Q&A from our "How to Test Your Way to High-Converting Emails" webinar


Want to know the secret for driving engagement and selling more through email? It all boils down to understanding what works best with your audience. How do you figure that out? It starts with adopting a testing mindset so you can find your own best practices.


In this free, one-hour webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How to convert more by ensuring your emails land in the inbox
  • How to design great emails that catch their attention and drive action
  • The role that testing plays in optimizing emails for your audience


About our guest: Jaina Mistry is an email marketer with over 15 years of experience in the industry and has worn almost as many email hats. When she’s not fine-tuning Litmus’ email marketing program you’ll find her baking up a storm in the kitchen.


You can view the webinar directly through Wistia or right here on the Blog!




A/B Testing


I have only seen subject line A/B testing. Are there other testing options through Constant Contact?

At this time, there is only subject line A/B testing available in accounts. You can manually test other areas of your emails by splitting your list in two and sending two different emails.


What are the most current words to avoid in subject lines? “Free” was mentioned but I’m looking for other phrases to use.

One of the best ways is to look at your reporting and some of the common words or phrases that cause your campaign to end up in the spam or junk folder. Maybe you had a low open rate for a campaign with some spammy words. We have an article that outlines phrases that trigger spam filters but we see these are fine to use sparingly. For alternative phrases to “free”, try “limited” or “complementary”.


How many times do you have to test a variable in order to get actionable information? Once doesn't seem like a very reliable sample size.

Test at least 3 times. If the results are consistently showing improvements or the opposite, then the test is providing actionable information. If the tests aren't showing consistent results one way or another, pivot to another variable


What would you recommend for testing if you are just starting to send emails? I'm working with a nonprofit and their account is brand new. How do we make decisions about what performs best with no background data?

It's a good idea to just start sending and collecting data. Start by A/B testing subject lines to see if different types stand out and get people to take action or whatever else you are hoping to see as an end result. Beyond that, you'll want to test different types of content, news, and education about your cause. Have a good mix of asking for volunteers/donors or other types of information that keeps people updated on what's happening and the progress you're making with some projects or goals.


Optimizing Campaign Designs


What are your thoughts on putting text within the text box in an email vs. on an image? Will the image show up in the inbox for most people?

Depending on what you want to accomplish, either can be fine. Using text on an image is great for a small amount of text. If you have a lot more text, it will be hard to read in an image. Another thing to consider is that you don't want to send an email that's only an image. This can cause spam filtering and also issues if people don't click to see the images in your email. 


Do you have any recommendations for how to optimize email designs for conversions when the majority of our clients use email providers that don't automatically load images?

Lean into plain-text-style emails! They're effective and quick to turn around, especially with contacts who have limitations with loading images. Litmus has a great guide on best practices for creating plain-text emails


For monthly newsletters that have had a very consistent layout but a not-so-high conversion rate, how often do you recommend completely changing and testing new layouts?

Try a new layout every quarter or three months. As the first set of three months passes, assess the results of the test to determine what you want to test in the next 3 months. 


What is the ideal length of a marketing email or newsletter? We have been using 1-2 pages if the email were printed out, but some departments think it's too limiting.

We recommend no more than 3 topics per newsletter. The best way to set up a newsletter email is to put in a brief intro for each article and provide a read more link. You'll be able to keep your email short and get valuable data on where your subscribers are clicking allowing you to segment your list for even better results.


How do we add the name of a contact to the body of the email? We’d like to make our emails more personal looking.

When you use a greeting tag in the body of the email, it will automatically add the name associated with each contact.You can also add a greeting tag to the subject line as well. 




Are open rates a reliable metric anymore given Apple's privacy protocol?

Unfortunately, open rates are not an accurate representation of your email's performance. Due to these changes, your open rate is likely inflated. We have an article from our Knowledge Base that explains the changes to Apple Mail Privacy and how it affects your reporting.


How many emails do you send within a week? We send out a monthly newsletter for our nonprofit with our events and have started sending it out weekly, but we have a low open/click rate.

Were the subscribers aware they'd be getting a weekly email? They may have been used to receiving it monthly and weren't prepared or expecting a weekly email. Did you change the design of the email? Has anything else changed other than the cadence? If cadence is the only variable, you may want to switch back to a monthly one.


Is there a way to tell if someone opens an email with a mobile device or desktop?

Yes, on your reporting page in Constant Contact, you'll be able to see the breakdown of opens and clicks on desktop and mobile




Can you define what a “conversion rate” is?

A conversion is when someone completes an action such as purchasing your product or service. To calculate your conversion rate, you would take the number of conversions and divide that by the number of clicks to that link in your email campaign.


I used to be active with my email list but I haven’t used it in three years. The list has about 2,000 contacts on it. How do you suggest I get back into sending emails after this long period of time?

To be honest, after 3 years, your audience may not be familiar with you or your business/organization or why they had signed up to receive your campaigns. You could start off by sending an email that re-introduces yourself to your audience and asks them if they still want to receive emails from you. This might be scary—because you will lose contacts—but you'll benefit from having a more engaged audience.


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