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A/B Testing for E-mail Campaigns

A/B testing, also called an A/B split, is the easiest method of testing elements within your emails or on your Web site. The target audience is divided into two groups. One group is broadcasted the original version of whatever you are testing, and the second group sees an alternative version, where only one element has changed. Then, the results are tracked. With e-mail marketing, the following components are usually tested: bonus gifts, coupons, P.S. messages, guarantees, opening sentence image, closing sentence image, from-field, calls to action, opening greetings, type styles, layout elements, graphic images, etc. This form of testing is used by both business and consumer-driven campaigns.

My company did its first A/B e-mail campaign test last week. The only element that changed was the e-mail subject line. We used:

Test A: NINA/No Doc - Non-Traditional Solutions
Test B: NINA/No Doc - $750K to 80% LTV

On average, our audience open rate for product e-mails is about 45%, it's not that great and could use some improvement. The distribution list was split 50/50. After 5 calendar days, there's no discernable difference between either subject line and the combined open rate is 42%. Having not worked in the mortgage industry before, much of the e-mail content that we broadcast doesn't make much sense and is so banking specific that I hope our customers are getting value from it.
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