Learnings from testing email signup copy

You might have noticed the banner on top of the emailMarketingTipps.de homepage, which asks visitors to sign up for my weekly email marketing roundup newsletter. That is, if the visitor has not already done so or if her cookie expired, because in that case, the banner is omitted. In the past, I have done some testing on choosing the right words to drive attention and interest.
Here are some results:

Test setup

To grab the visitors’ interest, I currently test three headlines and several testimonial quotes against each other. The basic setup looks like this…

There are three randomly rotating titles :

  • Your weekly dose of email inspiration
  • Weekly world of email marketing
  • The only email news you need…?

And the quotes are:

  • Presents a wide variety of relevant topics that I can pick and choose from.
  • The timing is just perfect – my last working hours before the weekend are blocked for research
  • [T]he whole email is great, it contains awesome and very useful content.
  • Don’t have to read xx blogs, all relevant and important news in one email
  • Love these mailings!
  • It has a high density of good quality references to articles in it, which I really appreciate.
  • [It] compiles all the best email news for me in my inbox
  • Full of interesting stories and articles
  • It contains very valuable information, keep up the good work!
  • It’s a ton of great content!!
  • It is very valuable. The content is well-selected and is high-quality, keep up the good work!
  • Great resource for my team and I. Relevant, up to date articles and information all summarized in one place. Thanks for doing this!
  • Pulls great articles on email marketing that would take me hours to find and aggregate before I even get a chance to read them.
  • [F]acts and only facts, easy to read thanks to a simple design (google search results like :) )
  • If you’re looking for #emailmarketing news, look no further than @LukeAnker weekly round-up. (@shmuelh)
  • [Y]our emailmarketingtipps.de email (…) are my fav! (@briancrouse)

All quotes have been provided by subscribers. They sent them in either via Twitter, email or by taking a quick poll, which can be found at the end of each newsletter (thanks btw). Two quotes reached me on Twitter; they are hyperlinked, so that the visitor can actually check their authenticity. Here they are:


Now, let’s look at the attribution of each element to the growth of my email list:


Interestingly, the headlines had only little effect on the number of sign-ups (left figure). None of them outperformed the other two. Although one might note that the question seems to do best.

The quotes on the other hand really make the difference (right figure). It is striking that the two verifiable statements, i.e. those with a Twitter link, yielded the most subscriptions, whereas some others yielded almost nothing.

On a closer look one might conclude that, in order to be effective, quotes have to be written in a specific and individual way. This also implies some substance, i.e. a certain number of characters.

Another striking fact comes to light when looking at the interactions between headlines and quotes. Let’s examine the interactions plot and the heatmap:



For instance, @shmuelh’s Twitter feedback works best when combined with the headline “Your weekly dose of email inspiration”, but it does not resonate that well with the other two. On the other hand, @briancrouse’s comment harmonizes a little better with “The only email news you need…?” than with the other two.


To squeeze every last bit out of your testing efforts, experimenting must not be alone about looking at single elements separately, but also about evaluating combinations. My data showed surprisingly that the 2nd best quote yielded overall the most subscriptions in combination with the worst headline. And from an extreme perspective, the test makes a difference of 6.47% in my case, because that is the percentage of sign-ups, which the best combo achieved, compared to 0% of the worst combos. In addition, social proof can boost your signup rates – if the proof is verifiable, like an open statement on Twitter or a blog comment.

For further reading, I suggest you to move on to a practical example on how to do multivariate tests in email marketing.

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2 Responses to Learnings from testing email signup copy

  1. Pingback: Subscriber Feedback: Learnings from Unsubscribe Reasons

  2. Pingback: 822 Emoji for your Newsletter Subject Lines [incl. Cheat Sheet]

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