Email campaigns are a top marketing channel for businesses, but many are focusing too heavily on design and construction and leaving testing as something of an afterthought, according to Anthony Wilkey, regional director for Emailvision, who here explains how that slippery slope can easily be avoided. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

Testing your campaigns will inevitably lead to a higher success rate, yet a surprising number of digital marketers do not make it an essential part of their process. Testing supports constant improvement, reduces time and effort, optimises performance, enables you to develop a better understanding of your channel mix and last but not least, allows you to learn what works and what doesn't.

Email campaigns have the power to create stronger customer relationships, establish deeper brand loyalty and drive revenue versus other marketing channels. You can easily set out your testing regime by following a few simple steps:

  1. Plan
    Think ahead. Allow time to test your campaign, test it again and alter accordingly before you execute. Carefully consider your control group and have a well drawn-out plan of action from the offset to fully reap the benefits.
  2. Execute and repeat
    Varying your approach to different audiences allows your email campaign to be more targeted and if the first selection of people you test on like one thing, change it for the next group. Be sure to amend your approach regularly and try new things - a subject line that didn't work last month may have the desired effect today.
  3. Cover all bases
    Testing should cover all areas of the email campaign including; subject lines, timing and frequency of send to certify that all communications are properly resonating with customers. Sending the right messages to the right customers at the right time should always be the aim.
  4. Report and analyse
    Find an effective way to capture your results and share among the business. This way the whole organisation can apply the lessons that have been learned to future campaigns. Be aware that no results will be 100% accurate - allow for variations.

"At first, the impact of your tests may be minimal, and as a general rule of thumb more significant changes will lead to more significant results," concluded Wilkey. "The more you test, the more you get to know your customers, so this will differ as time goes on - but don't let a fear of failure prevent you from trying new things."