Email Testing – 3 Greatest Hits from WhichTestWon.com

This guest post is from Justin Rondeau, editor and evangelist for WhichTestWon.com.

We asked him to share three of his favorite email tests from his site’s research library. Take it away, Justin …

Optimizing your email campaigns is absolutely crucial and something that is made fairly easy by email service providers.

But one of the biggest brick walls I see marketers hit when they are testing is figuring out just what to test.

So I wanted to share the top three tests you could try TODAY on one of your email campaigns.

Following the logical order of how we approach an email campaign, what better place to start than the most common email test: subject lines.

1. Personalization Subject Line Test

Subject lines are one of the easiest tests you can run during your email campaign, but constructing worthwhile subject lines to test is significantly more difficult.

The A/B test I’m sharing today was a personalization subject line test. This is an incredibly simple test to run insofar as you have the personalized information and merge field capability. On top of being easy to construct, it also cuts down on subject line writing time, saving your copywriter from developing multiple subject lines to test.

Let’s look at the two versions:

Version A
Improve Deliverability in Two Simple Steps

Version B
Amanda, Improve Deliverability in Two Simple Steps

And the winner is …

Version B, the personalized version, increased opens by 5.13% and increased CTR by 17.36%.

Why? Personalization can be a gamble, it adds more characters to your subject line and studies have shown that too much personalization can be considered creepy or intrusive. But when personalization is executed well, it can significantly boost response rates.

This is a great test, not only in its design but how it was constructed. Whenever a content based newsletter goes out there is always a variation in email stats based on the actual content of the stories being shared. To counter this variable, AWeber conducted this test for three different email campaigns.

2. Body Content Test

The next thing a recipient will see after the subject line is obviously the body content. Here is an example of a really cool body content test we featured on WhichTestWon a few months back.

Did rich HTML (Version A) or text (Version B) increase sales for this company?



Version A


Version B

And the winner is …

Version B, the text heavy version, beat out the rich HTML version with a 303.8% increase in revenue and a 194.51% increase in traffic to the website.

Though the 10% offer remained the same, the text based version looked far more personal and had the luxury of not having to rely on images being turned on by the recipient. The vast majority of email recipients, especially in the B2B space, have images turned off by default rendering (no pun intended) your hero shot useless.

Lesson: Understand who is consuming your content and how they consume this content. This will help you develop a high impact email content test.

3. Email Landing Page Test

Once recipients open your email and then click through on the links, it’s crucial to have a landing page that will guide them to the final conversion.

Don’t just toss users onto your home page or category page. Create (and test) different email campaign landing pages that are consistent with the subject line and body content. Let’s look at a real example, from an ecommerce website.



Version A


Version B

And the winner is …

Version A, the variation that had a less prominent “Add-to-Cart” box and didn’t spell out the shipping cost for bottles increased sales by 5% and Revenue per Visitor (RPV) by 41%. Visitors to this landing page came from WineExpress.com’s “Wine of the Day” email broadcast sent to their in-house list.

Ecommerce marketers working on sites that have heavy items often see a drop off when shipping prices are revealed. This test hypothesized that adding the shipping costs upfront would help avoid sticker shock later in the process.

But being upfront with the customer did not increase sales as originally intended. Glenn Edelman, WineExpress VP of Ecommerce, said the drop in conversions may have been due to moving the Wine Tasting Video below the fold.

What do you think of these tests? Have you run similar ones? What issues and results have you encountered?

Let us know in the comments section!