It's a great CliffsNotes introduction to e-mail marketing (only 55 pages total) that can help online marketing newbies quickly get up to speed.
While the whole guide is very helpful, the section on e-mail testing stands out. It covers the real-world thought process of anyone who's thinking about testing her e-mail program's effectiveness while providing a simple road map to follow.
I've excerpted the section because I think it outlines testing scenarios in the way people really think (or should be thinking) about testing.
Hand out this checklist next time you go into a meeting to discuss how to improve your e-mail marketing performance. It will help you guide the discussions more productively -- and probably hit upon the most profitable areas to test.
Step 1: Ask a Question
Start the testing process by asking a question. What are you hoping for? Determine a specific goal to accomplish rather than attempt multiple goals with one blanket approach. A series of small steps can be easy to test and analyze:
Step 2: Form a Theory
Use your marketing experience and best practice knowledge to determine what aspects may make a difference in achieving the goal you've defined.
Step 3: Create the Test
Set up your test, following best practices. Remember, you don't need to prove the obvious.
To optimize opens, I am going to test (one per test):
To optimize click-throughs, I'm going to test (one per test):
To optimize conversions, I'm going to test (one per test):
Step 4: Segment the List
Choose the best list or segment to test, and split it (for that specific test):
Step 5: Measure and Analyze Results
Measure and analyze results to gain insight and prove or disprove theory. Accurately compile stats (to conversions). What does it all mean? Look beyond the numbers. Even small percentage differences can mean large gains in response rates:
Step 6: Make Changes
Commit to making at least one change in each campaign.
Let me know how this checklist works for you. You can be sure I'm passing it along to my clients.
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.
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Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.