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Surprisingly, just 7% of marketers consider their email marketing automation campaigns as very successful according to the 2015 Email Marketing Industry Census. Yet around a third of respondents still claim it to be a focus area for 2015. If we ask ourselves why this is, our belief is that yes, email automation is increasingly popular, but still not honed to 100% of its capabilities, and users recognize this.

As with any marketing campaign, it has to be a case of develop, launch, test, report, refine, repeat. Just launching and leaving a campaign to do its own thing is not acceptable in today’s world of advanced reporting, data analysis and number crunching.

If you don’t get 100% conversions from your emails, there’s something you can improve. So test and tweak away!

Four things to always remember about email marketing automation testing

There are hundreds of ways to improve your email marketing performance. But to get you started, I’ve selected four key email automation testing takeaways.

Shift the way you test

Don’t forget, this is not a run-of-the-mill A/B test, it’s more the test of a hypothesis instead. You’ve been thinking ahead, working out how you believe your target audience will behave and how they will follow your automation journey. Yet once implemented, this needs to be checked and adjusted – otherwise, you’re just guessing. It’s not just A/B testing, it’s bigger than that.

When to test

Remember, with marketing automation you won’t be able to test as often as you would with standard email newsletters because the sample size is smaller. That’s fine, just set your tests to run for longer and compare your chunks of data of one variation with chunks of data from another variation, rather than running them simultaneously. Reaping the benefits of testing email marketing automation may take longer, but you’re examining a series of actions rather than just one, and the rewards will therefore be far greater too.

Think about your target audience

Everybody changes over time, it’s only natural, and your customers will change too. Think about their professional and personal influences, and how their attitudes and reactions might shift. Changes in the behavior of your target audience mean you need to test first to adapt your strategy, and then repeat tests at regular intervals to see if your initial result still applies.

Keep a record of your tests/changes

If you don’t keep records it’ll be a case of the blind leading the blind. Keep evidence of your findings to show how and why you’ve made changes and the improvements you’ve seen. It’ll be helpful for you to look back on, and for your staff and managers for best practice too. You can read other A/B testing tips here.

Are you just setting and forgetting? Know you need to test more but not sure where or how to start?

Download our free e-guide “Optimize your email campaign performance with testing” to learn more about email marketing testing, what to test and how to interpret the results.