"Testing can be a powerful tool to move your email marketing program forward," says Kelly Lorenz in a post at the Bronto blog. "Testing can also help you move from 'It depends' to 'It works for us.'" But before you test, she says, you should ask a few questions like these:

Am I testing for the sake of testing? The email-marketing mantra of test-test-test might be so effective that you're testing primarily because you think you should, not because you want to learn something.

Am I prepared to implement changes based on the results? "Whether that means a small tweak or a massive overhaul," Lorenz says, "you have to be ready."

When is a result conclusive? "After testing," she notes, "you should be taking a hard look at your metrics and determining what margin decisively proves the end result."

Lorenz recommends tackling elements like these—one at a time—when you begin to test:

  • Subject lines
  • Calls-to-action
  • Images and graphics
  • Time of day or day of week

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