Performing Testing And Optimization In Email Marketing
in this article, I want to look at what email testing is, what tests you should perform on your campaigns and what metrics you should track. We will also look at optimizing emails and how to minimize the amount of bounces and unsubscribes.
Email testing and optimization is something you should continually be performing on your email campaigns, this will help improve your emails which will lead to more opens, clicks and conversions.
Testing you email campaigns before launch is a vital step in email marketing. Ensuring your email renders correctly in all email clients and devices and loads quickly for users will help drive opens, clicks and conversions.
Utilizing various email testing techniques will help optimize your email marketing campaigns. Testing subject lines, from names, content, images, time of day, etc. will help you better understand your email audience.
Types of testing include:
- Seed testing: A list composed of co-workers, friends or family that will help you to test your email before launch. Include at least 5 recipients but the more the better and try to find people that use different email clients and have different mobile devices.
- Rendering testing: Tools such as Litmus, allow you to send your email to a test email address and preview your email in a variety of email clients and devices. This is great for showing any rendering issues that only happen in certain clients.
- Load testing (images and text): When a user opens your email, all the images in the email will be downloaded. If your email contains multiple images or the images are large file size, than the email may be slow to load for the user, especially on mobile devices which have slower internet speeds.
Litmus is one of the most common email testing tools on the market, It is a paid service that offers a wide variety of testing tools to use before you launch your email campaign.
Litmus allows you to send your email to a test email address and from there Litmus will:
- Show you your email in 70+ apps and devices
- Validate all links, images, and tracking
- Test the email load time
- Allow you to build emails with there editor
- Provide analytics on how your campaign performs
Litmus isn’t the only email testing tool on the market. Other email testing tools which offer similar features include Email on Acid, Return Path and 250 OK. Here are some of the features they offer:
Email on Acid
- Testing & rendering: Here you can test your emails and see how they preview across mobile devices and tablets. It highlights and resolves potential code issues in your links, images and email copy style. It also spam tests to ensure email deliverability.
- Editor: With the email markup feature, you can build, edit, preview and optimize your emails while also enabling the ability to comment and share email previews. It also hosts an image library so you can access and reuse images across your email campaign.
- Analytics: This feature offers analytics on email engagement, whether your emails have been opened, what geographic location they were opened at, how much has been read and on what devices. This feature also enables you to track your email campaign’s success on a daily basis and records behavior in real time.
- Inbox placement
- Certification: With Return Path, providers acknowledge you as a safe, reputable company and in turn, your email program receives reduced filtering at major mailbox providers. By following the program’s proprietary standards, it gives you a strong chance of your emails reaching more of your subscribers’ inboxes. Return Path monitors your email performance and adherence to these standards.
- Reputation Monitor: If your IP has a poor reputation, your mail is less likely to reach the inbox. Reputation Monitor removes the mystery of your IP reputation by revealing how mailbox providers rate you as a sender using sending score, which is a credit score for email reputation. This feature also provides corrective advice to improve your sender score.
- Email Validation: Clean your subscriber list of invalid emails. It verifies email addresses in real-time at point of capture to reduce invalid signups and it helps to reduce your bounce rate.
A platform empowering data-driven senders with real-time insights into deliverability issues, reputation, user-level inbox engagement, and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC). The feature set includes 24/7 blacklist monitoring and customizable alerts, global spam trap coverage, seedlist optimizer, DMARC deployment and monitoring, out-of-the-box integrations with Litmus and Email on Acid, and more.
Now let’s take a look at some of the metrics you should be paying close attention to when testing your emails before launch.
Metrics that drive open rates:
A. Subject Line: The subject line is what drives recipients to open the email. It’s one of the most commonly tested components of an email and often used in an A/B test which we will be taking a look at shortly.
B. From Name: The from name is the name that appears next to the email address, it’s different to the email address the email is sent from. In Gmail, the from name appears at the top of the email e.g. in the image above the from name is ‘Digital Marketing Institute’.
C. Pre-header: this is the text that appears underneath or next to the subject line. You can define the pre-header in the code of your email or the first piece of text within the email body copy will be used. The pre-header text should be used as an extension of the subject line but note that not all email clients display this.
Metrics within the email:
D. Calls to Action: These are the links within your email. Often emails can have many links so it vital all are tested.
E. Social media icons and links: If these are included in your email, ensure they all link to the correct social media page.
F. Unsubscribe link and address: Make sure your email includes these and that the unsubscribe link works.
G. HTML vs Plain text email: While the majority of marketing emails render the HTML of an email, some devices and screen readers use the plain text version of the email. It’s important to test both versions and make sure the content in both are updated together.
H. Personalization: Does the email have any personalization, such as using recipients name in the email? If so, ensure the name is correctly being pulled into the email from the contact database and if there is no name that it still looks OK.
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