Using principles of human psychology and A/B testing, you can discover the full potential of your email marketing. Try these five conversion optimization tests on your next campaign.

Conversion optimization is the heart of marketing. With a few, very subtle adjustments to your campaigns, you can make dramatic changes to user account sign-ups, purchase completions, and offer redemptions. That's why marketers spend so much time experimenting with button placements, copy length, and font sizes: all of these elements can impact engagement levels and purchase behavior.

But changes to performance don't happen by chance. There are clear reasons why certain optimizations yield higher conversion rates: it is human psychology. Digital experiences are extensions of the brick-and-mortar world, with consumers displaying similar patterns of judgment both online and offline.

Knowing this, you can use principles of psychology to optimize your email campaigns with A/B testing. Here are five ideas with their corresponding conversion goals to help you get started.

1. Test Different Value Propositions in Your Subject Line

Conversion Goal: Open Rate

People get a lot of email, which makes it tough for marketers to get their messages across. When you do? It's because you've delivered enough of a value proposition to inspire people to click.

The problem is that people are tough to predict, but your ability to understand people allows you to predict what someone may want or need at an exact moment in time. Serendipity isn't a science, but A/B testing is. Why not cycle through value propositions in your subject line?

2. Test Delivery Times

Conversion Goal: Open Rate and Email Click-Through Rate (CTR)

It's hard to predict how people will respond to your email messaging. The reason is simple: people are opening your messages in a variety of contexts. Thanks to mobile, they could be at work, (Read more...) in bed, on the train, or in a hospital waiting room. All of these contexts influence your email campaign's performance.

The best way to control for these variables is to optimize your timing. Try sending your email campaigns on different days and at different times during the day. See if you can detect any engagement patterns or changes. For instance, you may find that weekdays at 5 p.m. are the best times to reach consumers who are catching an end-of-day brain break. You won't know until you put your questions to the test.

3. Test Message Lengths

Conversion Goal: CTR

Everyone says that people have short attention spans, but is that really true? People also like to feel informed and may find a detailed email valuable.

Stop arguing with your marketing team over message length. Instead, run A/B tests to figure out the optimal number of sentences, call-to-action (CTA) placements, and paragraph densities. Test shorter sentences and longer ones, too. See what converts your specific audience.

4. Test Urgency

Conversion Goal: Transaction

Need your subscribers to take action? Try giving them deadlines or "last chance" messages. Tell them why they're going to miss out on an extremely valuable opportunity.

The outcome of this type of marketing is that buyers are likely to take action much more quickly. Rather than procrastinating and potentially forgetting your email, they'll make prompt judgment calls, usually in the form of a "yes" or "no." In your A/B tests, you can test different deadline lengths for event sign-ups and offer redemptions.

5. Test Formatting and Designs

Conversion Goal: CTR

Would your subscribers prefer to receive a short, plain-text message or a company-branded newsletter with a full-length blog post? When you answer that question in your mind, how confident are you in your guess?

Don't guess when it comes to design. Instead, run an A/B test. Keep testing different formats and designs. See what sparks the highest levels of engagement and what results in people trailing off. Don't assume that your audiences want a well-designed newsletter, but don't assume that they don't want one, either. Run experiments to find the right answer.

Final Thoughts

Every company and customer base is different. Every list of A/B testing priorities will look different, too. Start with your customers and work backwards from their goals and needs.

And if you're looking for more A/B testing ideas? Download the whitepaper Think Like Your Audience: 9 Conversion Triggers in Email  

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