This is essentially A/B or split testing on steroids.
A/B test or split test is basically coming up with 2 subject lines for an email message -- one is the original and the other is the variation.
You test each one against the other and see which has a higher open rate. Then you send the winner to the rest of the recipients.
Original -- send to 30% of random recipients
Variation -- send to another random 30%
Wait for a few hours or a day
Then send Winner to rest of recipients (40%)
The key here is the splitting of the recipients must be done RANDOMLY. That’s the whole purpose of a test. You can’t cherry pick the segment to be used for the original, for example, as that wouldn’t be a fair test.
Some time ago, I doubled my open rate just by doing an A/B test.
Here’s my Original subject line:
Dec Updates – including Split Test feature
And here’s the result:
Here’s my Variation subject line that I tested:
New feature – Split Test for maximum results
And here’s the result:
Just by changing the words around (takes 10 seconds max), I got twice as many people opening my emails.
57 opens VS 285 opens.
It’s actually 5X even though I only got double the open rate! How come? I’ll tell you more in just a bit.
If this was sent to a larger audience, the difference would be bigger.
Imagine if you were sending a “last day special offer” email.
If you’re not doing any split testing… you could have, say, 3000 people opening and reading your email.
If you’re doing split testing (takes 10 seconds), you could have as much as 6000 people reading your email instead.
You’d get much more sales!
How to implement this
Go to your email marketing tool and activate the A/B or split test feature. If you don’t know how, check their docs.
I use BirdSend, so I’m going to show you how I did it in BirdSend:
Then activate the “Automatic Winner” feature:
By doing this you don’t “waste” traffic. In this example, you’re sending your higher performing email to 70% (30% + 40%) of the traffic.
Remember the 57 opens VS 285 opens above?
It’s actually 5X even though you only got double the open rate!
This is because when a winner is found (the one with double the email open rate), it’s sent to the rest of the email recipients (40%).
So this batch of 40% receives the better performing subject line… further boosting the performance of your email.
Hence even though it’s double the open rate… the actual number of opens more than just doubled. In this case, it’s 5X!
Use “steroids” to further maximize your results
Resend the winning email to recipients who didn’t open the email with the losing subject line.
Let that sink in for a second.
Resend winning email to recipients who didn’t open the email with the losing subject line.
Result = even more people opening your emails.
However, implementing this is not easy. You might not even be able to because at the time of this writing, AFAIK the only email tool that can do this is -- ehm ehm BirdSend.
(if you find another tool that can do this, please let me know)
In BirdSend, again, I just tick a checkbox to activate this feature:
This is what I call “the beggar squeeze”. It’s like we’re a beggar and even a teeny-weeny drop of water is valuable to us. And BirdSend lets you do that… squeezing every ounce of juice from your hard work and sweat.
You shouldn’t be the one having to “analyze” whether the control or variation is better or even do stupid (and time-consuming) things like…
- Split your recipients into 3 groups manually
- Then create a broadcast to send control to group #1
- Then create a second broadcast to send variation to group #2
- Wait for a few hours/days, then come back into your account and MANUALLY check which one is performing better
- Create another broadcast to send the winner to group #3
Seriously, I’ve seen help docs from email tools (that claim they support split testing) that ask you to do the above.
And even if you’re patient enough to do the above steps… how do you split the recipients into 3 groups RANDOMLY — which is the whole basis of a test? You can’t because your subscribers are basically grouped either by tags or lists.
If you send the Control to those tagged with X and the Variation to those tagged with Y — that’s not really testing as there’s no randomness.
Next time you send an email to your subscribers, make sure to spend 10 seconds to come up with another subject line and run a split test on steroids.
If your email tool doesn’t let you do this quickly in 1 or 2 clicks, you’re wasting precious time and energy. In BirdSend, you can easily do this in 1 click.
Don’t believe it?