3 Tests to Perform on Your Email Program Now

Andrew Kordek

3 minute read

3 Tests to Perform on Your Email Program Now

To test is to learn, and for the last 15 years people have beaten the email testing drum so hard and so many times, that it’s a lot like having echolalia.

In keeping with that beating drum of “test, test, test” here are 3 key tests to perform on your email programs today. If executed right they can provide a lift in performance, and produce a new and improved control for you to continue to test and optimize.

1. Welcome Email Resend

If you don’t have a Welcome email for your program, shame on you. Not only is this the first impression the new subscriber has with your brand (through email), but it’s quite possibly one of the most profitable in terms of Revenue Per Email. When I managed triggered and transactional email at Sears and Kmart, Welcome emails contributed around $7,000,000 a year to the program (yes…it had a discount…but we also tested a No Offer as well). 

There have been numerous studies, suggestions, POVs and even best practice guides on when to send a Welcome email, and for the purposes of this recommendation I trust you have read, retained and tested all of those suggestions. To that end, no matter when you send it, have you ever thought about taking the Welcome email and skinning the creative a different way? Try testing it with some new Subject Lines as a resend to those that didn’t open and/or didn’t click?

Here are a few ways to test this resend:

  •      Send it at the exact same time they opted in but 24 or 48 hours later, and suppress them from any other emails in the program.
  •      If you have a login to your site and no engagement in other emails that have gone out, trigger it based on when they come back to the site again.
  •      Use a Send Time Optimization tool like AudiencePoint, that can pinpoint the peak times an individual subscriber personally engages with email.

The only word of caution I have around resends is that you start with a small (say 20%) segment. Then look at engagement/attrition of the subscriber base to see if that offsets the “cost” of an additional email.

2. The Dead or Alive Test

Yes…your email list disengages and unsubscribes. I have heard that in some cases they do this at a rate of around 30% per year. However, did you know that 50% of your list can actually die during the year. Yes, die. However this test is not about seeing if they are dead or alive, it’s about all those darn inactive people.

Here is the test:

  •      Take your worst subscribers and I mean the worst subscribers that you have (you define worst…not me) and run them through a list cleansing service like BriteVerify or Webbula to see how many are still valid address’.
  •      Then…find a company who can look at those email address’ against their data pool to see if they are actually active in email across other programs. They are out there…or you can email us and we can help. Once that segment is culled down to those that are known engagers that is your list. Bam…you are 1/2 way there.
  •      Create an email that is on brand, but a little bit edgy (e,g. – we will deactivate you if you don’t respond or an eject now from the program type of email or a thumbs up/thumbs down theme). If you need more assistance Trendline can help.
  •      Send the email campaign in small batches testing several Subject Lines and different times of the day (TOD), and gauge the lift.
  •      Rinse and Repeat.

Cross your fingers when doing all of this…but then get rid of those that don’t respond. Yes…it is ok to purge your list.

3. The Domain ROI Test

I know that this may sound silly, but do you know what email domains in your database perform the best? We have all heard of the stereotypes and personas around the users of Gmail vs. AOL vs. Earthlink vs. MSN vs. Yahoo, but did you know that you can use information gathered from a test like this for the future? For example, let’s say that you find out that Yahoo users not only engage at a higher rate than other domains, but they are in fact the most profitable. Would you treat them differently going forward or when they sign up? The same would hold true if you found out the opposite right?

Here are the parameters for the test:

  •      Separate your five largest domains into segments.
  •      Send the same creative to each of the domains for a period of time. That period of time needs to be based on your send frequency as there is no silver bullet here. I can however say with confidence that this is not a “One and Done” test.
  •      Track both engagement and revenue by domain over a period of time and then decide what to do next.

These three tests are not the norm and should be treated as larger learnings tests. If you do any of these and want to share the results, please email us.



Want to take your email program to the next level and get better results with your testing strategy? We’re here to help.


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About the Author(s)

Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is a Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive.

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