Here at VerticalResponse, our marketing team has a motto, “Don’t Guess, Test.” Testing is crucial to anyone’s marketing success. Finding the right subject lines, formats, images, templates, wording and offers to maximize customer engagement and sales helps drive your business. Testing keeps your marketing tactics from becoming stagnant or outdated. And, just because a specific tactic has worked in the past doesn’t mean there aren’t different ones that can be tested. While it’s important to do your own testing, there’s plenty to learn from others. So here are three things we’ve put to the test and their revealing results:

1) Benefit-Driven Subject Lines – Crafting the right subject line for an email can be tricky. One email test we conducted pitted two different subject lines against each other to see how the order of certain words affected the open rates. The email, which offered free email credits with a purchase, was sent evenly to two groups of prospective customers who had not yet made a purchase. The two subject lines were:


Our test showed that by putting the offer of “Get 900 Free” first, we had a 1.5x higher open rate. This makes sense, as folks may be more likely to open an email when the first thing they see is a free offer rather than the action they must take to receive the offer. From this and other similar tests we learned that a benefit-driven subject line, offering something first rather than requesting an action first, can increase engagement (and sales!). Learn more about writing successful subject lines in our free guide, “Savvy Subject Line Writing for Success.

2) Keeping it Simple – As marketers, we’re never ones to be short on words, but including too much information in an email can sometimes backfire. That’s why simplicity in an offer/promotion, or announcement email can be very effective. While you want your message to be clear, several of our email tests showed a higher percentage of customer responses and purchases when we kept the email short and to-the-point. In fact, some emails we sent were trimmed down to the point of just including a subject line, a pre-header, and a brief two sentence explanation of the offer or news and an easily clickable call-to-action button to take them to a webpage for more information. So the trick then becomes being clear and concise and giving just enough information to interest your customers. Then, link to your website or some other content with additional information. Below are two examples of a longer copy email vs. a short copy email.

Complex Email:


Simple Email:


3) Adding that Personal Touch – When sending to a large list, adding a small personal touch can do a lot to increase your click through rates. Rather than using the impersonal “Dear Customer” or “To Whom it May Concern,” using a customer’s first name in the salutation can help get attention and draw your recipients into your message. We’ve tested multiple emails with and without the first name field, and our results have consistently shown that in promotional emails specifically, using the personalized merge fields has increased clicks and opens. VerticalResponse makes it easy to merge data, like customer first names from your mailing lists. Learn how in our simple tutorial: How To Personalize an Email.

These examples are just a few of the many things that can be tested in an email. Run any interesting email tests of your own? Share your findings in the comments – They may just inspire our next blog post.

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