Haley Boblink

Haley Boblink, Gorilla Group’s Marketing Automation Lead, brings us a three-part series on email marketing best practices. Email marketing is oftentimes overlooked, but it is still one of the most effective marketing channels. Learning different ways to improve your email marketing will ultimately help you engage your customers in creative ways that will help drive engagement.

If you’ve never done it before, the concept of A/B testing can feel very foreign, or even scary to typical marketers. While email marketing is on the whole a qualitative art, A/B testing brings in something much different: Numbers! Data! Science! Here are some tips on how to tackle the beast that is A/B testing, and make it your greatest ally when it comes to showing your peers in other channels that email strategy is much more complex than they may think (because we know, it’s a lot more than meets the eye).



It may be your gut reaction to test as many aspects of your email as possible, but much like in scientific experiments, testing multiple dimensions of your email can muddy your results. If you change both the image placement and the copy of an email in your A/B test, how can you be sure which one contributed more to the results? Some platforms offer robust multidimensional testing, but it’s best to stick to one change, for one test. Whether it be a subject line, imagery, layout, etc. make that the focal point of your A/B test.


A good test has a relevant sample size. If you survey ten people, the results likely would not be indicative of an entire city’s inclinations. The same goes for your A/B tests. Many platforms put a minimum recipient count on A/B tests, but it’s recommended that you try out your A/B tests on your largest sends (with a minimum of 1,000 recipients for best results).


You’ve set up your A/B test, you’ve sent it out to your audience, and you (or your platform) has picked a winner! That’s a wrap, right? Well, let’s hold up a little longer. The best A/B tests are the ones that have meaningful outcomes you can use for all of your emails going forward. What did this test show you? Did recipients lose interest before the call to action on the losing email? Did a certain turn of phrase in your subject line result in significantly less open rates? Was using an image as a button confusing users and preventing them from clicking through? Take some time when your test has concluded to write down all of the possible conclusions you can draw from the results of the test. Log these in your organization’s documentation, and remember them going forward. You may even get some ideas for your next A/B test, and then the cycle continues.


If you’ve noticed, A/B testing, like all scientific tests, is never really finished. There will always be things to test, things to improve, and behavior you will want to be explained. The best part is the more you perform these, the more comfortable you will be in the process. You will become attuned to trends to look for, spot deviations quicker, and become the email whiz you always knew you could be.
What platforms offer automated A/B testing? I’m glad you asked:

  • Hubspot
  • Marketo
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Pardot
  • Emarsys
  • Dotdigital
  • Klaviyo
  • Exponea

Gorilla Group is a partner with all of these platforms and more.
Check back to read the next post in the series on Echo Sending. If you feel like your organization could use a lift in your email practices, reach out to our Email Marketing Team and we will be in touch!