Posts Tagged ‘Email testing’
Posted by Jay Mooney on May 7th, 2013
In our last post we covered some tried-and-true kickstarters for a testing roadmap. Let’s jump into the next level and ask the tough questions about your testing plan.
Is that the right offer?
I’m not asking you if you are setting up the offer correctly in the subject line — that’s more of a basic email 101 test. But, have you looked at your offer and analyzed to see if you are really getting customers moving? You know what I am going to say…Test it!
• Free Shipping vs. % Discount
• Free Shipping vs. Free Bonus Product
• 20% Discount vs. $10 off your purchase this week.
Develop a grid of offers for your company, then test each of them. See which one drives the results you need to maximize the response, the revenue, and the profit you are looking for.
Earlier this year, John Joseph wrote about the benefits of targeted messaging and increasing relevancy through segmenting customer data. These tactics are vital to improving the performance of an email marketing program. However, what additional information can you learn from observing your audience and their interaction with email?
Here is one idea:
Let’s start with the time of day.
Example: You have identified that you’ve optimized your open and click-throughs by sending at 11:35 a.m. (Let’s assume 65% open between Noon and 5:00 p.m.)
Great! You already know that a larger part of your audience is opening their email during the day, most likely while they are at work. Everyone else is checking email at home after they walk the dog or eat dinner, and now you hope they scroll through to the bottom of their inbox to find all the buried messages. So, would you get an even higher overall result if you split your list into an a.m. and p.m. deployment? Test it.
Take a standard send that you do routinely, and capture your open rate and click-through rate. Then pull your open data and split your audience into an early send and a late send. Your a.m. email surfers will find your email close to the top before they go to lunch, and your p.m. audience will find your email at the top when they get home or when they’re opening up an iPad on the commuter train.
Now combine the open and click-through data for both sends of this single message to determine if you really do have two distinct audiences, compared to the single send. You can add this as an attribute to your email list so that it easier to split your list and schedule sends based on this behavior.
Posted by Jay Mooney on March 29th, 2013
In past articles we have touched upon email testing as a topic. But here are the big questions:
- Are you testing?
- Is what you are testing important?
- Are you testing often enough?
If you are not testing as part of your email marketing program, starting now is virtually guaranteed to boost performance. We get questions from our clients regularly about what is the best subject line, what day of the week or time of day is best to send email, etc. By testing effectively, your audience can provide the data needed to answer those questions.
Tip 1: Get going and set up a testing calendar!
Let’s put aside some of the basic testing variables mentioned above. What is important to driving real results for your email program? Sure you have to major in the minors first, but let’s not stop there.
Spring is here, let’s change the scenery. Changing up the design or layout of your email can lend a boost to your response rates. You may be in love with your email design, but have you determined if it is optimized to drive the response you are looking for?
Here are a few things to consider:
Where is your call to action? Make sure you have clear links visible when your email is being previewed with images off and place the primary call to action or promotional button towards the top of your message so that it does not get lost in a preview frame. Where do you place that button? Test.
Single column? Two-column left? Two-column right? Determine what layout is best for customers to digest your email. The answer may not be the same for all communications. Determine what works best for promoting an offer or webinar invite, and then determine what increases click-through rates in your newsletter.
Text and images or HTML? Without a doubt your branding is important to your organization, but don’t sacrifice sales for a pretty picture. Finding the right balance between text and images is important. Most email clients don’t automatically enable images. Help your customers get your message without seeing the picture and try simplifying your design palate.
Completely at a loss as far as where to start? We can help. Ask about the EmailCOMPASS, a comprehensive, unbiased assessment of your email campaigns from our experts.
If you are not sure how to use the email testing tools in the SubscriberMail platform we can show you how! Just email us or give us a call.
In my next post we will talk about testing your offer and your audience.
Posted by Nic Winters on February 13th, 2013
A question we often field from new clients is what day of the week or what time of day is best for email deployments. We always respond letting our clients know that the best day/time combination for one organization is not always the best for other organizations, and it really comes down to testing different sending times to see what works best for your specific audience. Another key point that we typically share is that if there were a universal best day/time to send email – once it was identified it would quickly become the worst time as marketers everywhere would attempt to deploy their emails accordingly, causing your message to be lost in a flood of email at that time.
There are list management and reporting tools within SubscriberMail that allow clients to split their lists and then compare results of sent campaigns.
We have had clients determine the best day/time combination for their audience by first splitting their list into smaller segments and then scheduling email campaigns at selected days and times. Once the campaigns have deployed, they evaluated the results using our Compare Daily/Hourly Details report – which lays out the resulting opens and clicks in an hour-by-hour or day-by-day chart so that you can analyze the data and determine not only which email received the greatest response, but also when the most opens and clicks occurred.
Interested in completing your own similar tests? Contact the Harland Clarke Digital Client Support team for more details!
Posted by Dave McCue on March 14th, 2012
What is your initial reaction to this stock photo?
- I trust him, he’s confident
- I don’t trust him, he’s arrogant
- Someone should punch him
Cast your vote
The Stock Photography Conundrum
Almost anyone who works in design or marketing has faced the challenge of selecting effective stock photography to use as part of print or online materials. On occasion, it is possible to find the perfect image to complement your message, but all too often the result is a cliché or simply doesn’t add much value.
For marketers who don’t have a tangible product, this can be a real challenge. How do you graphically represent “consulting services” without resorting to one of the usual “business people conducting business” images that are out there?
One strategy to avoid the same old is to be less literal with the images. Rather than showing pretend business people pretending to consult, look for an image that conveys the transfer of creativity, such as a paintbrush against a canvas. It’s difficult to make definitive statements around this topic because the audience of different verticals (or even different brands within the same vertical) can be very different in the way they interact with content, but it can be safely said that you’re missing an opportunity when the same stock image used to convey the value of your services is being used by another company offering the same services.
Adding Value to Emails
The limited real estate of an email message is no place for extraneous images. One of the most important benefits that images provide is a higher degree of scanability when it comes to email messages. Often, they can be used to separate unrelated elements of a message (product promotions, upcoming events, latest news) to make it clear to the reader/scanner that there is something else to see if they aren’t immediately drawn in by the first lines of text. Even in these instances where the images serve as a component of message layout, they should be carefully considered.
Ideas for Testing
Searching around the web can turn up various studies related to web users’ response to different types of images. As noted above, however, such findings are not necessarily relevant to your business or your audience. Instead, use these ideas to guide a test (or series of tests) on your emails, landing pages, etc. Do your emails drive more clicks with stock photography, custom graphics, or no graphics at all? What impact do different images have on your landing page, and are you seeing an effect on conversion rate? Lastly, ask colleagues or (preferably) people outside of your organization how they feel about the stock images you plan to use, and take their feedback to heart. You might find that “young-businessman.jpg” doesn’t just sound generic, but he rings hollow with message recipients as well.
Posted by admin on January 23rd, 2012
Reaching your Gmail subscriber’s inbox is critical. Even more important is that your message renders the way you want it to. All of it! If your HTML is more than 102 kilobytes, your email may be cut off by Gmail in mid-sentence. As an email marketer you may focus on the top half of your message, but at the bottom of your message are the tracking image used to record Opens/Renders and the unsubscribe link you need to be CAN-SPAM compliant.
Gmail will automatically clip a message if the total size exceeds 102 kilobytes. Users will see a [Message Clipped] View Entire Message link in order to download the rest of your message (see screenshot below). In Gmail’s smart phone and tablet apps, the same rules generally apply.
To fix this situation, keep your HTML code short by removing extra returns, comments and unnecessary attributes and styles. Applications like Outlook and Apple Mail will show you the size of your message if you’re looking for ways to test. You can also check your file size from an original HTML text file.
Aside from the HTML code, it is also recommended that you save your images in an optimized format. Recipients should not have to wait for the images to render on their desktop or smart phone.
Continue to test how your messages render. It is critical that your message renders properly in Gmail to avoid losing the unsubscribe link, tracking image for Opens/Renders , and any content that is displayed after 102 kilobytes.