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Sep 15 2011
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The Chemistry of Email Marketing

You’ve done the hard work of building your contact list, staying in touch with your contacts through monthly E-newsletter updates, and maybe even have a successful lead nurturing drip campaign running. And now comes a crucial moment to announce your newest service, to inform customers of a special limited time offer, or to invite your contacts to an event you know they would be silly to let pass. How do you ensure your contacts won’t miss the glory of what you are about to offer them?

Keeping in mind that no method is full-proof, and that much like a batting average a good email open-rate hangs somewhere between 20-30%, there are some simple practices that when implemented, can have dramatic results.

We refer to one of these practices as “A/B Testing.” Think back to high school chemistry (for some, this may really stretch the memory). Are you there? White lab coat and protective goggles secured? Just like your teacher always said, the only way you can ever get definitive results in an experiment is to hold everything constant (applying the exact same pressures, percentages, temperatures, etc.), and then slightly changing just one variable to test and compare results. In the case of email marketing, there are a number of different variables including, but not limited to: send day, send time, design, offer, subject line, contact list relevancy, call to action, and brand power.

So here’s your challenge — get back to experimenting. On your next campaign, let’s say to 1,000 targeted contacts; divide your list into 3 groups:

  • Group A — 100 contacts from your send list.
  • Group B — 100 different contacts from your list.
  • Group C — 800 remaining contacts in your list.

Twenty-four hours before you intend to send your major (Group C — 800) email blast (maybe you’ve already determined the ideal send time for your client based on a previous A/B Test using Send Day as your variable), send out the exact same email template to Group A and Group B. For this test, use Subject Line as your variable and vary your subject line when sending to each group. Take the next 24 hours to review your results, and see if any major differences arise in your open or click rates between your two test groups. Then, when the time comes to send out your blast to Group C, the remaining majority of your targeted list, you can use the subject line that yielded the best results from your A/B Test.

With just a little bit of effort and intent, you have just increased the chances of your email reaching the eyes of your readers. It goes without saying that this same type of testing can be repeated for any E-marketing variable listed (or not listed) above.

So go ahead, get testing… and let us know what you discover in the comments section below.

*Lab coat and goggles not required.

About our Guest Author

Swiftpage is a subsidiary of Summit 5, a software development company, whose founders have a passion for changing the way people communicate. Sage E-marketing for ACT! was designed to make email marketing one of the most cost-effective tools in a company's arsenal, simple and accessible to individuals and organizations of all types and sizes. Since its inception, Swiftpage has helped thousands of for-profit and non-profit organizations create, send and track the performance of email campaigns. In addition to it’s stand alone on-line email service Swiftpage is the first server-based email management system to be fully integrated into ACT!, the leading contact management system in the world.

For more information about Sage E-marketing for ACT!, read about it in the Sage ACT! section of our site. For more information about Swiftpage, click here to load a new tab or window and visit their website,

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