to connect with their target audiences, it’s best to apply some test – even a small one – to each and every campaign to maximize the results of your marketing efforts. These four testing elements represent a good starting point. Try them out and you’ll be sure to make any nerd very proud.

 

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Speaking of data science, make sure the email data that drives your campaigns allows you to achieve the highest levels of ROI. Consider giving BizFACTZ’ B2B marketing data a try. BizFACTZ allows you to reach targeted contacts with precision and accuracy, and generate more leads for your business. Click here to register on our site and use the offer code “INTRO” at checkout to receive a 20% discount on your first order.

 

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