Does your future ESP have split testing magic?

Split Testing. You know you should be doing it all the time, but how often is it actually done? Chances are, that all depends on how easy it is to actually set up and run a split test.

ESPs have very different levels of functionality in this field, so finding one which fits your requirements is important before making a choice for any ESP.

Is there a split testing wizard integrated in the system?

Of course, anybody can set up a split test without the need for a specialist system. Just select random groups of recipients from your database, set up your mailing variants to run at exactly the same time, and watch the results come in. Then go back and compare results and roll out the winner.

However, there are certainly easier ways of doing things. Some ESPs have a split testing wizard designed to help you set up and run split tests, automating much of the process for you. Often such a seemingly simple function can make a big difference, especially if it means getting a green light on your testing.

How does split testing functionality work?

Split testing wizards are supposed to take the guess work out of testing your campaigns. It should be easy to test with either an HTML creative which you already have or by customising a template that is available to use within your ESP.

Once you have all of the variables set up and ready to test, a split testing wizard should be able to divide your user list for you, send a set volume or percentage of mail to each group, collect your results in once place, and after a set amount of hours (if you so wish) auto deploy your winning campaign to the remainder of your list.

An example
For instance, let’s say that you have 5 different subject lines which you would like to test. Using a wizard all you’ll have to is load your creative and tell the system which variable you would like to test, in this case subject lines. Once you’ve chosen your user list you will need to select which proportion of it to send the test to.

Sending each subject line to 10% of your list will leave you with 50% to deploy the winner to. The system will then run, splitting the first half of your list between your 5 subject lines. All that’s left for you to do is sit back with a cup of tea and watch the results come in. Then, after a set period of time the mail with winning subject line will automatically be sent to the second half of your list. Now wasn’t that easy!

How far can you measure the results? What can you test?

Of course, the most important things for marketers to see are the results. They allow us to make informed decisions designed to increase engagement and (hopefully) email marketing ROI.

This makes it crucial that you can test a wide range of variables within your ESP. From subject lines and product images to from names and copywriting – each will have varying importance for different companies.

For instance, if you send emails for just one brand then testing the importance of different from names might be less relevant for you than it is for agencies. Likewise the ability to test the response to different product images could be more important to retail brands than it would be for business to business senders.

The next step

But don’t think that the work stops there! Email campaigns are a continually evolving art form that require revisiting from time to time to ensure that the results are still valid. If you tested on a Monday before, try again on a Wednesday next time. Or how about investigating the difference you can see in results between testing at 8 AM and 3 PM?

Every marketer knows the importance that testing can have to their business – the trouble is that most people don’t know how easy it can be. Choosing an ESP with an integrated split testing wizard can help you watch your marketing time fall and your revenue increase, meaning that you can get on with doing the next job on your list!

About Lisa Coombes

Lisa Coombes is an Account Manager for Variant4 and has worked in digital marketing since leaving university, where she gained a degree in Psychology. With a proven background in social media, her current role sees her advising clients on how to best succeed with their email marketing.

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