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A/B testing for email signature marketing

31 August 2021

A/B testing is vital for the success of any marketing campaign.

And that includes email signature marketing.

A/B testing is quick, easy, and will improve your metrics no end.

In fact:

It’s the only way to categorically prove what will work with your target audience and what won’t.

Armed with this knowledge, your email signature marketing game will be unstoppable.

You can be certain that your email signature is always optimised for best results. And that it will resonate with your recipients.

Yet despite all this:

Many marketers shy away from A/B testing. Namely, because they don’t know where to start or how to achieve the best results.

And that’s why we’re here!

So let’s dive in...

What is A/B testing for email signature marketing?

A/B testing, or split testing, is simply a way of comparing 2 different things.

So, when it refers to email signature marketing:

It means measuring the efficacy of two different versions of your email signature, in order to determine which you should use.

All you need to do is:

Curate two versions of your email signature, one of which has been adapted very slightly.

You will then send both of them to a different sample section of your subscriber list to see which one recipients prefer.

Whichever version performs better (depending on your chosen metric) can then be sent out to the remainder of your email list.

And hey presto!

That’s all there is to it.

The 6 stages of email signature A/B testing

There are 6 simple stages to A/B testing for email signature marketing.

1 - Decide which variable you want to test

First things first:

You need to decide on the variable you’re going to focus on.

The one you choose will depend on which metric you’re looking to improve in your email signature marketing campaigns.

For example:

If you want to boost your clickthrough rate, why not A/B test the CTA in your email signature to see if its design, placement or wording can be improved?

2 - Create your 2 versions

Next up, you need to create 2 versions of your email signature.

These should be identical apart from the aforementioned variable.

So, if we’re continuing with our example above:

Perhaps you could create one email signature with your CTA in monochrome, and the other in a bright colour.

3 - Determine your sample groups

Now decide the sample groups you’re going to use to conduct your A/B test.

This will depend on the number of subscribers you have on your email list.

If you have over 100 email subscribers, we suggest adopting the 80/20 rule. This is also known as the Pareto principle.

In a nutshell:

This means sending version A of your email signature to 10% of your list, and version B to another 10%.

Whichever performs best will then be sent to the remaining 80%.

However:

If your subscriber list is smaller, it’s wise to test around 80% of your subscribers and send your highest-performing signature to the remaining 20%.

This is to ensure you have enough B2B data for the results to be meaningful.

4 - Wait for your chosen timing window

Now it’s time to sit back and relax while the results come in.

When determining how long to wait, it’s important to remember:

You’ll need to leave a significant amount of time for optimal results.

Each company and every campaign will have unique considerations so it’s impossible to suggest a one-size-fits-all timing window for this.

But the bottom line is:

You want to wait long enough to be sure that your results are genuine, rather than a fluke.

But not so long that the content of your email campaign is no longer relevant. Or that it’s then sent out to subscribers at a bad time, such as a weekend.

5 - Examine your results

The wait is over. The results are in. How exciting!

You now need to analyse the data in order for it to be useful.

The way you do this will depend on which variable you’re testing, and what metric you’re hoping to improve.

The facts and figures in front of you can inform not just your current campaign, but future ones too.

6 - Send out the winning version

Whichever version performed better (according to your chosen metrics) can now be sent out to the remainder of your email list.

Bob’s your uncle, you’re done!

And do you want to know the best bit?

You can now know with certainty that the email signature you’ve sent out is statistically proven to engage your target audience.

Best practices for A/B testing in email signature marketing

Now for our top 3 tips when it comes to A/B testing for email signature marketing.

Listen up!

Test only one variable at a time

This is crucial. In fact:

It’s the only way to be 100% sure that your results are accurate.

If your 2 email signatures differ in only one distinct way, you can be sure what it is that influenced the results.

However:

If you change more than one, your results will get muddled and it will be impossible to tell what’s what.

But what if there are multiple variables I want to investigate, I hear you ask?

Easy.

Simply A/B test them one at a time.

Keep testing

And on that note:

A/B testing is not a one-off event. Think of it more as an ongoing process.

There will always be variables you can test and more information you can garner.

Not only this:

Things will change and evolve with time. Just as your company and subscriber list evolves too.

So you’ve got to keep on testing!

Start small

And lastly:

Don’t feel daunted by the prospect of A/B testing.

You can start really small and go from there.

Over time, you’ll come to understand more about your email subscribers and what they respond to.

And then you can fine-tune your efforts and build up your A/B testing strategies.

But for now, as Mark Twain said:

‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started.’


Hopefully, this has proved to you how easy, effective and essential A/B testing is for email signature marketing.

All that remains for us to do now is to wish you godspeed on your email signature A/B testing journey!

And if you want more content on email signature marketing:

There’s heaps more here.

Read More

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