Ready to Start A/B Testing? Here are 50 Ideas to Get You Started

Posted by Jen Ribble on

The first step in setting up an A/B test is deciding what to test—and the possibilities are virtually endless. If you can change it, you can test it! But that doesn’t mean you should spend months testing every aspect of your email campaign. Instead, focus on the things that are most important, or those likely to have the greatest impact.

Keep in mind, different tests will impact different parts of the conversion process. So you may want to start by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your current campaign performance. If your open rate is low, testing different subject lines is a great idea. On the other hand, if you’re looking to increase your click-through rate, you’d want to test elements like the offer or call to action (CTA).

At a high level, the elements you might want to consider include:

  • Subject line (alter the length, wording, etc.)
  • Personalization (e.g., “Mr. Smith” vs. “Kyle”)
  • Headline (vary the size, color, style, or wording)
  • Content (longer vs. shorter, text vs. visuals)
  • Layout (single column vs. two column, or different placement for different elements)
  • Imagery
  • Offer (Example: “Save 20%” vs. “Get free shipping”)
  • Call to action (Example: “Buy Now!” vs. “See Plans & Pricing”)

Need some inspiration? Here are 50 fresh ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Add personalization to your subject line.
  2. Use numbers instead of text in your subject line.
  3. Reword your subject line to create a sense of urgency.
  4. Test direct vs. “teaser” copy in your subject line.
  5. Try motivational copy (“act now”) vs. loss aversion (“don’t miss out”) in your subject line.
  6. Feature different newsletter articles in your subject line.
  7. Change your pre-header text.
  8. Try a different “From” name.
  9. Vary the size and color of your headline.
  10. Change the order of your content.
  11. Adjust the wording of your body copy.
  12. Vary copy length.
  13. Alter the tone of your copy—formal and corporate vs. casual and friendly.
  14. Try a “letter from the CEO” format vs. your normal layout.
  15. Adjust the balance of editorial vs. promotional copy.
  16. Test bulleted lists vs. paragraphs of copy.
  17. Add personalization to body copy.
  18. Change the balance of copy in the email vs. the landing page.
  19. Adjust your color scheme.
  20. Use color to highlight different parts of the email.
  21. Test a multi-colored design vs. monochromatic.
  22. Vary the size of your images.
  23. Try people images vs. product images.
  24. Test photo images vs. illustrations.
  25. Personalize images based on customer profile or preferences.
  26. Add (or move) social sharing buttons.
  27. Streamline your layout.
  28. Try a different font.
  29. Test image-heavy layout vs. text-heavy.
  30. Embed a video or animated gif.
  31. Focus on benefits vs. product features.
  32. Highlight a single product vs. many.
  33. Rewrite product descriptions.
  34. Promote products without offering a discount.
  35. Try pricing and discount variations (% off vs. $ off).
  36. Offer free shipping instead of a purchase discount.
  37. Personalize offers based on previous purchases.
  38. Include product reviews or ratings.
  39. Add a “free trial” offer.
  40. Increase (or decrease) the number of links.
  41. Change the size of your CTA button.
  42. Get creative with your CTA wording.
  43. Feature a single CTA vs. multiple different offers.
  44. Present the CTA once vs. several times.
  45. Change the order of your links or CTAs.
  46. Vary the time you send your emails.
  47. Personalize send time vs. sending all at once.
  48. Send on a different day of the week.
  49. Increase (or decrease) send frequency.
  50. Reached the end of this list? Start over at the top!

Need more guidance on the ins and outs of A/B testing? Check out our ebook, All About A/B Testing.


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About Jen Ribble

With more than 15 years of marketing and PR experience, Jen Ribble is passionate about the art of storytelling and the science of creating high quality, data-driven content. In her current role as Director of Public Relations for Return Path, Jen is responsible for elevating the company’s reputation in the marketplace, crafting engaging thought leadership content, enhancing customer relationships, and driving inbound leads. In her spare time, Jen is an aspiring chef and food lover, a movie fan, and a travel junkie.

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