My daughter started middle school this week. Of course I love her dearly, but she's now at a point in her life where she thinks she knows everything (and I know nothing). Ah the joys of parenting.

To be fair, I think we were all "know it alls" when we were younger. But through trial, error, and experience, most of us finally figure out that we can all learn a great deal from others.

So what does this have to do with email marketing? Everything! Email marketers are in a tremendous position to learn from others-our subscribers. And the best way to learn is to test, to experiment, and to let the data decide.

Getting Started with Email Testing

The good news is that email testing doesn't have to be complex. The key is to get started by setting some goals. Is your objective to drive opens? Click through rates? Conversions? All of the above? The content of your emails, the images you use, your calls to action, and your landing page design are just a few of the many ways you can begin A/B testing. The possibilities are endless.

But don't get carried away. Although you should test everything, don't do it all at once. Doing so will skew the results and make it difficult to determine which variables influence your goals. For example, suppose you first objective is to determine what impacts open rates. First test the subject line...start with different lengths, words, and personalization. Once you have a winner, test again with another subject line and use the winner, and so on.

Once you have increased the number of people opening the email, test the content to drive action. Look at the images and text to ensure the content matches what users expected based on the subject line. While you're at it, make sure the CTA provides a clear call to action. It's a great place to test a few different messages.

Next, start testing the landing page. Make sure it is mobile optimized, since over 50% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. Be clear in your content and make it easy for the user to understand. Test content length, number of questions on a form, the number of images used, and the offer. Keep testing and let the data decide.

How to A/B Test Emails with Email Studio

A/B testing is simple with Email Studio. First, select your email in Content Builder. In the email examples below, we want to test the CTA (Buy Now vs. Shop Now). First we drag over the A/B testing block into the email.

Next we'll set up the CTA buttons that we are going to be using for the test. We have a "Buy Now" button versus a "Shop Now" button. Notice everything else remains the same, so the test results will be valid.

Now we're ready to configure and send the test email. We will select the email and decide on the criteria. In this case we'll use Click Through Rate, since we are evaluating CTA performance.

Here, we will select the audience and decide what percentage should receive each content block. In this case we will test with 10% for each button.

Now that we have the results we can select the CTA. Condition A had a slightly higher CTR, so we are going to send the winning email to the remaining 80%.

It's that simple! We now understand our most effective CTA, and can begin exploring other areas of the email to come up with the most effective combination. Happy testing!

Get More from Email Marketing

Interested in learning more? We have lot's more email marketing tips for you. Check out 4 Email Practices of Marketing Masters for more insights into how to drive engagement with email.