As marketers, we know that to meet our objectives we must continuously test and optimise strategies and tactics. Despite this, according to the DMA Marketers Email Tracker 2020, testing is still one of the least sophisticated areas of email marketing, with over 50% of marketers only dabbling in this key practice due to a lack of time, internal buy-in and skill set.

To ensure testing is a regular feature in your BAU email marketing strategy we recommend that you agree on a methodology that works best for your business. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When faced with little time and often a confusion about the best place to start, creating a testing methodology can seem like having to perform wizardry!

Which is why, with a little bit of magic and a touch of sorcery, we have created ASGARDIANS – the Ultimate email marketing testing framework. (For those who don’t know who the ASGARD’s are there’s a link to Wikipedia at the bottom of this article)

The ASGARDIANS testing framework allows you to be a brave and powerful marketer with a reputation of respect throughout your business! It is the powerful hammer in your tactical arsenal to optimise your marketing. I could go on with the analogies! However, to be honest, there’s no magic or sorcery going on here, but there’s no harm in adding a glimmer of fun to something that is often perceived as dull.

In all seriousness, this email marketing testing framework allows you to:-

  1. Form a well thought out testing logic and plan
  2. Clearly document and define the success parameters
  3. Keep an accurate record of the changes you made
  4. Easily summarise the why, how and success to your boss and the rest of the business!

The ASGARDIAN Framework

Tried, tested and approved by brand marketers, the framework has 9 simple steps for you to follow before you go about your testing.

Aim – Outline what the aim of the test is going to be. You will also define the challenge. It can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be. E.g. “We have a declining click rate over the last 3 months, this has led to a dip in traffic from returning customers. The aim of this test is to increase click through rates and bring in more returning customers”

Success – This is where you document what success looks like. This needs to be as specific as you need it to be. E.g. “Success will be if click through rates increase from 15% to 18% and returning traffic improves by 5%”

Grasp – This is your current situation analysis. This is where you also document your current starting point. It may also form your control campaign. E.g. We are currently at 15% click through rate.

Assume – This is your hypothesis that you will be testing. It allows you to think about the tactics you are going to implement to improve results. Make sure you keep this singular – this is not a process for multi variant testing. We recommend that you test a change to an element or a change/addition of a theme. E.g. “We assume that by adding trust messaging we will improve results by the given success metrics.” Or “ We assume by changing the colour of the buttons on the CTA we will improve results by the given success metrics”

Recipients – At this point you will be deciding on who you are going to test these changes on. Or alternatively what campaigns. E.g. “I will be testing this on my post purchase emails” or “I will be testing this on Persona 1”

Data  – Once you have decided who. You will need to determine how much data you will need to use to give you a statistical significant result. There is no magic answer here on what that number should be and it is best that you devise your own formula and approach. E.g. “We will be splitting the data 50:50”

Interval – At this stage in the framework you are deciding on how long you will run the test for. This will be totally dependent on various factors including the frequency of your emails. E.g. “We will run the test for 4 weeks.”

The next 3 steps in the framework are to summarise the planning that has taken place in the previous 6 steps. This forms the elevator pitch for your testing when presenting to the rest of the business.

Ambition – This is the why. Why are we doing this? A summary of your challenges and goals.

New – How and what are you going to do to make these changes. Be specific about what you are changing. It also is important to document what your control is. What are you testing against.

Success – Re-iterate the success metrics and what they mean for the business

Document it

We highly recommend that the elements within the framework are documented.  Click the image below for a downloadable version of the framework for you to fill in.

ASGARDIANS Email Marketing Framework


To Conclude

Testing doesn’t have to be difficult, but is essential to delivering the best results. The key to testing is patience. It is rarely an immediate success, the payoff often happens over time as you make many small iterations. It needs involvement from various parts of the business to help come up with ideas, it needs consumer insight and data and it needs careful analysis. Your efforts and attention will pay off leading to improvements in the effectiveness of your email marketing.

*For those who want to know who the ASGARDIANS are you can find out more here.