21Aug2012

Why not to start testing email

One of the hardest things when starting something is.... getting started. Last time we spoke about the first nine more reasons not to optimize your emailings. We received some more stories of people who never really got started with their optimization in the first place. So without further ado here are nine reasons why some e-mailmarketeers have not started testing and why those are bogus.

See reasons 1-9 here

10. I am not motivated to start testing

If you are not excited about optimizing your emailings, make it more fun. Try to predict which test will win and place your bets. Also iconic pictures (of collegues) and witty testversions can spice it up a lot. But in the end it is all about achieving results. Getting better results should be exciting enough. Also try and start with a few small tasks concerning the first test: Make a list of possible subjectlines, look up your list size and determine your testgroups, etc. Finishing those small tasks will get you in a positive state of mind and you will be testing in no time.

11. Each month the content is different, so why test?

The content is just one of the things you might want to optimize. As content may differ, the presentation of your message and using different types of information are worth testing. Even the sorting-order of content-items can have a big impact on the end of the line results.

12. We need to change the website first

Although a great website will definitely support your email marketing success, it’s no reason to procrastinate email optimization.  Next to long-term optimization goals, it already pays to optimize your emailings by itself. It will also help you get a better understanding of what works with your audience. Alternatively you can also make seperate landingpages or use a webservice like unbounce to do so.

13. We don’t know what to optimize (first)

There are many elements of an email you can optimize. Think about design, text-length, offers, Call-to-actions etc. A great place to start is subjectline optimization, easy to implement and a nice way to get some experience testing. After that,  try and think what your biggest wins could be. Different offers? text length? And work your way from big changes back to small ones.

14. The management will never agree to testing

Wait a minute, management doesn’t want you to do a better job? Office politics sometimes are a bigger challenge then actually optimizing your marketing. Offer them to start testing as a pilot and show them the increased results. Or start off with a kick ass presentation. For more tactics on convincing the management, read Anne Holland’s Office Politics and budgeting battles (pdf).

15. We have other priorities than optimizing

Everything worth doing, is worth doing well. If your email program is a serious part of your marketing (which it should be), give it the attention it needs. Optimization can have a serious impact on your email marketing efforts. The good thing with priorities is, they can change. So make emailmarketing optimization a top-priority.

16. Lets first analyze the results of the last 5 years

Looking back every now and then is a good thing, but the results from the old days are probably not so representative anymore. Also you are trying to optimize your emailings today, so the most reliable benchmark is your current emailing. Go get a feel of your average statistics and trends, but don’t overdo it to procrastinate the testing.

17. We don’t have any experience with testing

Then it´s a great opportunity to gain experience by doing. It is always possible to hire some experienced emailmarketeers to help you get started. Or just ask some questions to the emailmarketing experts online.

18. I already use best practices, we don’t need to test

Best practices can give you a good place to start, but use them as a rough guideline or starting point.  And note, there is no ‘holy grail’ of emailmarketing. What works for someone else might not work for you. That is why testing and optimizing your emails is a best practice :)

More to come.

We are still not at nr 99. So there will be a lot more coming to you in the next couple of weeks. Please let us know what excuses for not testing you have heard!

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