As you may or may now know, we at Prospect.io decided to get back in the affiliate marketing game. So we recently targeted 100 blog owners specializing in sales and marketing with a cold email campaign.

But we didn’t just send them all the single same email, we decided to test our outreach operation by employing one of the most effective sales strategies in our arsenal — the A/B Test.

Through our efforts, we were ultimately able to create a customer focused sales campaign that produced real results.

The Method

What is A/B testing anyway?

A/B testing is a method implemented to test and improve the efficiency of a process by modifying one of its features and determining what works best. You can then use the results of an A/B test to develop truly data driven sales and marketing campaigns.

The golden rule of A/B testing? Only tweak ONE element at a time. It may seem obvious but if you go ahead and modify more than one feature of — in this case — your email, it’ll be impossible to identify what caused the increase (or the drop) in opens, replies or click-throughs.

Our sales manager manually gathered 100 leads and split them into two groups. He wasn’t really worried about the open rate — directly tied with subject line effectiveness — but more so about the click-through and reply rates, which is why he decided to test the efficiency of the content in the email.

What is at stake here?

In our fast paced environment, attention spans tend to shorten a bit more every day. The idea here was to create a customer focused sales campaign by determining whether a short direct email with an immediate offer would resonate better or worse than a longer — but more personal — introductory email.

Here are the two options we tested:

  1. A very short email laying out the offer, baiting with the commission offer
  2. A more detailed and personal email but not stating any number, asking for a call

Which option performed better? Let’s take a look.

First Approach

The email:

What Julian did:

  • A very short email
  • A direct approach
  • A immediate commission offer

The results:

This approach was met with a great open rate thanks to the subject line but the content generated a staggering… absence of clicks and only one reply, which didn’t lead to a partnership.

Let’s check out what he tried with the other group!

Second Approach

The email:

What Julian did:

  • Introduced himself and the product
  • Took into consideration the blogger and their audience
  • Dwelled on the call to action in a seemingly long sentence

The results:

The click-through rate doesn’t seem to take off, but the reply rate is actually really good.

Even though we abandoned our affiliate program since then, 5 partnerships came of this campaign.

What We Learned & How We Put It To Work

Affiliates want a commission, but what they also want, like any other prospect, is to be considered an actual business partner. They want to know who they’re personally dealing with and what they’re getting into.

Which is why getting them to sign up immediately is premature — and you shouldn’t expect too high a click-through rate. Instead, get more personal and try to create a genuine relationship.

We doubled down on those elements to craft the following email:

The results:

As you can see, creating an A/B test was  clearly worth the effort.

12 deals were closed less than 10 days later.

It’s a wrap!

Taking the time to perform a short A/B test can quickly produce the data to create effective sales strategies that you can use long term.

In this example, it’s clear, that personalization is essential even if it means sending a longer message.

Customer focused sales, show your recipient that you care, and that you’re willing to initiate a dialogue. In turn, they will grant you their attention.

After all, we’re human beings before being business entities.

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