Don’t stop email testing — failed data offer lessons to be applied in future testing efforts
The rise in digital media consumption has chiropractors all-in on switching from traditional outreach methods to modern tactics like email marketing, email testing, and taking advantage of all forms of digital outreach.
Email marketing is one of the most reliable methods to introduce new services or staff members, ask for feedback, provide health tips, share success stories or announce events. To actually see what’s working and what’s not in your newsletters and optimize the relationship with your patients, though, you should invest in email testing.
Why is A/B email testing significant?
Many marketers and business owners fall into the trap of following their instinct when they create emails, build their website or design a landing page. Guessing what will have your patients open your emails and interact with them will get you nowhere. This is where A/B testing comes in.
A/B testing (or split testing) in email marketing is the process that allows you to create different campaign variants, send them to equal parts of your target audience, determine which of them performs better, and finally, dispatch the winning version to the rest of your recipients.
Email testing is based on the fact that an element making an impact on a certain audience group, won’t do the same on a different one. So, you can monitor different newsletter components and make decisions based on data, not assumptions or case studies. Here are some of the elements that you could perform A/B testing on:
- Email copy and design
- Subject lines
- Call to actions
In case you’re wondering if it’s worth the resources, bear in mind that split testing is a cost-effective method; furthermore, you can find various affordable email marketing services that allow you to run A/B tests without losing valuable time.
Even a small change makes a difference; that’s why performing email testing on different segments of your patient database will get you trustworthy results. In this article, we will analyze the best practices to create an effective email testing strategy.
Set your goals
As with everything in email marketing, defining your overall goal is vital. Is your priority to build trust between your practice and your active patients? What channels of communication does your audience prefer? Do you need to improve your customer referral rates?
Now, how can email testing help you reach your objectives? Our advice is to opt for versions that provide potential patients with information on how to take certain actions. Offer insight into how they can improve their health through chiropractic care and remind them of the benefits your services offer. If you’re only trying to sell, they’ll be disappointed.
Think about which metrics are key for your business goals, such as open rates, click-through rates, or new patient calls. Then, measure the performance of the two variants against each other, but make sure that the A/B winner is also doing better than your current results.
Defining the key performance indicators should never come as an afterthought. Plan your testing goals beforehand to ensure you can monitor how different newsletter versions affect your audience’s behavior. Otherwise, your email testing strategy could fail, given that you might set up the wrong kind of tests to begin with.
Select the correct sample size
Getting as much information as possible regarding your audience sample is a factor you shouldn’t underestimate. That data allows you to form your testing hypothesis and offer a framework for evaluating test results. To acquire them, enrich your website or email design with elements like surveys and polls.
After doing so, you’ll have a clear picture of patients’ profiles — and more control over them. Test two equally sized and randomly selected groups to get consistent results. But how can you know that you picked the correct sample size — especially since you probably have thousands of emails in your patient database?
The answer depends on the split testing you wish to perform, your current conversion rates, and the percentage of revenue increase you’re going after. In email campaigns, your sample size should be large enough to produce statistically significant and qualitative results.
There are no standard figures but you definitely need to calculate your sample size ahead of time to draw reliable conclusions. When your tests are completed, you will have an AB winner to send to the rest of your list.
Test one element at a time
As mentioned, there are multiple elements to put to test. To measure the effectiveness of each test, it’s crucial to isolate each variable; this way, when monitoring results, you will be able to determine the one responsible for changes in your campaign performance.
For instance, you might choose to test different wording in your subject lines to pinpoint the version with the highest open rate. Include precise and inspiring phrases like: “Check out these self-care tips” or how-to guides to describe your email value and intrigue recipients’ curiosity.
Another example would be to test different types of high-quality images inside your newsletters. Adding images of you or your team might prove to be more effective than a generic image since patients prefer to see the people who will treat them in a potential visit.
So, even something small like changing the CTA copy or color, adding testimonial videos, placing social share buttons for recipients to share your tips on their social media, or replacing an image can boost your newsletter performance. Split tests will give you all the answers you need and help you discover what content resonates with your audience.
Form your hypothesis
Once you set your priorities, it’s time to come up with a hypothesis and run an experiment. If you start testing without a clear hypothesis such as “Version A will outperform version B,” you’re just wasting time.
A hypothesis is an idea about which variable to test — and why — and what changes you expect after applying the winning variant. It identifies the sticking points between your patients’ needs and your clinic’s objectives.
In order to be tested, a good hypothesis must be measurable, while also solving a conversion problem and offering you more insight into the market. By forming a solid hypothesis that answers the questions mentioned, you gather valuable information about your patients, no matter the test results.
Deciding on the best practices to reduce these sticking points will lead to an effective testing strategy. So, make sure you test variations that address them to check what works best for your patient retention strategy.
Analyze and repeat
So, you’ve done your homework and run the tests. Now it’s time to analyze your results. Take the time to double-check your data through Google Analytics; it will make you more confident about the information acquired. Focus on analyzing your goal metrics and monitoring the actions of each patient segment.
Did your hypothesis win or lose? Have your tests brought statistically significant results? Has the winning variant led to more appointments? If so, consider implementing the changes needed to enhance your newsletter effectiveness and sending the winning variant to the rest of your audience.
If not, then you’ll know that the variable tested didn’t produce the desired impact or that your results are inconclusive. In that case, you can either use your original email version or change your hypothesis and run a different test.
Email testing: give it time
Last but not least, we strongly recommend that you don’t stop email testing. Failed data offer lessons to be applied in future testing efforts. Keep testing even if you had the desired outcome. As the saying goes: repetition is the mother of learning. Your patients’ needs and preferences keep evolving, so there’s always room for optimization.
Email testing is an essential method to showcase what type of email marketing content generates qualified leads and enhances patient engagement. There are many tools that enable you to test, but you need patience and thorough research to make it work.
Remember to give your tests time in order to have accurate results and not get discouraged if your first attempts seem to fail. Run tests all the time, use different variables to check their impact, and follow the scheme analyzed above to set priorities.
The competitive chiropractic landscape will keep challenging you; creating a carefully planned email testing strategy is key to tackling the new questions arising more rapidly than your competitors.
MARIA FINTANIDOU works as a copywriter for email marketing automation software Moosend, creating help articles (FAQs) and overseeing the platform’s translations in Greek and Spanish. She loves exploring new cultures and ways of thinking through traveling, reading, and language learning.