Testing is a crucial element of any email marketing strategy, but how do you decide what to test? Instead of seeing testing as a matter of switching out one gear for another in an otherwise well-oiled t’s helpful to look at how these elements to test fit within a larger framework. Seeing the big picture gives you an inspired take on your email marketing. Here are some tips to get you started.
For Future Testing, Look to the Past
The results of your previous email tests provide an immensely instructive history. By looking at past testing, you see what’s made the greatest impact and where you might return to the well to seek more inspiration. Going back months or even years shows you where you’re on the right track, but tests that didn’t show positive results are also useful. Is there a way to repurpose those emails that didn’t draw the positive response you expected? Were they successful in some ways but not others, such as a subject line that has a high open rate but low click-through rates?
That record of past data is one of the reasons a marketing automation system is so important to sustained growth in email marketing. As it keeps your history intact and ready to pull up whenever you need inspiration for new testing concepts, it’s an outstanding idea factory.
Be the Reader
The best marketers have an innate ability to put themselves in their clients’ shoes and a keen understanding of what motivates them to action. Think about what matters to your audience, the information they use to make their buying decisions, and the objections they might present to come up with test concepts that address their needs. Your audience isn’t a monolithic group, either, so consider how each segment of your whole audience approaches email and what they’re most receptive to. Marketing automation that lets you effortlessly customize mail to recipients is a big help here because it allows you to speak to each audience segment personally.
Look at Others’ Results
Case studies are a proven source of inspiration for testing ideas. Learning what works for others isn’t always an exact template for success for you, but it’s often a good place to start. Sometimes doing some research outside your own field is informative, too; you can learn a great deal from case studies others have published even if your company and theirs are in entirely different industries.
Your best source of inspiration might be a list or article about email testing suggestions. Even if you don’t use the concepts verbatim, they’re often a good jumping-off point for ideas that work for you. Pick up some specific suggestions from reading a white paper on email testing, browse infographics, or check out blog posts that offer ideas that go beyond the standards of subject lines and calls to action.
Strategic email testing is the only way to know what works, and it’s an ongoing process. It isn’t enough to test once; you have to keep finding new ways to improve in an ever more competitive marketing channel. With the right inspiration, though, you can dig deeper and find new insights about your audience.
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