Daniel Burstein

A/B Testing for Fun and Profit [Subject Line Writing Contest]

December 3rd, 2013

If you’ve read the MarketingExperiments Blog for any length of time, you know that A/B testing and conversion optimization can be a very profitable endeavor. You can receive 90% more trial sign-ups, a 1,312% increase in the start rate of a multistep process, 331% more leads from a homepage, and the list can go on and on.


Split testing can be fun, too

Aside from improving results, the sociologist in me finds it fun to create a few possible headlines or subject lines, release them into the world, and see how customers react.

I’m not alone. For example, when Amelia Showalter, Director of Digital Analytics, Obama for America, discussed the A/B testing that helped generate $500 million in online donations for the president’s re-election campaign, she mentioned the fun the analytics and email teams had as well.


“There was this thing called the Email Derby … ”

“It was really fun,” Amelia said. “We started an informal poll.”

They asked the teams which subject lines being tested would win, and which would lose.

At MarketingExperiments, we’ve been known to have a little fun with surprising test results as well, thanks to a very gracious CEO.


Let’s have some fun, and give you a chance to win a ticket to Email Summit (plus hotel)

Online marketing can be a tough daily slog in the trenches, so to help you have a little fun with A/B testing, we’ve thrown down a challenge to the readers at Copyblogger.

We’ve said you, the dear readers of the MarketingExperiments Blog, are not only smarter, more fun to be around, and more physically attractive than the readers of Copyblogger – you are more effective subject line writers, thanks to all you’ve learned from A/B testing.

If you scroll down, you’ll see the exact copy of an email we are going to send promoting MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 in Las Vegas. We’re asking you to write the best subject line you can think of, and leave it as a comment for this blog post.

Then, the MECLABS optimization team will read each and every comment and hand-pick the five subject lines they hypothesize will perform best. Copyblogger’s team will also pick five subject lines from its blog as well.

We’ll then run all 10 of those subject lines in a split test.

The writer of the subject line that generates the most unique clickthroughs will receive a complimentary ticket to Email Summit 2014. We’ll even put you up in the host hotel, the Aria Resort & Casino, for two nights.

The writer of the subject line that receives the highest open rate (CTR is our primary KPI, or key performance indicator, but opens will be a secondary KPI), will receive complimentary access to the MECLABS Email Messaging Online Course.

If you’re the type of marketer that likes diving into the details, you can read the official rules.


Now, let’s see your high-performing subject line

Sound like fun? Great, let’s see what you’ve got. Below is the email we will be sending. Write your best subject line, and leave it as a comment to this blog post. Easy peasy.

[Send Dates:] December 16-20, 2013

[Sender:] Pamela Markey – p.markey@meclabs.com

[Audiences:] MarketingSherpa + MarketingExperiments lists

[Subject Line:] TBD


Hello [xxxx],

The last day to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount ($300 off) for Email Summit 2014 tickets is January 9, 2014. If you plan to be out of the office for the holidays, be sure to book your ticket before your vacation so you don’t miss out on this special rate.

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 promises to provide you with a great experience and an opportunity to learn what is and isn’t working in email marketing today. All case study presentations focus on real results with practical concepts you can use to do your job better. Come learn from your peers at companies like 3M, Dell, Porsche and Whirlpool.

If you want to learn how to grow your list, boost your performance and increase email ROI, join us at the Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas on February 17 through 20, 2014, for Email Summit 2014. Order your tickets today so you don’t miss out on the Early Bird price before it expires Thursday, January 9.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime at p.markey@meclabs.com.

I hope to see you there!


Pamela Markey
Senior Director, Marketing


UPDATE: The results and winner of this contest can be found in this MarketingExperiments Blog post: Email Marketing: What elements of your offer get people to click? [Subject line contest winner announced].”


Related Resources:

Subject Line Test: 125% more unique clickthroughs

Email Marketing: Subject line test increases open rate by 10%

Lead Generation: Capturing more leads with clear value prop communication

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute Daniel oversees all editorial content coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – working with our team of reporters to dig for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a frequent speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has more than 15 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. December 10th, 2013 at 17:48 | #1

    Subject: “2014 Email Summit: Yore $300 urlee burd disk hound ex-pie yours in tree weeks on Jan 9”

  2. December 10th, 2013 at 17:48 | #2

    Subject: “2014 Email Summit: Yore $300 urlee burd disk hound ex-pie yours in tree weeks on Jan 9”

    Subject: “300 reasons NOT to attend the 2014 Email Summit”

    Subject: “Sherpa? I hardly know ya”

  3. Darrah Christel
    December 10th, 2013 at 18:05 | #3

    a. Vegas is Waiting
    b. Book Your Trip to Vegas and Save $300
    c. %firstname%, Vegas Awaits. Save $300 on Your Ticket!
    d. Porsche. Vegas. $300 for Slots | Email Summit 2014
    e. Meet the Minds Behind Porsche

  4. Darrah Christel
    December 10th, 2013 at 18:16 | #4

    a. Vegas isn’t all about cabaret shows and slot machines.
    b. Pick up a few marketing tips from Porsche.
    c. Pocket $300 for Christmas shopping
    d. A marketer’s playground: Porsche, Vegas and networking.
    e. Work, meet Vegas.

  5. Rebecca Kon
    December 10th, 2013 at 18:16 | #5

    Last Chance to Save $300 on 2014’s Best Email Marketing Summit!

    Reserve Your Seat and Save $300 on the Best Email Summit of 2014!

  6. Darrah Christel
    December 10th, 2013 at 18:19 | #6

    Luck be a Lady Tonight | Save $300 on Your Ticket to the 2014 Email Summit in Vegas

  7. December 10th, 2013 at 18:46 | #7

    Don’t Miss Email Summit 2013! Save $300 with early registration!

  8. Luis Gellon
    December 10th, 2013 at 19:13 | #8

    1- Will you learn in January what companies like 3M, Dell, Porsche and Whirlpool are doing that you do not know about?

    2- What companies like 3M, Dell, Porsche and Whirlpool are doing that you do not know about?

    3- What your close business competitors are doing better than you are in January?

    4- You can do as well as 3M, Dell, Porsche and Whirlpool but you need to know their secret… Open now before is too late!

    5- 3M, Dell, Porsche and Whirlpool grow sales by doing this every time, are doing it?


  9. December 10th, 2013 at 20:25 | #9

    Email marketing by elves

  10. December 10th, 2013 at 20:34 | #10

    Need an elf to help you with email marketing?

  11. December 10th, 2013 at 22:17 | #11

    Fast track your marketing career in just two days: Act now and save $300

  12. Joy Avila
    December 10th, 2013 at 23:48 | #12

    Time is running out to save $300 on Email Summit 2014

    Going to Email Summit 2014? Here’s a $300 discount. But hurry – sale ends January 9.

    Tick Tock – Email Summit 2014 discounted registration ends soon.

  13. December 10th, 2013 at 23:59 | #13

    Here are a few. Please use exactly as put as they have been tested through the subject line tester for spaces, length and compatibility:

    (Alert) Register Inside (subject line test 1 of 10)

    (Alert) Future You Says: “Thanks for this”

    (Alert) Email Summit 2014 (subject line test 1 of 10)

  14. December 29th, 2013 at 14:17 | #14

    For this one, I can’t help but think of a subject line that states the early bird catches the holiday worm.

  15. Robyn
    March 16th, 2014 at 12:06 | #15

    Sherpa Saves You $300 To Summit!
    (yes I know I’m really late 🙂

  16. August 7th, 2014 at 16:34 | #16

    Darn, I missed it! 🙁 🙁 🙁

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