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As small business owners and entrepreneurs, you should already be familiar with the concept of Email Marketing. In the past, we have shared what makes a good subject line, how to get quality leads, and how to find the right Email Service Provider (ESP). But today, we are going to dive a little deeper.

I recently talked about the fundamentals of A/B testing on the Pagemodo blog. Granted, I was speaking about Facebook posts, but the same concept of A/B testing can be best explained in this excerpt:

Pagemodo Blog - What is A/B Testing Excerpt

For email, it would mean splitting your email list, sending each group a different email creative (the control or test) and comparing the results – click-throughs, opens or purchases – to determine which your audience responds to best.

To get you started, here are five elements you can test in your emails:

1. Calls-To-Action. Having a call-to-action (CTA) is important for website conversions. So why would it be any different for email communications?

- Try changing up the phrasing (“Buy Now” vs. “Shop Now”)
- Try changing where you find the CTA within the email  (Is it above the fold or in the bottom right corner?)

The one with more clicks and conversions could reveal the sweet spot for your audience’s preferences.

2. Design. An intriguing message is great, but if people are not drawn in by the design, your quirky copy may be irrelevant.

- Try varying your color palette (staying true to your brand, of course)
- Try inserting GIFs, photos, or even videos

Just be sure to keep track of opens and clicks to know which of these elements are working in particular.

3. Subject lines. What good would your email be if nobody opened it? A good subject line is crucial, and there are many ways to test which type will spark a high open rate.

- Try phrasing your subject line as a question or incomplete sentence (This Just In…)
- Try including the percentage off in the sale or even special characters

Your options are endless – just so long as you steer clear of these spam-like words that could have your message wind up in your customers’ junk folders.

4. Time of Send. Be mindful of where your customers are located. If your email list is mostly local, you wouldn’t have a lot to worry about. But for more international companies, testing the time and day of send could be beneficial to your bottom line.

- Try testing which day and what time results in more opens (Does Monday at 9AM get more opens than Saturday at 9am? But, does Monday at 11AM do better than Monday at 9AM?)
- Try to factor in different time zones (Just because you are sending out at Monday, 9AM Eastern Standard Time doesn’t mean it is the same time for your Australian customers. Keep everybody in mind!)

Once you get an idea of what time produces the best results, your email campaigns can fall into a weekly habit.

BONUS: Not all emails are created equal.
Try mixing things up between your sale emails or blog updates to see how your audience reacts differently!

5. Audiences. Just like not all emails are equal, not all customers are equal. Different age groups, locations, genders, and types of buyers (did they buy a small rug or a large couch?) will interact with your emails in different ways.

- Try segmenting your audience by the groups mentioned above (age, gender, location, buyers)
- Try sending emails based on how customers have already interacted with your emails. (Send only to people who have opened or clicked in the past)

Segment your audience this way for more targeted messages and see how your engagement numbers could soar!

By the time you’ve completed these tests, you will have a clear idea of how to communicate with your audience most effectively. At which point, your job of creating emails will become that much easier! You know what drives opens, clicks and purchases, and can design around this knowledge base.

Because we all know, in the end, success comes from understanding your customers and fulfilling the demand of your product or service.

Just keep in mind these are just 5 of the hundreds of tests out there with many variations. So I leave you with this advice: always be testing for better targeting, understanding, and results.

Do you have testing ideas we left out? Share them with everyone in the comments section!

About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Webs’ Blog and Google+.

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