There are endless reasons why a blogger would want to test alternative ways to improve the efficiency of their email newsletter campaign, but here are three very important ones:

  • Reengage with the inactives – These are the readers who once were your loyal supporters and are now giving your blog a wider berth than the Costa Concordia should have given the shoals off the isle of Giglio.
  • Get more subscribers to open your newsletter – An unopened newsletter is a waste of a send, but an inordinate number of your readers will subscribe and then fail to open the very emails they requested.
  • Generate more traffic through the click – Many of your subscribers will actually get around to opening your email but it might seem that they’d rather click on their own death warrant than your call to action leading to your blog posts.

You need to determine a clear set of objectives that you want to see your email campaign achieve. In order to start this process you need to walk an inbox mile in your subscribers’ moccasins.

  • You’re boring your readers – Your blog might be exhilarating but if your email newsletter would put insomniacs to sleep, you’re missing out on the benefits of motivating your subscribers to reading your blog posts.
  • Your email template is stultifying – If your email newsletter has always looked like it was mimeographed by your grade school teacher or incorporates all of the latest design trends of 1994, it’s time to trade your template in for one that at least belongs in this century, if not even this decade.
  • Whatwazzat? – Would an uninformed reader have a clue what your email newsletter is all about? Are you using industry jargon so thick it requires hiring a consultant from McKinsey & Co. to decipher it? Are you pushing all your blogs at once and confusing the beegeezus out of your subscribers?
  • You have a Call To Apathy – Sales personnel are always trained to “ask for the sale” and similarly if your email newsletter doesn’t feature a clarion Call To Action you’ll find that you can plug your blog all you want but your subscriber is simply not going to be motivated to read it… and instead will just ignore you.

Now that you’re getting a better perspective as to why your blog’s email newsletter is as attractive as an elephant in a bikini, you can proceed to actually testing various different approaches to composing your primary email newsletter elements. The ten most popular features to test in email newsletters generally are:

  1. Subject line
  2. Preheader
  3. From line
  4. Call To Action
  5. Specific words
  6. Headlines
  7. Body text
  8. Images
  9. Clickable links
  10. Layout, colors & style

The easiest and most simple test to conduct would be, for example, a 50/50 subject line test. Take half of your next newsletter and send it out with subject line A and the balance with subject line B. Now refer to your email service provider’s report and determine which one got the best email metrics, such as open and click-through.

Keep experimenting until you come up with the most successful format for your subject lines. You might find that your readers will respond better to a subject line that consists of a particularly provocative quote vs. a headline of your lead post. It’s usually a good idea to run three similar tests before drawing any type of conclusion.

Email metrics are to online marketing campaigns what vote tallies are to politicians. You can run the most electrifying campaign in political history but if only your Cousin Wilfred votes for you, it’s a bust.

Pore over your email reports and learn to understand each aspect so you can accurately determine what your testing efforts are accomplishing or not. Testing is the heartbeat of email marketing your blog. Just like you wouldn’t teach a course without administering a test to find out what your students learned, you shouldn’t run a blog email newsletter campaign without testing!