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Instead of comparing apples with oranges, use A/B-tests

Reading Time 3 min.

Certainly not everything can be compared with each other, but when it comes to your newsletter, yes.

Does this sound familiar to you? You’re working on your newsletter, making an extra effort to find the perfect and promising subject line… Then you finally believe you have THE brilliant idea! Yes, you’re even proud of your creative subject line. Out goes the newsletter at last and then? Pffff… The big disappointment. The newsletter hardly gets opened.

But why? Was everyone on holiday or in bed with an annoying flu? Didn’t my recipients have their glasses on or was it the wrong time or subject line at the end? What could I have done differently or better? Questions upon questions. You just don’t understand the newsletter world anymore.

Well, I have good news for you. Firstly, you are not the only one experiencing this problem and secondly, there is a method that you can use to optimize your newsletters for the future.

The clever answer to your questions is A/B testing.

What exactly is A/B testing?

Simply put: A/B tests are the key to more newsletter openings. They offer you countless possibilities to optimize your newsletter. The tests allow you to send two different newsletters to two test groups at the same time. The A/B test will then show you which newsletter version was better received by the target group or was opened more frequently. From the subject line to images or graphics, you can test everything and adapt and optimize your future newsletters accordingly.

How does an A/B test actually work?

The tests can turn out quite differently, depending on the scope of your test. But let us stick to a simple example. As you know, the subject line is a door opener. You therefore want to find out which subject line is stronger, better and consequently more successful. Then, for example, you send two different versions to 10% of your recipients. As soon as you receive the result concerning the open rate, you can send the more successful version to the remaining 80% of your subscribers. This way you avoid sending the weaker and less successful version directly to the 100%. Sounds clever, right?

What are the advantages of A/B tests?

With the help of the A/B tests you can quickly find out whether your newsletter works and how it is received by your recipients. The results of your A/B tests enable you to incorporate the newly gained knowledge step by step into your newsletter. This automatically leads to better performance in the long run. Because without A/B test you might have sent out the worse version to all and would repeat certain errors again and again in the future. Now you can concentrate on what went well and avoid what didn’t go so well.

What can I test?

You can basically test anything. These can be very small but nevertheless very important components such as the design or the placement of a “Call-to-Action” button up to text elements, colors and much more.

Roughly, the following three are the most important components to test in A/B tests:

– subject lines

– content (text, photos, design)

– send time

But start with simple tests. Avoid potential frustration by testing as much as possible at once. Start, for example, with two different variants of your subject line. Next time you test the address in the newsletter (personalized address), then two different text variants, etc.

Your benefit:

By using A/B Tests you can find out whether your newsletter works, and which content gets a positive response by your recipients or not. You will soon find that the newly gained knowledge will give you more confidence in the development and creation of your newsletter. And with each further test you can optimize your newsletter and look forward to more newsletter openings, click rates and thus more success in the future.

Stay curious for part 2! I will explain in more detail what exactly you can test with A/B-Tests and give you further helpful tips about A/B-testing.


Morny Russell

Morny is a text juggler for Cleverreach® and writes on all aspects of email marketing. In her spare time, she is an avowed foodie and passionate instagrammer.