a/b testing

Improve Your A/B Testing For Email in 2017… Don’t Get Left Behind!

A/B TestingIf you’re looking to level up your A/B Testing, you’re in the right place! You may be seeking to become a world-class email marketer and don’t know where you are comparatively. Or maybe your desire is to go from semi-effective to consistently executing campaigns that move the needle. This post will help identify where you are and give you a framework to improve your email marketing skill-set!

The 3 Levels of A/B Testing for Emails:

  • Level 1: A/B Testing Emails Manually

  • Level 2: A/B Testing Email Software

  • Level 3: A/B Testing Emails with Artificial Intelligence

Level 1: A/B Testing Manually

Who You Are

Individual, Amateur Blogger, or Salesperson.

Technology involved

Very little. You might use a Chrome extension or other free program to send an email to a list of contacts.

What It Looks Like

You might have a list of 100 contacts in a CSV file. You then use a chrome extension to send one email to 50 people on your list, and another variant email to 50 people. You then wait and see which email gets more responses.

Problems You May Face

Time, Scale, Attribution, Organized Segmentation.

o Setting this up with A/B tests for different emails in a multi-email series takes a lot of time and even more organization.

o You also have to keep up with who took your desired action (click/response/etc) and that can become problematic if you’re tracking opens/clicks (which is possible with more chrome extensions).

o You also have to ensure you’re not sending the next email in a series to a person (who took your desired action) unnecessarily. It can even become unmanageable to keep track of just response rates when you’re emailing out to 500 or more people.

0 You might have difficulty segmenting your customers… imagine if you had 10 different email lists for different types of people and how complicated it would get.

It’s better than nothing, but for the time spent, it’s probably worth it to have a dedicated tool.

Results You Can Expect

Better open, clickthrough, conversion and response rates than your average joe who isn’t A/B testing!

How To Level Up

o Start looking at software that gives you more actionable information and saves time. Many Email Service Providers are free or inexpensive, but will analyze the open rate and click through rate of your emails and declare a winner.

Software such as these will allow you to create multiple lists as well for different customer segments. You’ll start to get data on open rates, clicks AND responses. That way you can tell if it was your headline that didn’t work or your body copy/offer and make improvement accordingly. You can also schedule your emails to go out at certain times.

o You should expect to spend from $0 up to $99 a month for access to an entry level email platform. This price will grow the bigger your list gets. Don’t worry- this is a game changer if you’re looking to build your brand or eCommerce business and definitely worth the small monthly investment.

Level 2: A/B Testing With Software

Who You Are

Likely involved in the eCommerce space or the average Digital Marketer

Technology involved

A dedicated Email Service Provider (ESP.)

What It Looks Like

There’s a large range in capabilities from vendor to vendor. Prices can go from $0 to $1000’s depending on the size of your list and the capabilities you’re looking for.

In general, many of these Email Service Providers have tools that are highly customizable. They often allow you to manually create intricate email series based on the behavior of your user, and A/B test multiple versions of a particular email.

For example, you can create one email series for users who are new to your brand. You can create another email series that might be triggered if someone adds something to their shopping cart but doesn’t purchase from you.

You can often A/B test these series in tandem. In fact, a great email marketer might be able to use these tools to develop a complex system of triggers and email sequences to encourage users to take various desired actions… more expensive tools come with a lot more than A/B Testing, and are able to track and report on your users in various ways.

Problems You May Face

Time; Managing complexity ; Keeping up with multiple A/B tests; Cost

Tools with lots of capabilities are nice, but even a large team can only A/B test emails at a moderate frequency. Too many tests and things can get confusing fast. These ESP services also don’t tend to allow you to test different *types* of emails against each other.

You can test different “welcome emails” all day. But you can’t effectively test if the client should get a “welcome email” or an “abandon cart” email.

Even if you tried, the number of segments you could A/B test is limited by the time you have. For example: You might be able to A/B test an email on users in America, then run another test on users in Japan. But you would have a hard time running an A/B test on every email in a sequence for 20, 50 or 300 segments that are divided up by things like demographics, website activity, geography, interests, purchasing history etc.

After a certain number of emails, the pricing model for these services becomes expensive. In fact, you can often get better pricing by going to Level 3 and acquiring a more elegant solution at the same time.

Results You Can Expect

The average conversion for this type of software hovers around 2-3%.

How To Level Up

A/B testing has so far been based off of averages. It asks, “in a group of people, what message will most likely get the best conversion rate?”
Inherently, it’s not about giving every *individual* exactly what they need to convert. Your next step, is to tap into this ability. Let artificial intelligence take over and achieve true automation while you become more strategic in your role.

Level 3: A/B Testing With Artificial Intelligence

Who You Are

Advanced Digital Marketer; Director of eCommerce or Email Marketing

Technology Involved

Artificial Intelligence Platform like Cortex by ReSci.

What It Looks Like

Superhuman 1:1 personalization and timing.

Imagine if you could take all of the data points you have about an individual user, and send them the perfect email that you know is most likely to convert.
o What if users weren’t segmented by just average order value or geography or if they abandoned their cart, but 100’s of those individual factors at once and cross checked with similarities of other users’ behavior patterns?
o What if you could stop sending predefined email sequences, and instead the next email the user got was the one most likely to get them to take a desired action?
0 What if every email you sent, that platform learned more about the user based on how they interacted with the email and adjusted its next move on the fly?

This is what Artificial Intelligence does. Once you turn it on, you will start seeing results that the best marketers can’t attain, and hardly any of the work. This means you can focus on other priorities or gaining new strategic skills.

Problems You May Face

Number of users and content.

So the more user data you have, the better marketing automation via artificial intelligence gets. The more users you have and the more active they are, the more accurate your predictions will be.
If Cortex knows that a particular email will convert better, it will ask you to produce that content. While we’ve seen people leave Cortex unattended for months and see still huge sustained increases in their bottom line, we suggest that you keep your content fresh so it can drive more results for you.

Results You Can Expect

In effect, the average person sees their conversions hit 4-5%, and in some cases up to 10% depending on variable factors. If you’re already world class, we’re seeing at minimum a 150% incremental gain in revenue.

How To Level Up

You’re at the top of the email marketing ladder. You’re driving results that are making a big impact on the overall business. Use the extra time Cortex gives you to focus on strategy or developing additional skills!