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Should you run an A/B test or build an email campaign?


A series of A/B/n experiments to optimize the real estate, copy, and design on your highest-traffic landing page? Or a new lead magnet and nurture sequence?

Hopefully you’re not making decisions like this on a daily basis. In the long term, though, these questions are crucial.

A mature organization will have a CMO setting budgets, missions, targets - so the CRO person will run an A/B test and the email person will build a campaign. Get back to work. But what about with younger brands and smaller teams?

Sometimes you do neither

The two options are independent of one another.

You should not run an A/B test if:

You should not build a new email campaign if:

Sometimes you do one or the other, or both

You’ve got the skill, and the will, to run a test? And maybe it’s kind of your job? If there’s no compelling reason not to, go for it. (Same applies to building the email campaign.)

Not to mention the opportunities to A/B test your email campaign, or run an experiment on traffic from the email channel.

But what about your first test, or putting together a campaign to send to a list that’s gone cold? Creating, or resurrecting, an entire arm of your marketing program? This is best done as an experiment.

Sometimes you try one out

If you’re not currently doing email marketing, but you have the resources to test it out, keep it lean. In a month’s time, you can create a 5-email educational sequence that your prospective customers should find interesting. You can put up a landing page, and drive some traffic to the page. Once subscribers get through the sequence, you can send them a special offer.

How many visitors sign up? How many open the emails? How many clicked through to the offer? How many purchases did you get?

And of course, how much did all this cost you?

This is a tiny amount of data, but it should be enough to decide if it’s worth continuing your efforts. (How many more customers are out there?)

While you’re experimenting with email marketing, you’re all in, and the answer to “Should you build an email campaign?” is “Yeah, duh - unless we come up with a better approach.”

But if you’re not mid-experiment, and it’s not an activity you’ve prioritized based on measuring its performance, you’re officially off the hook. The answer is “not now.”

What are you experimenting with this month?

© 2022 Brian David Hall