A big part of email marketing – of all marketing – is finding out what works best for your brand and audience. For those just starting on our email platform or those who are looking to change up how they make their emails, it can be stressful to ...

Getting Started with A/B Testing Your Emails

A-B test. AB comparison. Split testing.

A big part of email marketing – of all marketing – is finding out what works best for your brand and audience. For those just starting on our email platform or those who are looking to change up how they make their emails, it can be stressful to figure out what might work best.

There are many guides out there to improving your open and click-through rates on your mailings (check out our Knowledge Base and blog for great starting points), but one of the best ways is to send and compare two mailings through A/B testing.

Understanding A/B Tests in Marketing

A/B testing (also known as bucket tests or split-run testing) is a way to test changes to a single variable in your email marketing to see which is more effective.

A/B testing has three major components:

  • A test audience randomly split into two groups. The randomness is important, as manually picking them could result in two groups that are already biased by your selection.
  • Changing a single variable in the version you’re sending out. While you can change multiple sections, changing a single part (such as the subject line or CTA) allows you to better see what exactly influenced their behavior.
  • Comparing the results of your test. It’s important to have the tools to analyze the changes in audience behavior (open rates, clicks, etc.). Otherwise, it can be difficult to determine what did or did not work.

A/B testing is used throughout the marketing world because it can be applied to almost any marketing and content created and can quickly provide results. Let’s look at how it applies to email marketing.

Why Use A/B Testing in Your Mailings?

A/B tests are (with the right tools) easy to set up and provide data to understand, allowing you to quickly figure out what changes are improving your mailings.

The more often you perform these tests, the better you can refine your email marketing strategy. Having evidence of what does and does not work allows you to make better decisions and craft better marketing geared towards what works for your audience and brand.

Because of this, you can spend less time finding out what works in your email marketing. These tests give you the data to improve the ROI of your mailings, especially when it comes to sales funnels and automated email marketing that directly impact your business’s bottom line.

How and Where to Use A/B Testing in Email Marketing

Now that we’ve gone over the what and the why, let’s look at how you can apply A/B testing directly to your emails. Below you’ll find the best variables to start making changes and how you can use the tools built directly into FeedBlitz to set up test groups with the click of a button.

Items to A/B Test in Your Emails

Below are the most common elements in your mailings that making small changes can make big impacts.

  • Subject Line: The subject line heavily influences both your deliverability and open rate as it’s the first thing people see. Try using a more formal subject line and a more casual one.
  • Preview Text: After the subject line, many people review this to get a feel for the content of your email. Try one that is a list of contents and another describing the theme.
  • Email Images: Images can make a big influence on the tone and engagement of your email. Try either variation with or without images or try ones with different themes (such as landscapes vs. people).
  • Content: What are you saying in your emails? Try changing the voice you use in your emails, from something a little more formal to something personally engaging the reader.
  • Calls to Action: Somewhere in your mailing, you should try to get the user to take action (by a product, visit your website, etc.). Try changing the content or placement of this CTA.

How to Create A and B Subscriber Lists

In Feedblitz, creating separate mailing lists for testing is easy. Simply select the list you want to send to, open the subscriber menu, and click “A/B List Splitter.”

FeedBlitz client UI focusing on A/B list splits.

Start split testing your emails in no time with FeedBlitz’s automated A/B List Splitter.

After you split the list into the two groups, send your email to the first list. Then using our resend function, you can easily and quickly resend the email to your second list with the changed variable.

Analyzing your A/B Test Results

Before starting the A/B split, it’s important to think about what results you’re looking for with changing the items in the mailings.

Identify what you’re measuring beforehand so you can better analyze the results of your A/B test.

Items to measure when A/B testing include:

  • Open rates
  • Clicks
  • Replies
  • Forwards

The metric you’ll be measuring in your test will signal which variable is best to edit. Looking to increase open rates? Try working with your subject lines. Hoping for more click-throughs, forwards or replies? Adjust the text or placement of your CTAs.

It’s important to note that when checking your results, always consider your margin of error (MOE). The MOE is roughly the square root of your sample size, and so once you know your MOE, you can gauge which test was the most successful.

And that’s the basics of A/B testing in email marketing, a great way of improving your mailings made easy with the tools FeedBlitz provides. The next time you’re going to send out a newsletter or promotional email, think about using an A/B test to start improving your emails.

If you want to learn more about applying A/B testing on your email marketing or about the tools FeedBlitz provides, visit our Support Page for email, chat, and voice options. Live support is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern.

    
 

Should You Use Gifs in Your Emails?

Laptop with envelope and GIF file with question mark.

On websites, social media, and even messaging apps, animations are everywhere. Why not have them in your mailings as well? Marketing is all about capturing interest and gifs can be another tool in your arsenal.

If a picture says a thousand words, what does a gif say? Let’s explore how to use animated gifs in your email marketing strategy.

Media in Your Newsletters Improves Engagement

Adding in any kind of media, from images to videos, helps improve the user experience with your email marketing. Newsletters are a way to keep in contact with your customers and subscribers, and showing (not just telling) your news is an excellent way to improve reading times and engagement.

Gifs offer a unique ability to provide a quick animation that tells even more than images but less time-consuming than video. And they can provide entertainment value, to drive home or emphasize a point in your email.

Why Add Gifs to Your Mailings?

Gifs are having a moment, making them a great source for both younger and older readers. Here are some of the ways they can bring extra life to your newsletters.

Movement Catches Attention

We’re wired to pay attention to movement. While static images are easy to skim over and video requires interaction to play, gifs grab attention immediately, allowing you to highlight key content instantly.

Show Off Multiple Products and Services

If you want to cover multiple subjects but don’t want to cram a gallery of images into one email, gifs are a great way of showcasing multiple products, services, or photographs without taking up a lot of space.

Video Previews

Use gifs are an intriguing way to encourage readers to engage with your videos. Instead of a static image, show a clip of the video in a gif.

Stand Out in the Inbox

Your subscribers are getting hundreds of emails every day. Adding gifs to your newsletters is a way to easily grab attention and provide entertainment or information in a way that makes your emails stand out above the crowd – especially because not everyone is using them!

How to Put Gifs into Your Emails

Generally speaking, gifs are a cinch to put into your mailings. Most email service providers will allow you to select gifs when inserting an image, making them as easy to insert as regular graphics.

Here at FeedBlitz, simply upload the gif like you would any image.

Gif of adding an image in the FeedBlitz VME.

Uploading images and gifs to your mailings is a breeze with our new UI in our VME.

Note that to avoiding size limits and allowing your subscribers to quickly download emails, image sizes are limited to 2 MB in the Visual Mailing Editor (VME).

Common Questions About Gifs in Email Marketing

Do you have questions on how to get started with gifs? We’ve got answers.

  • Are gifs supported on most email clients? Most major email clients support gifs. It’s important to note that on the Outlook app that gifs do not play but instead show the first frame of your gif, so make sure it’s a good static image.
  • How do I make gifs? Start with a video or selection of images. Many image editors, such as Photoshop or Snagit, allow you to create gifs (tutorial here), or you could try online options like Tenor or Imgur.
  • How long or large should they be? For mailings, we recommend making them 2 MBs or smaller to fit image upload sizes. You can always make multiple versions and have a larger version link from the gif – a great way of bringing people to your website.

Your email marketing, from monthly mailings to automated funnels, can take advantage of gifs to enhance user engagement – it’s all about making email marketing that your customers are delighted to open. Try using the above tips to place a gif into your next newsletter showing off the fun video your staff made or including an animated slideshow of your products in your email follow-up to purchases.

Interested in learning more about how to use gifs and other marketing techniques for better mailings? It’s time to reach out to our team. Drop us a line at our chat, shoot us an email, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Also, check out our extensive Knowledge Base for help with everything FeedBlitz.

Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern. We hope to hear from you soon.

    
 

5 Ways to Target and Shape Your Mailings with Groups

A woman checks her cell phone to see new email notifications.

Sending targeted mailings to your subscribers is one of the most successful ways to boost open rates, click throughs, and social shares. You’re sending content created specifically for those subscribers, using their owwn language, and based off their previous actions.

The idea of figuring out how to target your subscribers effectively may seem overwhelming, but there’s two key elements that create the perfect environment for easy targeting to take place: tagging and segmentation.

Working with tagging and segmentation allows you to shape the audience of your emails, offering a way to send targeted content to your subscribers with maximum benefits.

To do this effectively, you want to split your mailing lists into subsets characterized by a certain quality. For example, you could create subsets of every subscriber who:

  • Finished a specific funnel sequence.
  • Clicked a link in one of your emails.
  • Attended a previous event.

There’s a lot of room for customization when it comes to creating smaller bundles of your email subscribers. And although extremely beneficial, creating these subsets of subscribers hasn’t always been easy.

Formerly a multi-step process which included many tedious tasks, the idea of sending targeted mailings in this way was often left to the big brands and large-scale email marketing teams.

However, times have changed, cutting this process in half – and largely automating it – with FeedBlitz groups. Now it’s easier than ever to create these subsets of subscribers, opening the door for higher quality email content, better open rates, increased engagement and more.

What are groups?

Groups are a static list of email addresses in your account. You can’t mail to groups directly, but you can use them to organize your subscribers and shape your mailings to create targeted email.

Sending a mailing to your email list you can choose to mail to the entire list, or choose to shape the audience by applying a group to the list. The mailing will then only be sent to the list members who either are in the group or who are not in the group based on the setting chosen in the campaign editor.

Using one of our examples above, if you have a group of email subscribers who have clicked a link in one of your previous emails – let’s say it’s a link to find out more information about an upcoming product launch – you can use this group to send a targeted follow-up email with more information about the product, an exclusive preview, or VIP access to purchase.

As you know this group of subscribers is already interested, they are more likely to open, engage, and purchase your new product.

Let’s take a look at how this works out visually:
A diagram showing how to shape your mailings using groups.

Getting Started with Groups

There are many, many ways to work with groups when it comes to organizing your subscribers and applying them to your email campaigns. To get started, we suggest picking a few of the methods mentioned below.

  1. Target and shape your mailings with groups. The term – shape your mailings – relates to the audience receiving your email. While it’s easy to send a campaign to a particular mailing list; or to add additional mailing lists to your campaign, you can use groups to target the exact audience, depending on what email addresses are either included or not included in a group.

    Depending on the criteria that create your groups, you can narrow down your audience by details such as subscriber activity, interest, zip code, and more.

    This is the quickest method to send an email to subscribers all tagged with the same information. A group is also how you would apply a suppression list to your mailing if working with an affiliate.

  2. Using groups to boost email automation. Groups offer an excellent way to boost your email automation by allowing you to automatically add subscribers to designated groups, based on actions taken within a funnel campaign.

    This includes setting up funnel triggers and/or activity conditions for your sequence emails. You can learn more about both of these processes in detail with step-by-step instructions here.

  3. Working with groups and triggers. Briefly mentioned above, triggers can automate your group membership. You can easily create a new group and upload a list of email addresses or manually enter one address at a time, however by setting triggers for your mailing lists new subscribers can automatically be added to a designated group.

    This is also true for people who unsubscribe from your mailing list. Since you cannot mail directly to a group, any email address who unsubscribes from your email list can be added to a group for your tracking preferences.

    Check out our support article, Automatically Add or Remove Subscribers To or From a Group with Triggers, for more information and directions on how to put these triggers in place.

  4. Complete bulk subscriber actions with groups. Previously, if you wanted to complete a bulk action for part of your mailing list, multiple steps were involved such as exporting, sorting, filtering, re-importing, etc. Now, with groups, you can pull a subset of your subscribers and complete these bulk actions in a matter of a few clicks.

    Bulk actions include things such as:

    • Applying a tag to subscribers in a mailing list or funnel campaign.
    • Moving/Assigning subscribers from one mailing list or funnel campaign to another.
    • Copying subscribers from one mailing list or funnel campaign to another.
  5. Creating groups based on subscriber activity and engagement. When you send an email campaign in FeedBlitz, regardless of whether it’s automated or a single mailing, each send generates its own set of engagement data including open rates, clicks, engagement, forwards, bounces, and so on. Combining this data with groups allows you to segment your subscribers based on their activity and engagement with a specific email campaign.

    From any email campaign, you can create a new group (or choose to add subscribers to an existing group) who have opened the campaign or clicked a link in the campaign – just like our example mentioned above.

    Both of these workflows start from your mailing dashboard where the engagement data is available. To get started creating these groups, head over to Creating Groups Based on Subscriber Activity and Engagement for guided directions.

Working with Groups at All Stages of Email Marketing

With the ease of creating and automating group membership, sending targeted email content is now a fairly simple process, and can be used by email marketers at all levels.

For beginners, this sets a strong foundation for your email marketing practices to set a path for growth. Mid-level email marketers have the tools to expand their email marketing to the next level, and seasoned email marketers can enjoy the value of time-saving benefits from a simplified workflow and automation to craft highly targeted emails to their subscribers.

If you have any questions about groups, targeting subscribers or shaping your mailings, please don’t hesitate to let us know. You can find all of our great support resources and how to get in touch with us via email, chat or phone on our Support Page. Developers looking for assistance in working with the FeedBlitz API can find all of this information here.

    
 

4 Useful Ways to Segment Your Subscriber List

Hand holding a blue card with an email icon.

It’s important to not only have a subscriber list, but to understand it and make the most of it. What content brings in users? Why do certain users engage more than others? Who is under-engaged on this list, and how do you reach them?

Cue segmentation. By segmenting your user list in various (and simultaneous) ways, you can create new lists to target with specific email marketing tailored to them. At FeedBlitz, this is all about working with tagging and groups.

Tags are information about subscribers, from their name and location to how they joined your email list. Groups are static lists of user email you create to help shape your mailings, independent from any mailing lists you create. Below we’ll look at using both to create better emails.

1: Target Your Top Subscribers

It’s important to know who consistently opens your emails when you send them. These are your top subscribers, and by creating segmentation that includes them, you’ve got the perfect group for testing and rewarding engagement.

Here at FeedBlitz, we automatically produce a “Hot List” segmentation for you of all the users who have high engagement levels – engaging with 2/3rds or more of your mailings. You can also set a date if you’re looking for longtime users or your entire pool. This top subscriber list is great for:

  • Survey and gather important feedback from subscribers.
  • Test new product releases with an engaged audience.
  • Send rewards to loyal customers.
  • Exclude top subscribers to focus on engaging others.

To learn more about using the Hot List, check out our post: Target Top Subscribers in 15 Seconds or Less.

2: Re-Engage Your Inactive Subs

Just like it’s important to target your users who are the most engaged by your email marketing, it’s also important to bring back users who have gone inactive on your lists. Just like with Hot Lists, FeedBlitz also tracks users that are completely inactive or who are the inverse of your hotlist (who did not engage with at least 2/3rds of your mailings).

Using this segment, you’ve got the option to create a re-engagement campaign or funnel to bring more users on your current list out of the cold. It also allows you to keep your mailing list clean and removal anyone who isn’t interested in your email marketing.

Want to learn more? See our full post written up on re-engaging with inactive users.

3: Target Content by Subscription Source

If you have multiple ways of gaining email subscribers – from popup forms to product purchases to subscribe by text – you can use this information to create targeted emails for those audiences. While it would be a pain to sort through these manually and to create new lists for each, with tagging and groups you don’t have to.

By creating the tags and groups, you can quickly apply these origin tags to your subscribers – as well as setting these up automatically for sidebar and popup forms. By adding those with tags to a specific group, you can better target those users. Some suggestions below:

  • Blog Suggestions: Have a lot of users who subscribed via a single blog post? Place them in a group and send them suggestions for other blogs or materials to read.
  • Product Review Follow-ups: Follow up with users who used your product to ask how it’s working and request a review.
  • Offer New Email Marketing: Offer those who signed up for newsletters or blogs options to receive the other in addition.

This is invaluable for content creators who attract users from the different mediums they write in or businesses whose clients and leads gravitate toward different products. Learn more about how to put groups to work in this post.

4: Start a Journey for New Subscribers

Your list is always growing, and you must grow with it. Think about providing a subscriber journey to them in the form of an introductory funnel for them to explore your content and opt in or out of your various email marketing, all of it done through email automation.

Flow chart of FeedBlitz email funnels for subscriber journeys.

From confirmation emails to post-sales follow-ups, automated email funnels can bring in new and returning customers without you having to lift a finger.

With new email subscribers, it’s important for them to have a positive subscriber journey, both in terms of the new GDPR “privacy first” culture and making sure they are involved in your brand.

Email automation allows you to make sure they are both engaged and happy with your emails, through automatically segmenting subscribers by actions they’ve taken. Learn more about email automation funnels here.

Interested in learning more about the tools and tricks we described in this blog? Send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also use our chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern.

    
 

How to Make Popup Email Subscription Forms That Work

Subscribe form for email concept.

There’s a myriad amount of ways to gain new subscribers to your email lists, from subscribe-by-text to opt-ins during checkout. But one of the most powerful ways is to have an email subscription form on your website that brings itself to your users’ attention.

When done well, using a popup form can bring in fresh users who visit your website – however, when done poorly, that same popup subscription form can hurt your website traffic and even your ranking.

Popup Subscription Forms 101

Before we talk about making better popup sub forms, let’s take a look at the basics: the need that these popup forms fill, what versions might work best for your situation, and how they’re perceived by users (use visitors instead of users) of your website.

The Goal of Gaining Subscribers

Before you create a popup form, it’s important to know what your goal is. Are you starting a mailing list for future email marketing? Or are you growing a current list?

If you’re looking to target your popups to capture a specific audience rather than a general one, consider what page to place it on for best effect.

Avoiding Turning Away Users

The best way to avoid turning away potential subscribers is simplicity itself. Our friends at Sumo (one of our integration partners) have compiled a study on almost two billion popup forms to show what’s working, what isn’t, and what you should expect.

The biggest takeaway? Simple is better.

In a comparison of complicated forms with images and long-form writing of calls to action and simple forms with only a single line of text, they found that the latter had a 30% higher performance.

Make sure to check out their full article, Pop-up Statistics: Findings From Analyzing 2 Billion Pop-up Examples, for more email popup statistics.

Types of Popup Subscription Forms

Popup forms come in many different types and styles. Often their most defining characteristics is what triggers them and where they pop up.

  • Standard Popup Form: These are popups that trigger shortly after a user starts visiting your website, where their attention is strongest. However, showing these too often or poorly made can hurt their experience. Use sparring for limited-time events or sales.
  • Exit Intent Forms: When a user is showing “exit intent” such as switching to another tab or focusing on another app, these forms pop up to offer “before you go” calls to action to sign up.
  • Scroll Activated Forms: These forms trigger when a user has scrolled down a page to a certain height, perfect for end-of-blog popups and page scrolls when a user has a good idea of the content and services you provide.

Three Ways to Put the Smart in SmartForms

Here at FeedBlitz, we have an easy-to-use subscription form system known as SmartForms. These forms can be customized to come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and positions on your website, including as a popup on your website.

What separates an annoying popup from an effective one? Let’s go over the three golden settings.

  • What page to show the form on. This setting describes how many pages a visitor should browse before showing the page off. Setting it higher allows a user to show interest and commitment before you ask them to subscribe.
  • How long to wait until the form shows. This setting is all about time. Giving a delay between visiting a page and showing the popup can making the difference, even if it is only by a few seconds.
  • When to show the form again. If someone has clicked out of or away from a pop-form, the last thing you should do is show it to them again immediately. This allows you to put in a delay in days before you ask them again to sign up.
FeedBlitz SmartForm screenshot.

It’s important to be able to track the success of your popup subscription forms. Using FeedBlitz SmartForms allows you to track popular and highest converting forms.

Create a Form Your Audience Will Use

There’s a fine line between popups that are too aggressive and too passive. To create a subscription form that will be used, it’s important to avoid the common mistakes that annoy users.

Some of these mistakes can also hurt your page ranking (part of the “intrusive interstitials” Google started back in 2016), so it’s very important to design your forms with your readers in mind.

Designing the Ideal Email Subscription Form

Bringing all the above together can seem like a challenge, but we’ve got a step by step process on how to create an email subscription form that can be tailored for everything from monthly newsletters to blog feeds.

Quick and easy, this gives you a form code that can easily be integrated into your website, including all the tips and tricks above to make sure your forms don’t annoy your users.

Here at FeedBlitz, we believe you should have newsletter form and email subscription popups as effective and elegant as your newsletters and eblasts. Remember that popups are a great resource, but shouldn’t be your only form of subscription. They are only a part in the grander scope of email marketing strategy.

Interested in learning more about what we can do for you as your active email service provider? Send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also use our chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern.