Email Copy drives the success of your email marketing program. That's the bottom line. If you want to optimize your email marketing program for the absolute best results, then you need to optimize your email copy. In this section, we'll talk about different email copy and text tests that you'll want to run.

Why Test Email Copy and Text?

As we noted above, email copy and text are what ultimately drive your email marketing program. This not only includes the actual content of your email copy, it also includes the formatting and appearance of your text. Depending on your audience or demographic, as well as your market segment, there may be a number of factors that you should consider testing when developing email copy and text guidelines for your email program.

Types of Email Copy and Text Tests

Below are some common and useful email copy and text tests that you may want to consider for your email program.

  • Headlines: The most obvious email copy test that you'll want to run is the content, appearance, and placement of your headlines.Headlines are the largest and most visible piece of email copy that will either engage or turn off users quickly. Make sure that your headlines are readable. More importantly, make sure that they compel the users to keep reading. Consider testing headlines that give "commands" against more informational headlines or even funny headlines. Good email headline display and email copy can make a big difference in your email program.
  • Tone: It goes without saying that the tone that you write in can make a big difference in how users related to and build relationships with your company. If you communicate primarily with professionals, then your tone may be better served by being more formal. However, younger demographics may relate better to a more casual tone. If you're unsure which tone will ultimately work better for you, explore trying several different ones and then making a brand decision later on.
  • Length and Teasers: Does your email perform better when you provide longer blocks of text, or does it perform better when you provide shorter teasers that link to longer web pages of copy? If you're unsure, be sure to test both approaches.
  • Keywords and Call-to-Action: Do you know which words will really drive your users to click through to your website or landing pages? Will "click here" work better than "get more info?" The right keywords or phrases to use in your email call to action can mean more users landing on your actual monetization pages. Be sure to test several variations and learn what will compel your users to click.
  • Font and Appearance: Most likely, you have brand standards about what fonts, font colors, and font sizes are appropriate to use in your email templates. However, slight variations in size or color (particularly if your brand color is a lighter shade or a grey) can engage users more quickly. Consider testing a font one size up or down and one shade darker in a basic A/B test.
  • Content: Perhaps the largest test to undertake is what the actual content of your email copy should be. We've previously discussed content in depth, but your choices are often endless. Offers of all types, how-to suggestions, questions and answers, informative articles…all of these are email content type options. Then, within that spectrum, the actual information that you're conveying can mean boom or bust for an email campaign. You should never stop testing types of content and learning from those tests as well as repeating types of content that have shown high response rates.
  • Seasonality: Do your users respond to content that seasonal (for holidays, work seasons, sports seasons, and more) or does using seasonal content alienate a large chunk of your list? It's worth testing to find out!
  • Bulleted and Numbered Lists: In many tests, users respond well to bulleted or numbered lists. These lists are easy-to-read, take the user through a clear visual path, and usually end with a clear call-to-action. If you're not using bulleted or numbered list in your email template design, it's a good idea to test a "list version" of an email against a "full content" version of an email.
  • Personalization: Finally, we've devoted a large portion of this ebook to email personalization, but it's always worth testing in your own email campaigns. Some demographics will respond better to content that includes their first name, user name, or other information. Some will be concerned about privacy. If you're unsure with method is better for you, it's time to test it!

Best Practices for Email Copy and Text Tests

As with all email testing, make sure you are doing a pure A/B split of your list and don't try to change more than one factor at a time. If you are testing "command" headlines against funny headlines, then make sure that the headline font, size, and placement is the same for both. Be sure that what you're testing is isolated.

Make sure that the same copy writer creates the email copy for both versions of your test. Small differences in the tone or style of a specific writer can account for test variations that may not be true to your initial goal.

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