Give Users a Vote Why Testing in Email Matters

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Consumers want their voices heard.

Social media marketers have turned to crowdsourcing to include customer's voices. But email marketers have been giving people the opportunity to vote for years.

We're not talking about direct surveys, although those can work. What we're talking about is measuring the votes that customers make every day when they choose to click or not click -- using A/B testing. 

Voting with a Click 

From opening emails based on a strong subject line to ignoring an offer inside the email because the image isn't strong enough or the promotion isn’t compelling, consumers voice their opinions on your brand every day. When they click on a landing page and add a product to a shopping cart, consumers essentially cast a “vote” on the marketing message.

Testing is at the core of most email marketing programs because it helps marketers optimize performance. At the same time, testing gives customers a voice at the table. And as with any marketing tactic, testing requires a good strategy.

Just as a social media marketers define their agenda when asking consumers to vote on their favorite song, email marketers need to set campaign goals to make testing effective. And to achieve these benchmarks, smart marketers define an agenda and create tests.

Pop Quiz Time

All kinds of assets can be tested: subject lines, calls-to-action, offers, time of day, day of the week, videos, images, demographics, location, etc. Just remember to select attributes to test based on your campaign’s goals. The attributes you choose could vary the results of the campaign and affect the outcome of the test.

If the goal of the email is to increase sunglass sales, the marketer might test different promotions, such as 25 percent off or offer a $10 coupon or a comparison image of the glasses alone versus on someone’s face. Testing the location might not be necessary if customers tend to perform similarly across the country.

If the campaign's mission is to get a customer to like the brand on Facebook, the marketer could test creative that gives customers an incentive for liking the Facebook page against a message promoting the kinds of content the Facebook page has to offer. Measuring these two images against each other gives the marketer insights into which image drives the most likes. These clicks and likes are essentially the customer’s vote on which message they prefer.

Marketers can test for anything. The trick is to only test one variable at a time, otherwise identifying which factors led to different results will be hard. Marketers can also optimize the results with a new test in order to fine-tune the campaign. Perhaps the sunglasses marketer wants to throw in demographics to see if men respond differently than women to the creative.

Marketers should also be testing landing pages. While emails drive the promotion and get the consumer to act, a landing page serves to seal the deal and drive a conversion.

Testing allows marketers to raise questions about consumers and gives consumers the power to cast their votes through the data. These insights can inform future campaigns. Testing should lie at the core of email programs as it's the perfect way for marketers to listen to the customer's voice. With every click, users express their choices.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  sundaykofax