Now that you've run all of these email tests, what should you do with the email test data you've collected? A good email testing strategy is only as good as what you do with what you learn. In this section, we'll talk about how to use the data that you collected to improve your email marketing program.
What's the Goal of Email Testing?
The first thing that you need to ask yourself, of course, is "What was the goal of all of that testing?" Obviously, the main goal was to improve your email marketing program, but was it to improve your open rate? To learn more about your users? To make specific action items? In truth, these are questions that you should have asked yourself before you began testing, but even if you didn't your ongoing email tests will have provided you with enough email test data to make meaningful and measurable changes in your email marketing program. What do you do now? We recommend the following four steps to taking your email test data and turning them into email marketing and newsletter improvements.
Step One: Compiling Your Email Test Data
The first thing that you'll need to do is to compile and pull together all of your email test data. It's possible (and even likely) that the email test data you've collected may live in many different locations. Your database may house all of the demographic and content information. Your email marketing platform provider may have all of the email response rate and engagement activity. Your ecommerce solution may have all of the revenue and ROI information. You may even need to go to your social networks to manually try to figure out information about email sharing and viral impact. It's very unlikely that you can look at a single source and find all of the data that you need to evaluate your email marketing tests. So, naturally, the first step is to allocate a person or team to compile all of the data that you need and put it together for you.
Step Two: Putting Your Email Test Data into a Usable Format
Of course, data, no matter how much of it there is, is only as good as your ability to interpret it. You'll need to find a format that helps you to look at your email test data and make determinations. Excel is the most common way to compile and review email test data, but you may prefer more charts and graphs to lines and numbers. Take the time to meet as a team, make sure that you are all on the same page about what information you are trying to determine, and then develop a reporting format that clearly shows you the lines between the email tests that you ran and the response rates that you got. This report format, however, will be entirely driven by your company and your preferred way to share information.
Step Three: Reviewing Your Email Test Data
Next, take real time to review your email test data. Ask yourself questions based on what you can tell for sure from the email test data you've collected as well as assumptions that you can make based on trends and variable. Look at anomalies. Really dig in and consider other elements that may have impacted the data. Make it a group discussion. Two eyes, after all, are better than one. Don't simply quickly scan or look at your email test data. You've taken the time to run important marketing tests on your email channel. Now take the time to be sure that you know what those tests mean and what they have shown you. If you speed through reviewing your email test data, you'll speed through what may be the most important part of the process. While email test data and sending can be almost instantaneous, thinking about what your email test data is informing you of should be a long-tail event.
Step Four: Setting a Strategy According to Your Email Test Data
Now use what you've learned from your email test data to set an email strategy. Email marketing campaigns often perform best when you've planned them out several months in advance. If you feel as though you need more information, make an email plan that incorporates more tests of anything that wasn't clear from your original email tests. If your email tests gave you clear answers as to what your subscribers or users prefer, then you can schedule out how to make those implementations. However, you do it, take what the email test showed you and translate it into an actionable plan for your email marketing channel.
Then, of course, continue to watch your email test data to ensure that what you think that you learned from your email tests was actually correct!
Continue to Gain More Email Test Data!
No matter how extensive your email marketing tests were, there's always more to learn. Testing should be a continual part of your email marketing program. Not only does the business landscape change, but your consumers change as well. Never stop coming up with ideas on what and how to test different concepts in your email, even if those concepts seem "crazy" at the time. Because of the low cost of sending marketing emails, you can send a "crazy" test and the worst thing that will happen is that you'll have one underperforming email campaign. The risk with email can be incredibly low, but the rewards for discovering a great new conversion or revenue technique can be incredibly high.
Continue to test both basic email marketing elements and new, innovative ideas at all times. Email is the ideal marketing channel for testing, and you should always be utilizing this advantage.