4 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign through Testing

by Michael Cusden · 28 comments

This is a guest post by Michael Cusden from SimplyCast.com

Strangely enough, sometimes the best way to see whether your email marketing campaign is doing well or not is to do some internal testing. Just for a moment, you can disregard what your metrics and analytics tell you and put the changes you want to make out to your subscribers directly.

But, first, let’s figure out how to set up testing so that it provides you with honest-to-goodness results.

  1. Pull 100 random email addresses from your list
  2. Divide them into two separate groups
  3. Only test one change at a time
  4. Set one group as the control (what you’re already doing) and the other as the change
  5. Monitor the results
  6. Request feedback through directed surveys about which your subscribers prefer

We’re going to look at 4 of the most common places that marketers like to update in their emails and walk you through how to do it.

Email Markting Campaign


What works better? Long content or short? Which content strategy provides more opens, clicks and sales?

Though email marketing best practices often suggest that content is better shortened, it truly depends on what type of business you run, what you’re offering and what your customers prefer.

If you’re considering a change in your content length, put it to your subscribers to help you make the right choice.

At the end of the day, it is your customers that dictate what you do. If you see results that show long newletters have a better result, well you know what to do. It is always easier to add more than edit it down.

Writing less and still having an impact is what professionals do for a living, so don’t worry if it takes some practice refining your message.

Subject Lines

Does you subscribers like teasing subject lines or those that get to the point about your call-to-action?

Subject lines, by nature, are a bit tricky. Again, it’s entirely up to who you are as a company and who your subscribers are. Sometimes, customers will open anything that is sent by a trusted company and other need a little incentive to do so.

That is the ideal, but for most doing email marketing, that trust has not been fully achieved. Simple is best and never be misleading. Customers are trained well enough now to spot a white lie or something that is too good to be true. Be to the point and if you can plug-in something creative, then all the better.


Some companies prefer to have just one gigantic graphic, that acts more like an advertisement, than content explaining what the promotion is about (Victoria’s Secret, does this well). Others prefer to keep their graphics to a minimum, only including the necessities (like their logo, social media icons and a small graphic for their promotion) rather than plastering their email with pretty pictures.

Both strategies work, but what’s right for you?

This goes back to the content question. A graphic that lists all the details can cut down on the writing by a lot and graphics are much more attractive to read. The best bet is to get everything you need to sell your message in the graphic and if needed, add the full details in text below. That way you cover yourself either way. Most people won’t scroll past the image, so make it count.

Sender’s Identification

Often, major companies that have an e-newsletter opt to have their “Sender’s identification” remain anonymous, hidden under an automated name. Other companies opt to tie each and every email to an actual responsible person in their company.

It’s no secret that spam filters and customers alike don’t trust any email that doesn’t come from a human. This is especially true for subscribers who recently opted in for your emails.

Test both. You’ll never know what is preferred!

But before you send your email newsletter out to thousands of people, make sure you are ready for the flood of replies if sending from a human email address. They may not be able to keep up.

What tests do you use to improve your email marketing? There are so many more than the four mentioned here. Please let us know.

About Michael Cusden

Hello there, I am Michael Cusden from SimplyCast, a leader in multi-channel marketing automation and the home of The Epic Free Marketing Plan. Sign up for our email marketing service and send up to 5,000 emails everything month for free - forever.

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Steve April 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm


I make most of my living from email marketing, and I must say that testing…and then testing again is one of the most i important things that people can do. It is the best way to really refine your message and get it across to people. Great info here! Kudos

Chris April 28, 2012 at 12:33 am

Testing one change at a time is super-important. Trying to multi-task, this aspect of making changes is going to create a knot of problems because you’re not going to be able to track what’s what.


Dennis April 28, 2012 at 4:22 am

I’m still trying to get my first affiliate marketing website off the ground so I haven’t tested email marketing yet. All of these are helpful tips I will keep in mind when i do decide to explore this field.

Sara April 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Great article Michael!
Even though I have never run an email marketing campaign, I find your tips very useful for the future. Although, as a simple reader, I would like to say that most of the times, the long and very personal marketing emails are a little bit annoying. To be more specific, firstly I never succeed to read the whole email because I get bored, and secondly it bothers me when the emails are very personal, because I don’t want to know that a stranger is trying to convince me. I prefer the credibility and formality of a brand name!
Thank you 🙂

Chris May 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Definitely agree with you Sara — those long squeeze emails are annoying, but that usually just means we’re not interested. I hear the longer pitches tend to get insane conversion rates compared to a well written pitch, short and sweet.

Koundeenya May 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Email marketing worked great for me. Even when panda hit me. It brought enough traffic from subscribers. Thank a lot for these tips. Now i can get even more subscribers

univtego May 13, 2012 at 2:48 am

Very nice article…At the end of the day, it is your customers that dictate what you do. If you see results that show long newletters have a better result, well you know what to do. It is always easier to add more than edit it down…..

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