Selling by e-mail campaign via optimised A/B split testing


An e-mail campaign can only work sustainably if the success is also tested. For this purpose, so-called A/B split testing is suitable. Even before creating the e-mail campaign, it is important to keep an eye on a few things and to test the success. How this works will be described hereinafter.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is an uncomplicated method to compare the changes to a website in order to determine a current version. It is also used to test a specific action, such as the success of a mailing campaign. Thereby it is possible to optimally design the content of a mailing before it is sent.
How can e-mail campaigns be optimised?
By means of this method, companies know in advance whether changing the subject line will lead to a better click or opening rate. By using A/B testing, it is also possible to check two versions of the mailing at the same time and, with the help of the test results, to determine which mailing version now works better. Only continuous testing leads to more customers and more purchases, as well as delivering valuable information regarding the usage pattern of mailing addressees.

Functionality of A/B testing

A/B testing tests two mailing actions:
The A version for monitoring
The B version as alternative

As such, which of the two versions then features a higher conversion rate is measured. For a company which sells products, the main objective is to increase the sales success.
The first and most important test for a successful marketing campaign always concerns an optimisation of the e-mail opening rate. Thereby, the subject line must be verified first. With a subset of 5 to 10 percent of the purchased e-mail list, the same content is sent with two different subject lines. The subject line with the highest opening rate is then reused – whoever wants to be absolutely certain, compares it with three further subject lines. The goal is to achieve an opening rate of at least 15 percent.

Take this into consideration

For instance, whoever wants to send a newsletter should not do so for less than 50,000 recipients, since below this number it is hardly worth sending. For A/B split testing, a random quantity of testing is chosen, such as ten percent. The first version of the subject line is then sent to five percent (1,250) of them, and the second version to the remaining five percent. After one day, it should be determined which subject line led to the highest opening and clicking rate. Afterwards, the remaining 22,500 e-mails are sent with the corresponding subject line. Since ten percent of the recipients of the test newsletter do not know about the testing, the result is relatively significant. For they behave exactly as they normally would. Therefore, such a random sample also counts as representative.

The text body of the random sample, as well as of the original e-mail, should always be brief and to the point. Never reveal too much information and always test different lengths as well. Even time also has repercussions on the response rate. Experts recommend sending e-mails on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:00 am or in the afternoons between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, in order to reach people who are at work as well. On the other hand, other marketing professionals say that the ideal time is at the weekend, since competitors do not usually send any then and therefore the mailing campaign attracts more attention.

Good testing figures look as follows:
Opening rate: 3 to 15 %
Click rate (after opening): 5 to 30 %


It cannot work to simply purchase 1,000 e-mail addresses and then to expect that 1,500 customers react to the e-mail (sind die verschiedene Zahlen auch richtig?). The response rate lies at a fraction of the number of sent e-mails and, of all those customers in turn, only a small percentage actually purchases the advertised product.

Frank Große

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