As a marketing channel, emails have never been as important as they are today. The team creating them may be even more important. This post explains what email creation team leaders must do for their teams to excel.
Email, as a marketing channel, has never been more important, driven in large measure by the impact of the pandemic. In particular, the frequency of communicating with customers via email has increased, leading Forrester Research to predict a 40% rise in email volume during 2021.
And, with that, the teams creating those emails have never been more important as well. Especially when it comes to their being efficient and able to perform well.
Much of that is up to you. Regardless of your actual job title, if you lead people involved in the email creation process, finding ways to manage them to greater efficiency and better performance must be a top priority today.
Stensul has worked with some of the biggest and best B2C and B2B brands in the world to help empower their email teams to create better emails faster over the last seven years. In the course of those interactions we’ve come to understand email teams and what can be done to have them be more efficient and, in the process, create emails that perform better.
All of that is spelled out in a Stensul eBook, Email Team Leadership – How to manage your email creation team for greater efficiency and better performance. It’s aim is to help you better understand your team members so you can be a more effective leader.
In our dealings with teams creating emails at large enterprises as well as emerging high-growth companies, we found there are four keys to being a leader who has their team excelling at every phase of the creation process. This leader lets:
- Marketers do marketing, not design or code
- Designers focus on the real creative challenges
- Developers develop the martech stack
- The team use the right email creation technology
1. Marketers market, not design or code
In the email creation process marketers shouldn’t figure out which brand-approved header to use or deal with HTML or find the perfect hero image. Those are tasks best handled by designers and developers.
In the email creation process, here’s what marketers should do:
- Plan the purpose of the email
- Prepare an email brief that acts as a playbook all can follow
- Own the project and direct the team
The marketer is the quarterback of the team, calling the plays that get the project over the goal line. A well-conceived and managed creation process that shows a high degree of strategic thought as well as a high degree of content/design quality and gets emails out on time is largely their responsibility. As the leader, to have your team achieve greater efficiency and better performance, start with your marketers.
2. Designers handle the most difficult creative challenges
Unleash your designer’s creativity by not having them design sections of the email that really don’t need design, such as text sections, the company header, the footer, and other portions that can best be called standard portions of an email template.
Further, your designer shouldn’t be laying out the entire email in Photoshop or Illustrator. That’s overkill and creates bottlenecks.
To manage designs effectively, create an SLA, an agreement between you and the designer. If you submit a request, the designer should get back to you with what you need by a certain amount of time. It’ll be much easier for them because you are giving them the specs of the deliverable.
Managing designers – and leading them to be top performers – doesn’t involve additional technologies to learn or specific design tactics to employ. It’s about simplifying their role so they can focus on creative challenges. This will mean big gains for the email creation process as a whole.
3. Developers develop the martech stack, not emails
Here’s something you might not be aware of: most emails can be created without a developer. Options include the email builder in an ESP or an Email Creation Platform, and templates and modules that can be used over and over again.
Developers shouldn’t be required to drag and drop elements within your ESP’s builder. Nor should they be asked to build templates for each email. Of course, they may be required to address email efforts with a ton of customization or sophisticated logic.
But if you want to lead developers to greater efficiency, set parameters and put processes in place for when to involve them based on the sophistication of the email rather than wasting their time on straightforward emails.
The best way to manage developers, however, is to move to a modular design approach. It’s all about breaking your emails and email templates into modules that can be coded block by block. Code an element in an email – say a header or a text block – one time and then allow non-technical marketers to simply change out the content.
That’s the brilliance of an Email Creation Platform. It removes the need for developer resources or knowledge of HTML and lets non-technical members of your marketing team create bulletproof, on-brand, and responsive emails with pre-built modules. Take this approach and your developers will thank you for it because it’ll free them up to do what they can – and like – to do, improve your business’ marketing automation.
4. The right email creation technology impacts everyone, everything
It’s amazing the range and depth of capabilities that exist within your marketing automation stack. Except for one very important area: email creation. Despite being well into the 21st century, an overwhelming number of organizations are still creating emails using tools and techniques from the 1990’s.
Email creation for far too many teams is about specialists using single-purpose tools, operating in silos. And while you can point to Photoshop, XD, Sketch, or any number of applications, they’re really just iterations of previously developed stand-alone tools.
For most creating emails today, there’s a complete lack of real-time communications, and, obviously, efficiency. Just consider the lengthy email threads on comments and corrections and the back-and-forth with a developer when there’s even the slightest, simplest of errors. It’s one of the reasons why creating emails takes so much time, is so complicated, and costs so much.
And most important, true collaboration is absent from this method of creating emails. Collaboration is the world we live in. The way we work, no matter where we might be physically. Think Google docs.
Collaboration enhances creativity, improves communication, and moves us faster to effective solutions. Like being able to create more and better emails faster.
An email creation process centered on collaboration and communication will let you easily handle what many are seeing as at least a 3x increase in email volume. One that brings your email creation team together in a productive circle of collaboration – from the idea stage to staging for deployment. And ensures all branding and regulatory requirements are accurate and up-to-date 100% of the time. In a process that takes hours, not days.
To achieve that, you need to use the right technology, one that will make an impact on your email creation team and your company. Leaders who understand that use an Email Creation Platform. To learn more about it, download the eBook An Introduction to Email Creation Platforms.