Testing is the only way you can truly know if your email campaigns and strategies are fully optimized. Even if you think your email activity is firing on all cylinders, it could always be better – and testing is how you determine how to improve.

01 Subject Lines:

This is perhaps the easiest place to start. It still amazes me how many terrible subject lines I see popping up in my inbox. If you are guilty of sending campaigns with subject lines like “March Newsletter,” “Spring Sale” or anything else that elicits a response of “So what!” from your subscribers, try testing your old strategy against something that actually tells your subscribers what they are getting. If you are stuck for ideas for a good subject line, check out our subject line guide.

02 Body Copy:

Does short and sweet work well, or is long-form copy best? My personal preference is to get people from your email campaign and onto your website (where they can be more effectively tracked and converted) as quickly as possible, but this will depend on the product or service you are promoting and the personal preferences of your subscribers. The only way to know if your copy is hitting the mark is to test it.

03 Calls to Action:

Your CTA can be incredibly easy to test. Do people prefer to “Learn More” or “Buy Now”? It may even be possible to put both CTAs in the same email (try placing them directly next to each other) and link to the same page. The fact is, some people want to buy, while some people want to research more before buying – but the end result should be the same.

04. Subscription Forms:

Again, I like these to be short and sweet, but depending on the nature of your business, you may wish to collect more information from your subscribers. You should always bear in mind that the more information you ask for, the less likely it is that people will complete the form. Remember, when qualifying leads, it is incredibly easy to search for a name or an email address on a site like LinkedIn. This will give you much more information than any email form ever will.

05. Landing Pages:

The lessons you have learned from your testing of your body copy, CTAs and subscription forms can be put to good use on your landing pages. Remember, a landing page might be somewhere an email marketing subscriber arrives from or is sent to. A good starting point to test your landing page strategy is stripping out any unnecessary website navigation.

06. Time of Send:

If you are still stuck in that rut of sending all your emails at 11am on a Tuesday or Thursday because you’ve always done it that way, it may be time to test a different strategy. Email is no longer tethered to a static desktop device, meaning you can reach your subscribers anytime, anyplace – so mix it up a little. Try lunchtime sends, hit people in the early evening, or how about testing a weekend campaign? The success of your campaigns will be down to sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Testing will tell you what time is right.

07 HTML vs Text:

I’m a big fan of text-only emails. Just because a text email lacks branding and images doesn’t mean it is any less professional. It may actually appear to be personal – and if you are looking to improve your relationships with your clients, personal is definitely the way to go. Could text work for your business? The only way to find out is by testing.

Remember: When testing, you can only test a single component of a campaign – like a subject line against another subject line – at a time. Mix things up, and you’ll never know what worked and what didn’t.