How To Test Your Email Subject Lines

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how to test your email subject lines, betsy kent, be visible, blog school, a/b test

Have you ever sent out an email blast that was opened by only a fraction of the people on your list? Argghh. It’s happened to me and I know how it feels. It’s a bummer when you worked hard to create stellar content that only a people read. Are you talking to air? Well, yeah, you are. But I have a solution for you. This is when a simple A/B email subject line test can be super helpful. It’s very easy to do (if I can do it, so can you)!

How To Test Your Email Subject Lines 

Chances are you use one of the popular email services to manage your list. Whether yours is Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, or another, they all offer a simple way to set-up an email subject line test. I usually test only two (an A/B test) but you can test more if you like.  

Here’s how to create an A/B subject line test:

1. First write your email content. Always write your email content first. OK, enough of that. I think you get it.

2. Next, create two subject lines, both of which you feel are compelling, but are different. For example, A could be in a question form and B could be a statement.

3. Using your email service’s testing tool, set up your test to have a small percentage of your list receive your email with subject line A and another small percentage will receive subject line B. If you use Mailchimp you may get a pop-up telling you that A/B testing works best with a larger list than what you have. Just ignore that and do it anyway (sorry, Mailchimp!). 

4. Choose the amount of time you want to wait before the winner is identified. For Tuesday Tips, I usually only wait about 2-3 hours, since it has to be sent on a Tuesday. However, if your email is not time-sensitive you may want to wait 24 hours or more for even better results. I often notice people will open my emails many days after they are first sent.

5. Your email service will automatically tabulate the winner by which one got more opens. It will then send the email with the winning subject line to the balance of your list. I think this is really magical! (the geek in me).

6. If your email is not time sensitive, here’s a great trick. Wait a few days, then send your email with the winning subject line to the people who were in the test group and received the losing subject line, and who did not open it.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 4.16.32 PM

Here are two tests we recently ran. Can you guess which email subject lines won?

Campaign #1:
A. Why You Don’t Need A Blog Calendar
B. Why I Trashed My Blog Calendar

Campaign #2:
A. Blogging is Not a Pain in the Arse
B. Afraid of blogging? Think About This:

Did you guess right? Enter your guesses in the comments section and I’ll disclose the winning subject lines next Tuesday with some thoughts about why.

UPDATE: Click here to find out the results of the subject line test!

Thanks for reading!

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Betsy Kent

Betsy Kent

I've guided hundreds of clients through my signature process and formula and as a result, they’ve generated millions of dollars in new business revenue with more ease and confidence than ever before. THE CHANGE IS MILLIONS.

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  1. Kristone on May 11, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Winners are b & a

    • Betsy Kent on May 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for guessing. Stay tuned for the results next week!


  2. Jane shook on May 11, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I liked B on both campaigns.

    • Betsy Kent on May 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Hmmm…you’ll find out next Tuesday which ones won!

      Thanks for participating.


  3. Becky on May 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Here are my guesses as the winners: Campaign #1 A and Campaign #2 B. Looking forward to hearing the answers!

    • Betsy Kent on May 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Same time same place next week! See you then!

  4. Jane Garee on May 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I’m guessing B for #1 and A for #2.

    • Betsy Kent on May 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Check out today’s post this evening…you’ll find out if you’re right!

      Thanks for guessing.


  5. Kathy Vaske on May 17, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I think B for both!

    • Betsy Kent on May 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for guessing, Kathy. Check out this week’s blog due to be published any minute now…you’ll find out if you guessed right!

  6. walk tall shoes on June 3, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

    • Betsy Kent on June 3, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Hi Fernando,

      Let me know if it works for you. I checked out your website. Very cool company! Congrats.


  7. shoe lift insoles for men on September 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm

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