According to Litmus’ 2020 State of Email Report, Fall Edition, the majority of email teams take two weeks or more to produce a single email. And that’s not surprising with the number of departments involved in the review and approval process going up this year.
Maybe the reason for this was pandemic related, or maybe not, but it’s a trend worth noting that could continue to influence the age-old question, “How long does it take to produce an email?”
So, how can email marketing teams speed up their production timelines without sacrificing quality? We asked ourselves the same thing here at Litmus and the resounding answer was: Going agile.
Agile email marketing
There’s no doubt that you’ve heard of agile marketing. According to Agile Sherpas, a whopping 41% of marketers are using agile and 42% of those who don’t, plan to. About 60% of marketing executives surveyed for the 2020 Email Marketing Report, Fall Edition, shared that they plan to send more emails this year than last. With that number increasing, email marketing teams have a unique opportunity to put the agile philosophy into practice and set the pace for the entire marketing organization. With this information, we immediately went to work putting the theory to the test with our own email program. The result? Our team now sends emails in half the time it used to.
So, what does agile email marketing look like?
Here at Litmus, we say agile marketing is all about progress, not perfection. Run many small, focused campaigns so you can learn, evolve, and grow. The email process traditionally has been a linear one, but there are many opportunities to be more efficient by working on what used to be multiple separate steps at the same time. Here’s a snapshot of part of the revised email marketing process using the agile method (the full one is here).
In the traditional workflow, you’d write copy, get feedback, and finalize copy—all before starting the design phase with its steps, and then finally moving on to building your actual email.
The agile method
So, how do you actually do this?
Develop your content and design strategy. Using an email brief is a surefire way to set yourself up for success, but in the absence of that, identify some key items:
Your email’s purpose, goal, and audience
Your content strategy for getting opens and clicks
How email copy and imagery should be laid out
Standardize email development. Whether you use partials and snippets (reusable blocks of code), or implement an email template strategy, simplifying how you organize your email content will also simplify your process.
Write, design, and build at the same time. Write headlines and calls-to-action for each piece of content. They don’t have to be perfect, but they can serve as a guide for your designer and developer. Development begins and once images are ready, they can be added into your template.
Collect feedback in one place. In the report, 70% of marketers told Litmus that their feedback system was replies via email. Having a single spot to see everyone’s feedback not only saves time, but also prevents errors.
Automate testing. Set up a checklist or use a tool that has one out-of-the box or that you can customize.
Sync code directly with your ESP. Reduce the need to switch back and forth between tools copying and pasting code, by using an email builder that syncs with your ESP.
Analyze and share insights. You only learn from the tests you run when you look at how your emails performed. Any learnings should be shared with the broader team to inform social, ads, sales, and more.
The above steps, or what we call micro-efficiencies, will help to make long-lasting changes.
For more information about email marketing, check out:
Megan Moller - Director of Content Marketing, Litmus
Megan strives to create the best human experiences possible, especially when it comes to the inbox. She develops those experiences by building brand love through storytelling and content that wriggles its way into your soul. In her free time, she bakes award-winning apple pies and enjoys workouts in the Texas heat.