When it comes to email optimization, the first question you may be asking is, "How can I optimize a poor performing email campaign or program?" Even if your email marketing program is performing successfully, chances are that there is room for improvement. After all, user demographics, interests, and even the activity of email service provider filters can change regularly. In this section, we'll take a look at the two primary factors to consider in your email optimization work.

Basic Techniques of Email Optimization

When looking at optimizing your email marketing program, there are three components that you should consider. The first is simply to audit your email marketing program against all of the email marketing bast practices detailed within this ebook. You may find that you've inadvertently overlooked a common best practice that could dramatically or even just marginally, improve the performance of your campaign or overall email program. We won't cover auditing your emails for best practices within this section since it's been covered in such depth in other sections of this book.

The second two methods, however, we will cover in detail. The first technique that we'll discuss is the process of segmenting your email marketing list or database, referred to as "list segmentation". The second technique we'll discuss is testing various elements of your email marketing campaign in different presentations, referred to as "A/B testing." We'll cover each technique in detail and even give you sample tests to run. Of course, once you've mastered both list segmentation and A/B testing, you may want to expand and run some A/B tests within a specific list segment. That's when you'll know that you've become a true email marketer!

What is List Segmentation?

List segmentation is breaking down your larger, main email list into smaller segments so that you can present targeted offers and messages to them. Depending on your in-house marketing resources or the size of your marketing email list or database, this can mean simply splitting your list into two separate halves, or it can mean having many smaller lists. You can permanently segment your email marketing list, or you can create different list segments as needed with each email send or time frame. In the next section of this book, we'll discuss list segmentation in great detail, including examples. As a general marketing rule, however, the more you can make a message or email specific to the audience it is intended for, the better it is for your email optimization work.

What is an A/B Test?

An A/B test is any time that you test two different components of an email against each other while no other factors are changed. For example, you may randomly split your email list down the middle and test two different email subjectlines to see which one gets a higher open rate. Or you may test two different offers against each other.In short, any time you test one element of an email (element A) against a different version of it (element B), you have an A/B test. Continually testing will mean that, eventually, you will have completed enough tests to have a usable best practices list for your own email marketing program.

Next Step of Email Optimization: Adopting a Process and Making a Plan

Before you proceed with using either of the techniques that we're about to explore in order to optimize and perfect your email marketing program or campaign, remember that the most important part of your email optimization work is to use a systematic approach. Make a list of the items that you'd like to test, the portions of your email list that you'd like to segment, and ideas that you have for offers and messages that may work better than your current email content. Then begin to test and segment in a systematic way. Never attempt to run more than one test at a time. Your data will become jumbled and it will be harder to draw conclusions. Also, be sure to track and log all of your data. That doesn't simply include the results of a test or segmentation, but also the time, date, spam complaints, and full range of data associated with the email send. If you simply begin testing at random and trying list segments simply for the sake of testing list segments, you won't be able to draw complete conclusions. An organized effort to improve your email marketing program is the best effort. This is true of most marketing campaigns, but it's particularly true of email. In the world of email marketing, even one small change can have a significant and immediate impact. That impact, however, may be positive or negative. Therefore, it's important to always keep good records of what you changed in your email program, when you changed it, and what the results were.

There's always room for improvement. We hope that the tips and techniques that we're about to detail will help you improve your email marketing or newsletter program.

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