Testing your email campaigns is important because it ensures that your campaign looks the way you want it to. This way, you know how the campaign will display on different browsers or email clients. This testing process can also help ensure that your campaign is legally compliant which is imperative for successful delivery.

Furthermore, testing lets you figure out what’s working with your campaigns and what’s not. You can collect valuable data through A/B testing and learn how to best appeal to your audience. Without testing, you wouldn’t know how well received something is or how to adapt your campaign accordingly.

Testing for different ESPs

As you may know, emails are rendered differently in each email client. This is largely because email clients use different rendering engines, but other factors also come into play that can cause these discrepancies.

There’s also variation on how different browsers and devices display emails. Testing is important from a visual standpoint to be sure that your email looks exactly the way you want it to on multiple browsers before it reaches your audience.

To test, it’s recommended to set up test accounts for different email clients. You can choose which email accounts to create based on how many of your contacts use each email domain. For example, if you’re primarily a B2B sender you would want to test in Outlook and Gmail to make sure things look correct before sending out your campaign.

Your test may indicate that adjusting your campaign is necessary. For example, if there are unwanted spaces you can adjust line height. Or, if the text is too spaced together, maybe add a spacer and re-test. Testing is a game of patience as well as trial and error.

Double checking every component is the key to a successful campaign. Open your emails in different browsers to be sure that you are sending the campaign that you want. Check images for distortion and generally if images are displaying as you would like. Be sure that all personalization tags are displayed properly. Also, click all of your links – are the links clickable? Do they go to the correct pages? If not, make adjustments and re-test.

Here’s a Help Center article that provides more detail about testing your campaign.

You will find that testing provides peace of mind and ensures that your campaigns will be successful.

Make sure your emails are compliant

ActiveCampaign has backend protections to ensure legal compliance to email legislation (CAN-SPAM, CASL, GDPR) as well as our Terms of Service (TOS) agreement. This means that your email may be paused from sending if it does not conform to these standards. This is not just to ensure quality emails to your audiences, but is also in place to protect your sender reputation and deliverability rates. You can avoid these delays by making sure that your emails are compliant before sending.

Display a physical address in the footer of your email

In order to comply with anti-spam legislation, your outbound campaigns must display a clear, valid, physical mailing address.

You can view the address in your account under Settings, click the Addresses tab, then the dropdown arrow next to your address.

If your physical address is the same color as the background of your campaign, you may need to modify the default footer. Here’s a Help Center article that walks you through this process.

How to change the default footer.

Check unsubscribe links

All campaigns and automation emails are required to include an unsubscribe link. When you’re sending from ActiveCampaign, only ActiveCampaign unsubscribe links are permitted.

This help article will provide more insight into the requirements of an unsubscribe link.

A/B Testing

A/B testing or split testing will help you figure out what’s working and what’s not. It’s important to remember that different contact lists respond differently to different content and subject lines. Learning what contacts respond to can feel arbitrary without some data. This data is often gathered using split testing.

ActiveCampaign has a split testing functionality to help you perform A/B testing.

Get started with split testing in ActiveCampaign.

Here are elements to optimize when conducting an A/B test:

  • Subject Lines
  • Content
  • Images
  • Design choices
  • Call-to-action
  • Send time Optimisation
  • Offers/deals

After selecting a specific element that you’re looking to test, you will need to select your group of contacts. It’s recommended to only test one item at a time so it’s easy to determine what’s working and what’s not.

For example, email A will be using a different subject line than email B. If email A is the ‘winner’, then that’s verifiable proof that this contact list is more drawn towards that subject line. Looking at open rates, unsubscribes and clickthrough rates for both sides of your test can help you determine what is working, or what can be improved upon. Tip: Develop the mindset of always testing your control. What worked well one day might not work as well a month from now. Challenge yourself to iterate on your successes vs getting complacent with your controls.

Building Split Test Automations

(Split automations available for Plus plans and above)

Split Test Automations offers a lot of flexibility, and the whole purpose of doing so is to measure performance. There are infinite paths for your contacts to take, and you can designate a winner in many ways. This route varies from split test campaigns because a path of an automation is determined as the winner rather than just a single campaign. This allows you to gauge how a series of emails are performing for a higher level view of what’s performing well.

For more information about split testing automations, check out this help article.

Optimizing Send Times

(Predictive Sending is for Professional plans and above)

Send times are a crucial testing variable. Generally, the favorite days to send emails on are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Typically mornings perform best from 8-10am. However, it depends on your audience as mobile users are more likely to check their emails in the late afternoon/evening.

Email providers tend to be the busiest on the hour and half past the hour; for example 8am or 8:30am. So scheduling at 8:10am or 8:50am minimizes the risk of throttling due to the large volumes mailbox providers are attempting to process. Different lists can have different preferred send times so it’s an important variable to test to see what works.

Within automations, Predictive Sending can help optimize send times for contacts that operate in different timezones – here’s how to use it.

Custom Reporting

(Available for Enterprise plans)

You can use Custom Reporting to quickly view the metrics that mean the most to you. This can be helpful when testing because you can easily compare performance based on your defined success metrics. Custom Reporting is available on the Enterprise plan.

Don’t be afraid to pivot if you’re not seeing success

“ActiveCampaign is our main email marketing automation and CRM tool – mostly because it covers both tasks so well.” — Aaron Brooks, Venture Harbor

The reality is that sometimes we don’t get the results that we’re hoping for.

If a test and doesn’t perform in a way that you would’ve liked don’t be afraid to switch gears. It’s a creative journey to figure out what works best for your contact lists and that means continually trying new things. Ultimately, without performing tests, you would never know what is the optimal email for your contact lists.