How to A/B Test an Email Campaign

January 19, 2015

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how to A/B test an email campaign, a good understanding of the importance of A/B testing basics is highly recommended. A/B testing—sometimes referred to as split campaign testing—is primarily used to test small design or content changes between two similar campaigns. These small revisions are tested against each other to determine which email is more effective at driving the preferred behavior a marketer is looking for.
A/B testing provides insight into what works best to attract and engage a targeted audience. These small differences allow marketers to test which minor changes were more effective. Changes include everything from design, calls to action, to color choices and other visual changes that are implemented in your email campaign to promote conversion. A/B testing can help you understand your reader’s interests, preferences, and behaviors and ultimately, increase conversions and sales.
Recently Liquified Creative practiced A/B testing with two different email campaigns for one of their clients, PrevMED, a company that provides Dental Case Management for seniors living in extended care facilities. The campaign initiative featured two separate campaigns sharing one common goal- to create and establish new leads by educating facility faculty—administrators, nursing staff, and support staff—on the importance of dental hygiene as a means for promoting better health.
The campaign initiative tested two different designs and communication vehicles:

  1. Quality Senior Dental CareOne campaign featured a ‘medieval design’, which encouraged extended care facilities (ECF) that dental care shouldn’t be considered a medieval concept. This campaign targeted senior administrators. It was deployed first, through a targeted eblast with a campaign-specific landing page embedded within the email and measured as a referral. The eblast was followed two days later with a full color direct mail piece with laminated card featuring participating heath care plans. The direct mail piece featured a CTA that directed the recipient to login to a specific web address, specific to the campaign and measured as direct traffic.
  2. ScaryThe second campaign featured a ‘scary concept’, which encouraged ECF to eliminate the fear normally associated with regular dentist care. This campaign reinforced PrevMED’s significant point of difference; regular dental care can really become an enjoyable experience when it promotes better health. This second campaign specifically targeted nursing and support staff. The elements of the deployment—referral links to the campaign-specific web-landing page embedded in the eblast and found on the direct mail piece—again, became opportunities to measure engagement.

Since the campaign was only recently launched, the sample conversion rates and results are still being analyzed. However, initial communications from ECF faculties—pertaining to the duo-campaigns and campaign-specific landing pages—indicate favorable high recall with a high percentage of actionable landing page visits and resulting conversions.
Improve email-marketing results by implementing a strategy featuring A/B testing—split campaign testing. Be sure to detail strategies, before deployment with forecasted results. Review the data resulting from deployment—as they specifically address the calls to action (CTAs) and measure the success of each campaign, especially as it relates to website traffic and resulting conversions. Observe market reaction to specific copy points and the varied CTAs within each campaign. Apply those results—the most beneficial parts, of course—to the next series of campaigns to further increase the opportunities to successfully engage the market to action!

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