Sheri Hebbeln
January 9, 2015 | Email Marketing | Sheri Hebbeln

Boost click-through rates with A/B testing

Email marketing is a common practice.  But are your messages being opened and more importantly, are they enticing consumers to buy?  Just the right email message with the right imagery is key. That's why A/B testing on email promotions is a valuable tool. 

A/B testing has its origins on the Web, when marketers would test pages to see if changes to parts of a page would cause people to click through or convert. Email split testing is the same basic premise. You're experimenting to determine the best messaging to entice consumers to read the email and then click onward to order wine.

With email A/B testing, emails are sent to two different groups on your mailing list. One will get an email that uses the same layout and design as your previous emails. The other will receive an email where a single element from the design or layout has been changed. Both have identifying tags imbedded in the code that tracks click-through rates.  The resulting data analytics will determine which message is more effective.

As with any test, determine the goals of success as noted by KISSmetrics. It can be awareness of the new vintage, the referral to friends or it can be straight sales.

There are a variety of elements to test in an email A/B test. Many are quite basic and similar to the Web-based tests that are still used regularly today. The most basic test is the subject line of the email. A strong subject line is like an effective headline, drawing people to open the email. Other parts that can be tested are the message layout, the use and placement of images, the content of your email and the call to action. Even the color of the Call to Action button can be tested.

Use care when deploying A/B testing.  Tests should be planned carefully and email messages not sent too frequently.  Too many messages can result in consumer fatigue. 


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