4 A/B Testing Tricks to Elevate Your Email Marketing

  • Categories:

    Marketing Automation

  • Date:

    June 14, 2022

4 A/B Testing Tricks to Elevate Your Email Marketing

Marketing Automation

Marketing professionals are all about that data. We rely on it to inform our marketing efforts and optimize our campaigns to become even more efficient and successful.

These days, data-driven marketing also requires highly personalized communications for both B2B and B2C audiences. Email marketing is a great channel for creating these personalized, one-on-one relationships with clients and prospects while showing a brand’s personality. With email, brands can leverage audience preferences to create a better user experience, set engagement benchmarks and establish their own unique best practices — all of which will make their email marketing more effective. But, what’s the best way for marketers to achieve personalization with data they can trust?

A/B testing.

This tried-and-true method is potent in email marketing. By sending two versions of the same email with varied elements, we can see what resonates better and use that data to guide our email campaigns moving forward. For example, including (or excluding) the recipient’s name in the subject line is one of the most common and proven A/B testing methods. Personalization isn’t simply expected — it creates a better one-on-one experience for the brand and its audience.

But that’s just one approach that could make or break your audience engagement levels.

Keep reading for four more ways you can bolster A/B testing and improve your email marketing performance.

1. What’s my name again?

The modern inbox is a minefield of brand names, offers and products as far as the thumb can scroll. Yet, if you see an email from Grandma Margaret, you’re more likely to open it over yet another food delivery service offer.

When you set up A/B testing, experiment to see if including a real person’s name instead of a company name under “sender” makes a difference in your engagement. When HubSpot ran a similar test, they saw an increase in both opens and clicks, generating 131 new leads.

Not sure who to use as your “sender?” While it may vary based on your audience, try using your top sales reps, known thought leaders in your organization or C-suite executives to see who moves the needle.

2. Thank goodness it’s Friday … morning?

Many marketers tend to make assumptions about their audiences. Once those assumptions are put to the test, they may find the results surprising.

Setting benchmarks is key to ensuring your marketing efforts are meeting business goals and creating experiences that better serve your audience.

We recently leveraged historical data and changing audience behavior to find the best day to send our newsletter to B2B audiences. After months of testing, we were surprised to find that Fridays gave us our highest engagement. Still, our results needed refining: When on Friday would a mostly 9–5 audience open and click through on our emails? We A/B tested email sends from 8–11 a.m. and 1–4 p.m. We found that opens and clicks dropped over 70% when sent during the afternoon time slot.

It’s important to remember that retesting key metrics and your content output should always be part of your strategy, regardless of the outcomes. It may seem granular, but diving deeper into your test results can give you a clearer understanding of your audience.

3. Personalization is more than skin deep.

Statistically speaking, inserting a contact’s name into a subject line is a strong first step in delivering a personalized experience in your marketing emails. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it in an age where consumers expect increased thoughtfulness from businesses when it comes to well-tailored emails. If you want to upgrade your level of personalization, you need to consider your tone, CTAs, customer data and more.


While the voice you use with your audience should remain consistent with what they expect, it’s OK to change up your email copy in subtle ways to keep things fresh. Try infusing more direct statements, humor or even some well-placed emojis to resonate more with your contacts.


You expect different segments of your audience to respond in different ways, so why would you provide each of them with the same call to action? Think about your recipients and, via testing, determine if action-oriented, inquisitive or image-based CTAs work effectively with your intended audience.

Customer Data

You’ve likely spent significant marketing resources collecting important information on who your customers and prospects are. Consider using that data to provide a more seamless experience for them. Leveraging an automation tool, think about innovative ways you can start testing using various fields such as job titles, industry or even last purchase date to find out which data point draws your contact’s attention.

4. Here’s some content … what now?

Have you noticed that some parts of your emails consistently get more engagement than others? That is a perfect opportunity to test your theories and find out for sure. Too many marketers limit themselves to A/B testing items such as button placement. While those tests have a place, think bigger and test things including template design, email length and content types.

Content Types

Speaking of content types, our own Laura King Edwards recently provided new ideas for supercharging your blog, but these can also translate into emails. Perhaps dropping in some text copy in place of an embedded video is what your audience wants.


Instead of swapping images to see which one gets better engagement, try completely different designs to see if one hits home with your audience.

Email Length

This can apply to copy, visuals and CTAs. Try testing engagement above AND below the fold to see just how long your contacts are willing to scroll down before clicking or exiting your email. This information is critical to understanding their needs while also improving your email performance.

Final Send-Off

Although there are many ways to interact with your audience, email is often the most inexpensive and efficient road to engagement. If you break that down even further, A/B testing is one of the most cost-effective ways to optimize your campaigns for better ROI and — most critically — create a better user experience for everyone who receives your emails.

Intrigued? Read our article on how marketing automation can help improve personalization.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.