How much will companies spend on email marketing this year? According to Forrester, that number is well over one billion dollars. And still email designs are being sent out without any clue as to how well they perform. It is not uncommon to see the “most beautiful” email messages that follow all the “best-practice” guidelines and have a committee of “design experts” backing them underperform – as if spending more than a billion dollars wasn’t enough!
So we want to see if you can tell the difference. We ran an experiment with three top-of-the-line agency-designed email messages. We want to know if you can spot the email design that performed best. (A prize for all the winners this time)
Background: This email test ran for Pier 1 Imports, which I will assume most of you know is a large B2C company selling home products. This email in particular was a seasonal promotion going to a segment of their house list. There are three agency-designed email messages (Treatments 1-3) being tested against Pier 1’s baseline version (Control).
Test Design: This was a simple A/B/C/D multi-factorial test. While we also measured open rate and conversion rate, the objective was to increase the clickthrough rate. Here are the page versions (click to zoom in):
Control Treatment 1
Treatment 2 Treatment 3
Results: So now that you understand the experiment background and have seen the treatments, can you spot which email performed the best? Before we reveal the results, here’s a chance to test your own marketing intuition and be regarded as a world-renowned marketing leader!
1. Which email generated the highest clickthrough?
- Treatment 1
- Treatment 2
- Treatment 3
UPDATE: Surprise! The Control was the winner. Each of the agency-designed treatments underperformed the original (one of which decreased clickthrough by 52%). Congratulations to Ben, the only correct response we received before we announced the results on yesterday’s web clinic. You can follow Ben on twitter at @findingforrest. Also, subscribe to the MarketingExperiments Journal to be notified when the web clinic replay and research brief are available so you can see the correct answer, the results of the control and treatments, and how these experiments can help you shape your own marketing campaigns.