A/B Testing for Cold Emails

A/B Testing for Cold Emails

Master cold emailing with A/B testing. Optimize subject lines, senders' names, and more to boost open, response, and click-through rates. Improve email ROI now!

In today's digital age, building reliable email lists has become incredibly accessible, making cold emailing a powerful method to reach thousands of potential customers from the comfort of your office. With open rates of over 40%, you can guarantee that your message gets read (or at least skimmed) by many prospects. However, to capitalize on this statistic, crafting compelling cold emails is crucial and A/B testing is the perfect way to refine your approach and start achieving optimal results.

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method used to compare two versions of any sales and marketing material (i.e. cold emails, webpages, ads, or apps) against each other. It involves showing different variations (A and B) to users and then analyzing which version performs better in terms of achieving a specific goal, such as open rates, click-through rates, or response rates.

Why It’s Important to A/B Test Your Cold Emails

Cold emailing is a challenging but extremely successful sales tool if done correctly. A/B testing your cold emails gives you the data to determine what is working so that you can optimize your campaigns and ultimately get more bang for your buck.

The 3 Best A/B Testing Tools for Emails

In our recent article featuring great cold email tools, we found that A/B testing is integrated into the majority of them. Here are our three favourite picks for A/B testing specifically:

  1. GMass has made A/B testing a simple addition to a campaign you’re already sending. It allows you to easily create both email variations, test a portion or all of your email list, analyze results, and then send the winning variation to the rest of the list automatically.
  2. QuickMail enables you to set up your campaign and easily incorporate A/B tests. Once your campaign is set up, simply add a variation (or two if you have a big enough email list) and send. QuickMail has made it easy to view the statistics of each variation to determine what is working and what isn’t.
  3. Woodpecker allows you to easily create your cold email campaign within their platform and set up the two variations. They also allow you to add follow-up emails to the campaign sequence, set up split testing on the follow-ups, and compare the results. A/B test your entire cold email sequence with Woodpecker.

The Most Important Components of Cold Emails to A/B Test

Prior to conducting your split test, define the objective of your cold email campaign. Are you looking to enhance open rates, elicit responses, or drive more traffic to your website? The following variables can be tested to impact your goal.

Open Rates


The sender's name is the first thing your prospects see when they receive your email. Test if your recipients are more likely to open an email from an individual’s name, or if adding the business name solicits more opens.

Subject Lines

Experiment with a variety of subject line strategies, ranging from posing questions or making statements, incorporating emojis, using capitalization, adding personalization, changing your tone, and more.

Preview Text

Preview text is displayed alongside the subject line in the recipient's inbox. It's the third thing readers see and can significantly impact open rates. Treat it as an extension of your subject line by adding statistics, asking questions, testing your tone, or addressing pain points to gauge effectiveness.

Time of Day and Day of the Week

There are published studies showcasing the best times and days to send cold emails but keep in mind that each industry and email list is unique. Test one variable at a time, as comparing an email sent at 11:00 am on a Wednesday to one sent at 2:00 pm on a Sunday may not yield accurate results.

Response and Click-Through Rate

Body Copy

The body copy of an email is your opportunity to engage prospects and elicit responses or clicks. Test the copy's length – are recipients more responsive to concise or detailed emails? Experiment with casual vs. factual tones, add statistics and play with layout, font, and colour. Consider including images. Test one variable at a time to identify what resonates with your recipients and optimize your cold emails.


What action do you want recipients to take with your email? Are you directing them to your calendar for a meeting or asking for a response or website click?

Experiment by placing the CTA in different parts of the copy, using different colours or underlining. Consider using buttons or plain text. Test these variations to get what you want out of your cold email.

Meet Your Cold Emailing Goals

Define your cold email campaign goal and write it down before testing. Remember that to be considered a SMART goal, it must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound such as improving your open rate from 38% to 46% by the end of 2023.

As a sales and marketing professional, your email list is gold. Understanding the behaviour patterns of your prospects will help you make leaps and bounds in your cold emailing campaigns and, A/B testing is the best way to measurably increase the ROI of your efforts.

Alessandro Pizzini