This Subject Line Split Test Increased Website Traffic by 83%
Find out what subject line tweak nearly doubled website traffic for Light Stalking, an online photography community.
By Liz Willits October 16, 2018
You can set up an email split test in 1 minute that could nearly double your click-through rates and website traffic.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Because that’s exactly what happened when Light Stalking, a photography sharing community, split test their subject lines. In this post, discover the simple change that increased their website traffic from an email by 83%.
The subject line split test
Every weekend, Light Stalking hosts a photography challenge around a particular theme. People can post a photograph that aligns with the theme and share their feedback on other’s photos.
Rob Wood, the founder of Light Stalking, relies on email to drive traffic to these weekend challenges. That’s why Wood decided to run an email split test on the subject line of his recent weekly challenge email, which asked people to submit a photo of a silhouette. “I was trying to get more opens, more reads, and potentially more traffic,” he said.
For his split test, he created two emails in AWeber. Each message used the same email content but with different subject lines. Wood wanted to find out whether a short subject line that mentioned the topic of the challenge would win against a subject line that was longer and announced that the next weekly challenge was live.
For email 1, Wood used a descriptive, straightforward subject line: “Weekly Challenge is Live!”
For email 2, he wrote a short subject line that hinted at the topic of the challenge: “Silhouettes.”
Wood set up his split test so that 5% of the subscribers on his email list received email 1. And 5% of his subscribers received email 2. He waited a day to see which email performed better. Then, he sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his subscribers.
Wood hoped this would maximize his engagement.
Pro tip: In AWeber, you can customize what percentage of your list receives each email in your split test. You can also test up to 3 emails at a time! (Want to try AWeber’s split test feature? Create a free trial account now.)
The split test results
The subject line “Silhouettes” won! It got 10% more opens than the email with the subject line “Weekly Challenge is Live!” It also earned an 83% higher click-through rate. This drove nearly double the number of website visitors compared to the email with a longer, more descriptive subject line.
When Wood sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his email list, he was able to get an above average click-through rate. This drove more people to the Light Stalking community and increased forum engagement.
“This split testing feature is great. It will have a noticeable impact on traffic to my site from newsletters,” Wood said.
Boosting your open rates by even a small amount can have a huge impact on your click-through rates and website traffic. To see how your own subscribers respond, try testing a short subject line that’s less descriptive against a longer, more descriptive subject line.
Not sure how to set up your own email split test? Download our free guide to email split tests. You’ll learn everything you need to know to run successful split tests.