Email marketing can be a successful business builder, especially when it’s done right. Even though email blasts seemed as though they fell out of favor in recent years, a new report shows they are actually an effective way for a company to gather new clients and better connect with current ones. Research revealed open rates have continued to climb – positive news for firms trying to reach new prospects.

But an email campaign will only prove successful if the content sent out is a hit with recipients. Those who receive a company’s messages aren’t likely to be enthralled when they open a message that is poorly designed or contains uninteresting content. But how can entrepreneurs determine whether their email will perform well and give them a strong return on investment?

This is where email testing comes into play. It’s critical for business owners to conduct thorough testing before sending a large email campaign. Not doing so can set a company’s attempt at bringing in new clients up for failure. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t know to conduct these tests or have no idea how to complete them, which leaves them vulnerable.

What is Email Testing and Why is it Important?
While testing isn’t the solution to all of a firm’s email marketing issues, it can certainly help some. This step, one that is critical to a campaign’s success, involves sending test messages to recipients and measuring which version gets better click-through and open rates and stronger overall responses.

Trying out multiple versions of the same campaign is helpful because it shows entrepreneurs what clients like and what they won’t respond to. Rather than wasting resources sending out an email that receives a lukewarm response, it’s better to take the time to test, determine what works and send a blast that truly performs well.

But it’s important not to test just for the sake of testing – having a hypothesis as to which aspect will perform better and knowing what results should be achieved are critical concerns. It’s also essential for business owners to recognize testing more than one aspect at once can be counterproductive and lead to more confusion and worse performance overall.

What Should Be Tested?
Different companies will test different aspects of their emails, but there are a few that stand out as particularly important to the overall performance of the marketing initiative. While there are vast range of aspects that can be tested, some could have more of an impact on performance than others.

• Subject line. The subject line in any email is critical, as it plays a significant role in determining whether a client will open the message or immediately delete it. Test phrasing, length and word choices to determine which version resonates better with recipients and which they prefer overall.

• Call to action. Every email campaign should contain a call to action spurring the recipients to click through to a website, reach out for more information or make an appointment. But if this line is weak, clients won’t necessarily feel compelled to do anything. Judging which call to action prompts more to respond could result in a more successful campaign.

• The content of the message itself. Simple things like the design, layout or message in an email can play a role in whether clients actually want to learn more or if they delete it after a quick glance. If a team is uncertain about how a message is displayed on the screen, its length or the images used, it may be beneficial to try out several potential solutions before determining which will be used in the final campaign.

• Timing. It’s often overlooked, but timing is everything in marketing. Most business leaders know not to send an email blast late on a Friday afternoon when people are trying to finish up any outstanding tasks and enjoy their weekends, but many may not realize certain times and days can be more effective than others. Trying out new times can lead to more opportunities for higher open and click through rates.

• Sender name. Entrepreneurs have to use a name their clients will recognize when they’re creating a sender name or address. But sometimes, using the company name, rather than sending a message from the CEO or the category subscribers have signed up to receive content from, can be more attention-grabbing.

• The landing page. While not specifically part of an email, the landing page recipients will click through to is an essential aspect of a campaign to test. If this component isn’t up to par, those who have taken the initiative to learn more may be let down by a bland page or one that doesn’t provide much additional information. Create multiple versions and determine which has a better impact on clients.