A/B Testing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Every aspect of life evolves and develops. The same developmental principle applies to technology and email marketing. That said, the fundamentals of best practices for email marketing campaigns has drastically changed over the past few years. 

If your business is still sending out the same offer, newsletter content, or if the design or formatting looks the same as it did years ago, it’s time for change. 

Let’s explore what makes an effective email marketing campaign and how the header copy alone can make or break a sale. 

A/B Testing for Subject Headers

 A/B split tests are absolutely necessary for developing a solid email marketing strategy. They help you discover what resonates with your audience by sending two identical emails with one variable that is different. The variable could be design, copywriting, time sent, the title, or even the day you sent the email campaign. 

A/B testing is not solely for those that must update their antiquated email strategies. It’s also great for business owners, designers and marketers that are looking to keep up with new trends.

Making minor changes to subject lines, call-to-action buttons, color scheme and design could drastically improve conversions.

Beginner’s Guide: Email Marketing & A/B Testing

If you’ve never attempted to A/B test your marketing emails, follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to get started with tracking and converting:

Step 1: Test only one hypothesis. 

In order to garnish the appropriate information or desired result from a test, you must remember to keep it simple. Test only one aspect of an email campaign at a time. Is your heard dull? Does your call-to-action not evoke emotion? 

In terms of email marketing copy, there are some key psychological differences that contribute to whether or not a user is more likely to select a button that reads, “Watch Webinar” or “View Presentation & Slides”.

What was your gut reaction?

Personally, I got bored just writing out “Presentation and Slides”; however, this was the result that gathered 49.6% more engagement than simply, “Watch Webinar”. 

So, where do you start with your business?

Even before you come up with a valid hypothesis, you’ll likely need to do some research.

Decide which component of your subject line you want to test. 

Character length is an optimal variable. 

Would “Click for Free Dog Food” work better than “Free Organic Dog Food Samples”? 

If subject headers with 1-20 characters produce the most opens, you should explore that further by tracking whether an email header with 11-20 characters might produce even more opens.

There’s your variation.

If you’re curious about design, time of day, imagery or content, take it slow. Map out an email marketing strategy specifically for the analysis of your elements. 

Always be sure to test one hypothesis at a time. You can’t effectively test a hypothesis with multiple variables. 

Step 2: Set up your A/B tests

Once you’ve established the various email marketing hypotheses, it’s time to test. 


It’s truly dependent upon your email marketing provider. And keep in mind, not all are made equal. 

Mailchimp, Hubspot and Constant Contact all have robust A/B testing features. 

For Mailchimp, simply log in, then select “Campaigns”. 

The left Dashboard will direct you to a new menu, including “Create Campaign”. That dropdown will allow you to select the A/B Split Campaign option. 

Then, of course, you decide what to test. It could be the time an email is sent, email copywriting, email design or simply a call-to-action. 

Users can easily test their hypothesis and decide which email marketing campaign proves most effective with a series of A/B tests.

Each component contributes to the psychological predisposition and behavior of your audience. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to predict, monitor and plan accordingly. As writers, we can help hypothesize, strategize and test. 

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