01May2012

99 Reasons for not testing

Testing is a proven way to optimize your emailmarketing efforts. Still a staggering percentage of email marketing campaigns are not being optimized at all (See chart). Leaving a lot of marketing effort not transferred to into effect. To help all the e-mailmarkeers out there get their optimization blood running and fight non-optimizers’ skepticism,This is the first part of our 99 reasons for not testing (and how to fight them).

1. We have been doing alright without testing

Metrics might have been satisfying, but are you getting the maximum results out of your email campaigns?  You can’t know if you can’t compare. So take your current campaign and test it against an alternative version.  Start optimizing and you’ll see you can do better!

2. We just had a redesign, you want to change it?

Redesign time is perfect for making improvements. The new design is fresh out of the garage and needs to go for a test-drive. A well tuned design will bring you closer to achieving those top-gear results. Ideally a design is made with optimization in mind. Talk it over with your designer and make your template ”optimization friendly”.

3. We will only use this email once, it’s no use testing.

But you still want great results from this emailing! Not all testing is about long-term optimization. Test the e-mailing with a part of the list and send the optimal version to the rest of the list. Presto:  an optimized emailing.

4. Our list is too small

Against popular belief, you can still optimize if your list is small. If you use less test variations the size per testgroup will increase. By testing for long-term results, you can use your whole list and use the optimal version for the next emailing. You could even optimize your word-of-mouth or tell-a-friend, increasing your list size in the process!

5. We tried optimization before, it didn’t work

Testing works, but when optimizing there is always a chance you will get non-conclusive results. You might not get that golden improvement nugget you are aiming for right away. Stick with it, the results will come. When testing is done right, you will have the info to evade the worst versions and make your emailing the best it can be.

6. We don’t have any budget to spend for testing

The entire budget spent in optimization is an investment. When you get better results, you will actually save money otherwise spent on getting those same results. Do the math and see how much of a lift in results would make your dream optimization affordable while maintaining that high ROI. We like to call it “investing in testing”.

7. Ok, but we actually don’t have any money at all

Optimization doesn’t have to be sacrificed, when you don’t have the out of pocket budget. There are a lot of simple tests you can do without spending your hard earned cash. For example subjectline and content-length tests are two easy to implement tests you can do without the dough.

8. We already test the emailings (rendering)

You are testing the email technically. That is a good idea, your email should work and look the same in every inbox.  However, that has nothing to do with optimizing your emailings for conversion. So next time your colleague says they are testing, ask them what the gain (increase in results) is. If he cannot answer, you aren’t optimizing yet.

9. It takes a lot of effort making different variations

You do not have to create a totally different email to test and optimize your emailings. It’s even better to change only one element at a time. That way you can pinpoint what changes actually improve the results. You can use your current e-mail design (control version) and vary on that. Also there are a lot of resources online to give you inspiration and best practices.

Did we forget anything?

There are still ninety reasons coming to you in the next couple of weeks. But please let us know what excuses for not testing you have heard! And remember, it is Testember!

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