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A consultant friend of mine recently went on a 14 day Marketing Course at the Sorbonne. His sponsor, a customer for whom he’d been performing particularly well, was happy to sponsor the 14,000 euros cost of the course.

When he got back. refreshed from 2 weeks in Fontainbleau I couldn’t wait to ask:What was the most important thing you learned?

You see, like a lot of people I was mildly jealous that he was learning “something special” that cost 14,000 euros. But the least I could do was to find out what made this marketing course so unique.

His reply was a surprise.

“Never assume. Always test” was his reply after 60 seconds of consideration.

This wasn’t the 14,000 euro revelation I’d hoped for (if I expected any), but it gave me cause to reflect.

Which brings me to the topic of this article.

Firms don’t split test their emails enough.

This is partly because email broadcasting is a less familiar route to market for many, and partly that list brokers and email service providers are a lazy or under-investing bunch who frequently don’t provide the expert facilities needed to deliver meaningful feedback that a marketer might expect from any other field of advertising.

An email broadcaster’s idea of feedback night well be “here’s your clicks, here’s your bounces, you know how many leads you got, so thanks and goodbye”

Of course not all email companies are like this.

But the very nature of list owning and list broking is a lazy business, comprising squeezing as much rental for a digital data file as you can get. It’s not hard graft like some of us understand hard graft!

Highlighting the shortcomings of the email industry aside, it will pay you to segment your emails to different niches and groups, or different sets of buying needs as you can.

It’s difficult (or even foolhardy according to my Sorbonne friend) to predict in advance how your different target niches will respond to email.

But if you can segment in advance and measure your results, you can fairly quickly learn how your market behaves.

It’ll also pay to test out different Subject fields for the same email, as the Subject is the bit customers see first and make their decision-to-read on.

Either have the analytics software yourself, or use the expert analytics system of a first class email provider. Then you can split test, and split test and split test, until you develop the best possible winning message for your marketplace.

Then you’ll be doing what 14,000 euro Sorbonne marketing course attendees are doing!

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