Need to create email marketing campaigns quickly? Try an Agile approach

May 31, 2021 | 3 minute read
Magan Le
Content Marketing Manager, Litmus
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Email marketers are constantly asked to do more with less. So, how do you increase campaign frequency and put more advanced email techniques into practice without reducing quality? One way to address both challenges is by adopting an Agile email marketing process. Originally designed to accelerate software development, applying an Agile methodology to email marketing can boost efficiency and leave more time for strategy.

Traditional campaign development workflows are linear. First you strategize, then write copy, get feedback, and finalize assets—all before building out the actual email campaign. This process prevents the majority of email teams from shipping campaigns in less than two weeks, according to our recent State of Email Report.

Agile email marketing, however, allows teams to work on different parts of a project in parallel. Instead of making your developers wait a week for final copy and graphics, they can build campaign wireframes based on in-progress drafts.

Inside our Agile process

Agile email marketing breaks down large tasks into smaller ones and incorporates reusable tools and templates to create more efficient workflows. Here’s how we apply Agile practices for email production—the actual writing, designing, and coding of emails.

Create content

Unlike static planning documents that don’t include the actual content deliverables (and often aren’t referred to after kick-off meetings), our email briefs combine campaign objectives and tactical updates, including copy revisions. We share campaign briefs with the team during early campaign planning and add details as it progresses. Our email brief and planning template includes:

  • The campaign goal, targeted personas, and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Relevant URLs and tracking information
  • Sender information
  • Subject lines and preview text
  • Campaign body copy

By centralizing campaign information and sharing it with everyone on the project, multiple team members can work on different campaign elements in tandem. The content team collaborates on copy in the document while designers use the brief to develop graphics in parallel. Also at the same time, the demand generation team sets up landing pages and implements tracking capabilities while other materials are reviewed.

Shared design tools are similarly helpful. We use Figma for design work, which enables multiple graphic designers to work in the same file. It allows developers to pull out assets needed for coding, and we have shared libraries for photography and iconography to simplify access to core brand imagery.

Develop and code

Developing email campaigns—the actual production of coded emails—can be time-consuming if you start each email from scratch. That’s why we rely heavily on a software library to accelerate development.

Templates, snippets, and partials—collected in Litmus’ Design Library—allow us to build emails from a common structure and enable developers to swap content and components for each campaign rapidly. Here’s how they work:

  • Templates are fully coded emails that are pre-tested for optimal rendering across email clients. Each template has a specific purpose (e.g., transactional, promotional, etc.).
  • Snippets are smaller bits of code that can be pulled into an email and customized for that email. We use snippets for everything from article sections to CTAs.
  • Partials are similar to snippets because they both are specific email modules. But partials are universally consistent across all campaigns and aren’t customized for individual emails like snippets. We use them for email parts that change infrequently, like our header, logo, and footer information.

Templates and modular email development can enable non-developers to create campaigns. Additionally, WYSIWYG editors like Visual Editor inside of Litmus Builder let anyone build campaigns without coding experience.

Agile email marketing is empowered email marketing

The Agile email marketing methodology emphasizes testing small updates quickly and learning along the way. By breaking down traditional email processes, simplifying each step, and adopting more efficient tools and techniques, you can do more with less and rapidly adapt to market changes.

These changes can create a better experience for your team and your subscribers. For additional tips and insights, download our Agile email marketing ebook.

For more information about email marketing, check out:

Magan Le

Content Marketing Manager, Litmus

Magan Le has done email marketing for B2B and B2C brands and now she writes about it at Litmus. She believes in authenticity, creating content that empowers marketers to not only optimize their email marketing program but also connect with their subscribers.

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