Advertisers wouldn't dream of putting out a major commercial that they hadn't vetted extensively through focus groups. By contrast, email marketers often think they have no mechanisms in place to try out different content on their audiences. That's where A/B testing comes in.
With A/B testing, you can try different versions of your content on healthcare professionals (HCPs) to see which version results in the highest engagement. You can alter content, deployment, and design to test your audience's response to variations. The results will give you insight to improve your current and future email campaigns.
Continuous Corporate Learning to Increase Engagement and ROI of Future Campaigns
The reasons to implement A/B testing are many. For one, the data-driven nature of email gives you a unique opportunity to gain insights into your products, digital marketing, and customers. By analyzing email open and click-through results, marketers know what products and offers their audiences prefer, as well as what content, design, and deployment techniques resonate with them. If you're not taking advantage of the treasure trove of data email has to offer, your ROI is not near where it could be. The practice of continuous corporate learning advances not only your email campaigns but all of your marketing campaigns, as well as your entire organization.
Second, you've probably heard the cliché that doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. That principle also applies to healthcare email marketing, except you can substitute "inefficacy" for insanity.
A/B email testing gives you invaluable data that will inform future email campaigns, as well as campaigns in other marketing channels. If you're not A/B testing, you're likely doing the same thing you did in the last campaign, and the one before that, and the one before that. Your learning curve flattens when you take that approach. Your engagement levels stagnate as a result.
Content, Deployment, and Design
Testing all three elements will help you optimize your campaign. A/B testing of content, deployment, and design will tell you the specific components that generate the highest level of engagement. For example, you might test different colors to see which ones produce the most clicks to register for a webinar. Likewise, you might experiment with subject lines to see which words give you the most opens on an important product announcement. Here are the subcomponents of each element you can A/B test:
- Content: subject line, from line, preheader, call to action, etc.
- Design: call to action placement, color, font, images, content arrangement and layout
- Deployment: time of the day, day of the week, cadence, frequency
Understanding the Applications of A/B Testing: Deployment Times
Say you want to reach a target list of oncologists. You want your email to be at the top of their inbox when they check their email, because the longer an email sits in an inbox, the less likely it is to be read. How can we find out when this target group checks email and engages in it? You could send an email to half of your oncology segment on Monday, then send the same email to the other half on Thursday. Your A/B test will allow you to compare open rates, click-through rates, read times, etc. between the two days.
In future campaigns, you can continue to compare the open rates of different days and times until you have a winning combination. The result is that more of your emails will be read in the first place, which opens the door to more valuable engagement, such as registrations and downloads.
You can't improve what you don't know is failing. A/B testing gives you powerful insights into your audience's behavior to inform future campaigns.