6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Split tests take the guesswork out of email marketing. With the data from split tests, you can easily find out what content your subscribers prefer and send messages that get more opens, clicks, and sales.

(AWeber just released a new split testing feature that allows you to test more than just your subject lines — like send times, copy, templates, buttons, and more! Try it out today for FREE.)

Too often, people focus almost exclusively on subject line split testing. They optimize their subject lines and boost open rates. However, they rarely split test the content inside their emails.

This is a big mistake. After all, a high open rate doesn’t matter if subscribers don’t read the content inside your email and take action.

There are simple email content split tests that can have a big impact, like these 6 easy split tests.

1. Headline vs. no headline

Does having a bold and colorful headline at the top of your email content grab your subscribers’ attention and keep them reading?

To find out,  send two emails — one with a eye-catching headline and one without a headline.

For example, let’s say you’re a fitness blogger, and you’re sending an email about the five stretches you recommend before a workout. You could run a split test with one email variant that has no headline and one email variant with a headline at the top of the email content that says, “5 pre-workout stretches to prevent injuries.”

Pro tip: Like the email template from the example above? It’s called Wane Light and you can find it in your AWeber account. (Don’t have AWeber? Try it out free for 30 days.)

2. Personal salutation vs. no salutation

Do your subscribers like to feel that your emails were written specifically for them? Run a split test to find out!

Try using their first name in the salutation of your email (for example, “Dear John,” “Hi John,” “How’s it going, John,” etc.) and see if you get a higher click-through rate. You can also incorporate someone’s name at the end of a sentence or in another natural (yet unexpected!) place in your email.

Pro tip: If you have an AWeber account, you can easily add a first name to your email subject line or content to personalize your messages.

3. Images vs. no images

Are your subscribers visual people that like images in their emails? Or, do images distract them from your content and call-to-action?

Create a split test where one email variant has an image and the other does not. Compare the results of your test and find out which your audience prefers.

(Is your small business or nonprofit making an impact beyond the inbox? Want to make an even bigger impact? Enter The Small Business, Big Impact Award and you could win $20,000 from AWeber to do just that!)

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

4. Long content vs. short content

Perhaps your subscribers like short emails that get straight to the point. Or, maybe they need more information before they’re ready to make a decision.

Find out with a split test that compares two email copy variants:

  1. a lengthy email that describes all the details of your offer
  2. a short and easily digestible email that summarizes the same information

5. P.S. vs. no P.S.

Since subscribers often skim emails, including a  P.S. at the end of your emails can be an effective way to boost your click-through rates. A subscriber might glance over your content, but carefully read the P.S.

To see if this is true of your subscribers, send your first email variant without a P.S. and your second email variant with a P.S. at the bottom of your content.

6. Call-to-action button vs. hyperlinked text

Are your subscribers more likely to click on a button or hyperlinked text? If you don’t know, a split test is a great way to find out! After all, if your call to action (CTA) isn’t optimized, you’re missing out on valuable clicks.

Try two variations of an email — one with a button as a CTA and the other with hyperlinked text as a CTA. Just make sure to use identical text for both calls to action.

Related: Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails (and 4 Best Practices to Get Started!)

Start split testing

Now that you have a few tests to start with, you can begin improving your emails and your bottom line.

Ready to discover even more tests you can use to optimize your email marketing strategy?

Check out our free Minimalist Marketer’s Guide to Split Testing to learn everything you need to know to become a split testing master.

Minimalist Marketer's Guide to Split Testing

6 Comments

  1. Justin

    9/25/2018 10:25 pm

    Thank you but the issue is HOW. Not what.

    Split testing should work like this:

    1. Choose two variants
    2. Send to 10% (or whatever will make it statistically significant) of all subscribers in each of lists included in the broadcast.
    3. Then we can choose the winning variation to send to the rest.

    Ideally it should do #2 and #3 on its own.

    We have hundreds of thousands of subscribers with aweber. Dozens of lists.

    What’s the best way to split test at this moment?

  2. Liz Willits

    11/2/2018 2:30 pm

    Hi Justin,

    You can choose two variants in AWeber and send to 10%. Then, you select the winner and send the winning email to the remaining 90%. Here’s a knowledge base article that explains how to do it in AWeber: https://help.aweber.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009124213-How-do-I-create-a-split-test-

    And here’s an article that explains how to send the winning email to the remaining part of your list: https://help.aweber.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009173813-How-to-I-determine-a-winner-for-my-Split-Test-

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Liz

  3. Fresh

    9/27/2018 4:32 pm

    Interesting points here Liz!

    My observations with point #2 – Personal salutation vs. No salutation is that should your subscriber mistype their name and you keep reminding them of this in each automated email, that wont go down to well will it? Also if a false or made up name ie MickeyMouse or JustDoIt or DontBotherMeAgain as examples is their chosen ‘name’ well…

    In my experience, a “hiya” or “howdy my fellow sewing buddy” or “Hi again It’s me {insert my name}” is more neutral and welcoming than the scenarios I gave above which would show that your emails are not as sincere as you’d like no matter how good the content or images.

  4. Liz Willits

    10/17/2018 4:15 pm

    Thank you! And great observations. Thank you for sharing.

    Liz

  5. Matt Thorpe

    10/3/2018 1:43 pm

    Thanks Liz, great post.
    I would also like to add 3 more in there:

    1. Personalisation in the subject line vs no name
    2. The colour of the button
    3. Multiple CTAs (buttons/links)

    – Personalised subject lines can really encourage opens. It also shows some thought has gone into the email.

    – Button colours can move the needly massively. There a lot of research out there to show red is in fact, a very good colour for buttons.

    – The same with multiple links within an email. Some could be text links and others could be buttons.

    There is no right or wrong way but testing with science will certainly help to get the best results. But, that doesn’t mean the same results work every time. Test, test and test, every time.

    These are the small wins that most ecommerce stores miss out on, especially during holiday season. They are so focused on rushing out the door that they forget about value to the customer and optimisation techniques.

    An extra 7% open rate or 3% click thru rate can make a huge difference.

    Build the time into your schedule and focus on the quality rather than speed.

  6. Liz Willits

    10/17/2018 4:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Matt! These are great.