How to Test Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted by | March 21, 2007 | General | 9 Comments

I have one important question – are your email marketing campaigns working?

For a long time, I would not have been able to answer those questions myself. Why? It’s easy – because I did not track my campaigns.

Here are a few sub-questions:

  1. If you just build a list, and send out an email promotion, are you guaranteed to make money?
  2. What offers do your list respond to, and what do they ignore?
  3. Are longer emails better than shorter emails?
  4. Is it better to have more than one link in an email?
  5. Should you put your prospects’ name in the header?
  6. Do your emails get delivered on time, to your prospect’s inbox instead of the spam folder?
  7. If you’re also marketing the same affiliate link with Adwords, email signatures, forum posting and text links, how do you know if the sales you’ve made are from your email subscribers?

It’s safe to say, that if you cannot answer those questions, you haven’t really understood your own email marketing effectiveness. And the tricky part is that I can’t give you the answers either, because it depends on many different variables such as:

  1. How persuasive is your writing?
  2. Are you in tune with your style of writing yet?
  3. How much hype do you put in your emails, and how do your customers respond to that?
  4. How good is your offer?
  5. How well does the affiliate product convert?
  6. How did you build a list in the first place? By offering free stuff or by selling products?

So, the answer is you have to do your own testing. But how you say?

Step 1: Get A Good Autoresponder / List Management Service

A good autoresponder will save you a lot of headaches later on. You can read about Aweber, my recommended autoresponder and list management service.

Next..

Step 2: Understand How Email Marketing Works

Enough of other people telling you that “the money is in the list”. It is most definitely not in the list unless you understand how email marketing works. Read my lengthy post on the topic here.

Next..

Step 3: Create Your Own Tracking System

Besides the built-in tracking tools in Aweber, I also recommend John Reel’s GoTryThis software. It has helped me understand my own email marketing campaigns better and revealed a few things that I would have never found out otherwise.

Now that you have the tools, you need to create your own system. Look back at your affiliate marketing campaigns, and see if you can:

  • Create separate & unique “redirect” links for each email you send out. This will help you identify if the sales are coming from your email marketing campaigns or elsewhere.
  • Create tracking IDs in your affiliate software manager. For example, in Clickbank and PayDotCom you can create separate tracking links. Create a separate tracking id for your email marketing campaigns.
  • Use The Split-Testing Broadcast Feature in Aweber. Split your list in 2, and send 2 emails to each half. Every time you do this, test only ONE element.

Ok, lets get to some examples.

How fast do your emails get delivered, and how fast does your mailing list respond? If you just sent out to different lists, which one responds faster? How fast do you get 100 clicks? How does your email marketing traffic trends compare with other marketing methods?

Almost all these questions can be answered by creating a good tracking campaign and using the GoTryThis software to create unique links to separate and track different traffic sources.

With the software I create one redirect link that masks the affiliate link, which means that you see my link instead of the actual affiliate link. Then, I can add a unique tracker on the fly easily. I usually add “b” to any links I put on this blog, and “a” for my Aweber campaigns and “m” for my Marketer’s Choice autoresponder.

From my own tracking, I can see this trend:

  • What my traffic sources are, and how many clicks I get from each
  • Aweber delivers my emails faster, and I got more clicks from my Aweber list compared to my Marketers Choice list, even though they are equal in terms of the size of subscribers.
  • How fast an email marketing campaign fades out, as compared to putting an affiliate link on my blog

Now again, the data you get may be significantly different depending on your own business model.

Now, you can also do some pretty important tracking in Aweber or any other decent email autoresponder program out there. You can:

  • Deliverability rates – the % of your emails that successfully finds it way to your prospects inbox (don’t rely on the company’s data, do your own testing to verify this)
  • Track “open-rates” – However, since this usually involves sending out a HTML email, I only use it periodically
  • Click rates – How many people click on your email links, and which links they clicked on

But the good thing with Aweber is that you can create something called Split Test Broadcast.

With this feature, you can send out 2 different emails to the same group at the same time. It is extremely good for testing:

  • Headline A vs Headline B
  • Long email vs Short Email
  • Single link vs Two / three links
  • The effectiveness of putting the name in the headline
  • Hard sell vs presell

And a lot more.

So basically you can do all these simple things to really make sense of your own email marketing campaigns.

Stop listening to what others say work or don’t – test it out for yourself, and you can definitely improve your email marketing income.

9 Comments

  • [...] It gives me total control of my mailing list and allows me to do things my friends on GetResponse seem to have a hard time doing; stuff like sending out emails based on country (or even city), RSS broadcasting features, integration with FeedBurner and split-testing emails. [...]

  • Nathashya Nguyen says:

    When sending out emails to subscribers how can I avoid having my emails placed into spam or junk mail?

  • Hi Gobala, nice post. I believe that tracking your email marketing efforts through to the end goal or conversion is extremely important. Here at Listrak we recently integrated Google Analytics into our system to expand reporting beyond the click through. For anyone looking to learn more, we have many whitepapers and articles available in our email marketing resources area.

  • Lim CS says:

    Great information. Perhaps you can do a review on all email marketing software in future?

  • Hi Gobala!

    Your blog post gives a really good idea of email marketing campaigns as well as provides great tips on how to track the progress of the campaign. What you have done is go a step beyond what other internet marketers do at their blogs, which is well, probably to give an introduction to email marketing and that’s it. So, thanks for the info ya~!

  • David Cheong says:

    Nice guide and useful information. This way i can track some of the email that i’ve sent.
    Keep it up.

    Regards,
    David Cheong.

  • Louiss says:

    dear gobala, nice tips, I recently active in online marketing. I start with affilliate marketing and wish you may reply some question i send to your through wordpressguy.com.

    I really love to learn and my desire are never stop, please teach me, bro.

  • Oh it’s tough to review ALL email marketing software, and rather redundant too. I think a review of the top 3 would be more than enough..

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