Outbound selling is unpredictable.
Outreach channels like cold email are flooded with endless solutions, conversations, bad actors, and everything in between.
Even a high-performing outbound sales strategy will degrade as buyers, competitors, and environments evolve. To stay competitive, you need a way to keep your outreach relevant.
With a repeatable process to test your approaches, you’ll be able to measure, compare, and optimize your cold emails for the buyers you’re targeting.
To help shed light on how to test cold emails, here are 5 must-have testing processes that you should keep in mind as you warm-up, launch, and ramp-up your campaign.
1) Email Content Testing
In the beginning, you’ll have limited data and be forced to make more assumptions about your buyers and approach.
To start out your campaign, you’ll need to try out different types of messaging, terminology, and angles with your cold emails to identify what resonates with your buyers.
With A/B testing, you can see the impact of messaging changes in specific areas of your email. For example, you can test an email with 2 different subject lines to optimize for open rates.
Testing email content gives you the agility to test hypotheses and gather insights with every email you send. Structured properly and you can quickly hone in on the right messaging.
2) Cold Messaging/Themes Testing
Beyond tactics for a specific subject line, call-to-action, or value proposition, you need a testing process that can improve the big picture themes, pains, and benefits you use in your emails.
If a buyer has 3 – 5 pains, which are the most impactful? What’s the best way to present or approach that pain toward a specific buyer?
Even if you’re hitting on the right topics, it doesn’t necessarily mean your emails are approaching it the best way or asking the most relevant questions.
By tracking the performance of each specific theme you use, you’ll be able to compare different themes and optimize your approach for each one.
3) Theme Placement Testing
Because it often takes several sales touches before you’ll connect with an outbound lead, you should use a multi-step sequence that sends multiple emails over a specific period of time.
How do you identify which theme is best for email #1 versus email #3 or #5?
Without a way to test where you place themes, you risk creating an email journey that isn’t effective or leaves the wrong impression with your buyers.
By using more than one version of your email sequence, you can test different themes in a specific step to see which one performs better. For example, you could test one theme as the 1st email in sequence A while testing another theme as the 1st email in sequence B.
This testing process gives you the ability to quickly compare the positioning of your themes so you can optimize the email journey to your buyer.
4) Sequence Order Testing
Beyond a specific step of your sequence, you should have a testing process in place that can optimize the ordering of your emails to maximize the results you generate.
If you might have a winning theme for step #1, what’s the best email to send afterward? Should it be a follow-up email or themed email?
With multiple sequences, you can test the big-picture performance of specific ordering. While this testing approach takes more time, it allows you to build an ideal journey for your buyers.
The more you learn about buyers and their buying process, the better you’ll be able to predict the questions, objections, and education they’ll need over time to take action.
By reviewing the long-term results your sequences bring from the 1st to the last step, you’ll have more control and visibility into how to connect with buyers using cold email.
5) Email Cadence Testing
The final piece to your cold email journey is the timing you use between emails in your sequence. How long do you wait between emails #1, #2, and #3?
Sending cadence is more art than science and is also difficult to test. However, the long-term benefits enable you to create a journey that keeps your brand top-of-mind and adds value to buyers at the right time.
To test sending cadence, you’ll need to create multiple versions of the same sequence and make specific adjustments to the timing between specific steps in your journey.
For example, one sequence might send follow-up emails every 2 days while another sends them every 4 days. Another sequence might test a slower sending cadence for later steps.
With the right cadence, you’ll prevent your cold emails from burning relationships and annoying recipients while influencing buyers at a pace that matches their specific buying cycle.
6) Deliverability Testing
Cold email deliverability is the measure of how many of your emails reach your prospects’ inboxes. Testing for cold email deliverability is crucial in sales outreach because if your emails don’t reach their intended recipients, you won’t be able to start a sales conversation.
Here are some steps you can take to improve the deliverability of your cold emails:
- Verify your email list: Ensure that the email addresses on your list are accurate and up-to-date.
- Use a separate domain: Protect your primary domain’s reputation by using a different domain for your cold email campaigns.
- Warm up your email address: Gradually increase the volume of emails sent from a new email address to establish a good sending reputation.
- Format your emails well: Make sure that your emails are easy to read and well-formatted.
- Limit the use of images: Too many images in an email can trigger spam filters.
- Spread out your emails: Send your emails at different times throughout the day to avoid overwhelming recipients’ inboxes.
- Avoid spam trigger words: Refrain from using words and phrases commonly associated with spam.
- Don’t send repetitive messages: Sending the same message multiple times can trigger spam filters.
- Encourage engagement: Increase engagement rates by asking questions or providing valuable content in your emails.
The difference between a great and failing cold email campaign is about more than just the approach. It’s about the campaign’s ability to stay relevant and versatile as things change.
Testing gives you a repeatable system you can use to try new ideas, validate research, and discover ways to create deeper connections with your buyers.
With these 5 testing processes, you can continuously evolve, measure, and improve outbound sales outcomes you generate with your cold email campaign.
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