5 Easy A/B Tests

The mantra of direct marketers is “Test, Test, Test.” Yet even good marketers sometimes skip testing and give in to the pressure to just get the email out the door. Tests can be hard to set up, especially ones that focus on the two biggest results-drivers: list and offer.

But there are gains to be had from easy (well, easier) creative tests. Here are five easy A/B tests to run while you are pulling together the tougher ones.

The button AND link test. Most of us have tested buttons versus links in the past, and we’re mostly set on including buttons as our calls-to-action in email. That is good practice. But have you tested using both together? If you haven’t yet, this is a great test and requires only minor adjustment to (most) creative. Testing has shown consistently that more links = higher click-through rate overall. Don’t forget to check if this benefit pulls through to your conversion, though, since it doesn’t always do so.



The postscript test. This was an old favorite back in my direct mail days, and it’s becoming popular again in the email channel. At the end of a letter, we often included a postscript: “P.S. Don’t forget, this offer expires…” or “P.S. Jane, I’d hate for you to miss this…”. It was another opportunity to create a call-to-action that stood out. This works best for a single-offer email. If you can add a postscript, definitely test results at the conversion level.

The call-to-action (CTA) test. Research has shown that for some brands, “shop now” can work better than “buy now” because it puts less pressure on the potential customer and gives them a chance to learn more about a product before committing. A good CTA gets a reader to the next step, without pushing for a full commitment. Review your CTAs and see if you can test alternatives that could draw more readers into your funnel before attempting conversion.

The pull-quote test. A pull quote is an excerpt from your copy that is used as a graphic element to highlight a key point. It doesn’t have to be verbatim — it can be an abbreviated version of the quote. A pull quote that acts as a link can also be a secondary CTA. It is helpful to have a pull quote to make the benefits of action stand out. Test including one to see if you can drive incremental results. Note: for mult-iproduct emails, a burst over the product image works similarly.  

The preheader test. The preheader has become a default part of the email template, but too many times I’ll see emails that say, “This is the preheader.” That’s a mistake. Since this snippet of copy shows up in two places (in the inbox next to the subject line and at the top of the email once opened), it has two chances to drive results. Test versions that work as secondary CTAs against versions that work as content drivers.

There are literally hundreds of things you can test in each and every email, but these five are among the easiest to implement. These won’t be the biggest change drivers, but using these to fill gaps in between bigger and more complex tests will keep you and your team in a test mindset. That’s important for all marketers.

Add your “easy tests” ideas below in the comments.

1 comment about "5 Easy A/B Tests".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Merri Grace McLeroy from Integrated Marketing Strategies LLC, March 21, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.

    Great advice, Gretchen. Also, one can easily test an alt color and image in real time.

Next story loading loading..