How To Create Better Email Campaigns with MailChimp’s AB Split Testing Tool

by Sofia Woods

Last updated on February 20th, 2018

Email campaigns are an important part of the marketing mix for any business; you can keep your subscribers engaged with new services, sell products or build followers. If you’re going to invest time and resources into developing a subscription list and delivering content regularly, you want to be sure your subscribers are sitting up, paying attention and listening to what you say.

Enter the world of A/B split testing, a very powerful way to make sure you’re delivering engaging content that is going to convert your campaigns to leads and add value to your core business.

One of the tools out there to manage AB split tests is MailChimp. It’s AB split test tool lets you experiment with your campaigns to find out which one performs better, helping you get the most out of your campaigns, and deliver the most relevant content to your subscribers.

AB tes

Why Split Test your Email?

Wouldn’t it be great to know which of your email campaigns gets you the best click rates, is opened the most and engages your followers more? Well with AB split testing, you can do this. So rather than just taking a stab in the dark and hoping that you’re email marketing is doing the job, you can use the data from your split test to analyse how your campaigns are performing and design your campaigns to respond accordingly.

AB split tests can help you determine how the following are peforming:

  • subject lines
  • images
  • call to action buttons
  • copy
  • competitions
  • landing pages

A/B Split Test In Action

MailChimp lets you start out by determining which of the following three elements you want to base your test on:

  • subject lines
  • ‘from’ names
  • delivery date/time

Bear in mind that your report will show your click performance so you can monitor campaign content through these results. I’ll cover this more later.

1. Subject Lines

AB split testing for email campaigns

Subject lines have a large impact on whether people will open your email. Your subject line is your heading, and essentially a call to action. This is the first contact your subscribers will have with your content so make it relevant and interesting, and make sure its succinct.

Think about when you read a magazine article or newspaper, what gets your attention and why? You want the subject to stand out (without alerting your subscriber’s spam filter) and compete for attention amongst the many other emails your recipients get in their inbox everyday

 2. From Names

AB split testing for email campaigns

The ‘from’ field tells your recipient who is sending the email so make sure it has some relevance and connection to your business name.

It’s better to use your business name rather than your business email address. Using your business name reinforces your branding while connecting your recipients to an identity rather than a faceless email address. From: ‘Brilliant Designers’ is far more effective than from:

3. Delivery Date/Time

This test helps you to find out what day or time of the week gets you the most conversions. Research shows that the optimum days to send your emails are Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday. People are waylaid with work on Monday, and Friday often sees people less productive, out of their office or less motivated to check their emails.

If you’re sending email on weekends, again recent research indicates that Sunday is better than Saturday as people are more likely to be out socialising or doing weekend projects on a Saturday than leisurely checking email.

Choose Your Segment

Once you’ve determined the type of test, you can then choose the segment for the test campaign. By default MailChimp chooses 20% of your list to test your campaign, however this is customisable depending on your needs. One of the great functions in MailChimp’s AB testing tool is that you can then get MailChimp to automatically send the winning campaign to the final percentage of your list.

Analysing the Results

Once the test campaign has been sent to your selected group, you get some great reporting data. Here you can drill down to see how each of your campaigns performed.

For the purpose of this post I created a dummy AB test to determine a more engaging campaign subject line. I created a very small test group of subscribers so the numbers shown in the report below are for demonstration only. You’re campaign will more than likely be of a larger quantity.

Group A – didn’t perform so well

AB split testing for email campaigns

Group B – The winning campaign

But it doesn’t stop there, MailChimp then lets you go one step further and dedicates a whole section to click performance. Here you can view total clicks and unique clicks from both groups. By seeing what content your subscribers clicked on, you can determine how engaging your content is and identify any shortfalls.

Wrap Up

AB split testing is a very powerful tool which helps you gauge what your subscribers are interested in and enables you to optimise your email campaigns to get the conversions you want. Research has shown that email marketing campaigns that have been put through AB split testing perform better and have a higher open and click rate to those that haven’t been tested.

What do you think?  How would you review MailChimp’s AB Testing tools?  Tell me about your experience with AB split testing, has it increased conversion with your email campaigns?

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Sofia Woods

Sofia Woods is a freelance web designer specialising in WordPress web design and training, social media strategies, blogging and copywriting. She thrives on the ever changing digital world and helping people understand how to better utilise online technologies. Check out her website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


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