Agile Email Marketing: This terminology was not familiar to me until last month. I used to wonder what all the hype around it was all about. Being the inquisitive person I am, I thought of learning more about it.
Thank God I did…
It made me realize what I was missing out on.
Email operations take too much time because of the inefficiencies in the process. Agile methodology comes into the picture here as it helps to optimize the process and make email execution simpler. Moreover, it also helps to send out more empathetic messages, which is the need of the hour.
It is based on six disciplines and four shifts, as demonstrated in the diagram below:
Source: The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing
Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results
By Jim Ewel · 2020
What is agile email marketing?
Agile email marketing is a methodology that lets you send timely emails by employing a modular process. Simply put, it works on the principles of project management. The teams will get enough flexibility to complete the task without any delay. As a result, they would be able to get their creative juices flowing and meet the expectations of the subscribers.
As far as email marketing is concerned, agility helps in overcoming all the micro-inefficiencies in the process.
Let’s try to understand agile email marketing better by breaking it into six distinct steps.:
Steps involved in the implementation of agile workflows
Define the outline of your email marketing strategy
Often, the delay in the email execution is because of a lack of coordination. Therefore, you must start by laying down the fundamentals of your email strategy. By doing so, you will be able to align the copy, design, and email development tasks.
You can make this task even easier by breaking it down in three steps:
i. Decide the purpose of the email and the subscriber segments that will find it most valuable.
ii. Build a relevant content strategy so that it can bring an optimum open rate and click-through rate.
iii. Determine the kind of copy and visuals to be used in the emails and their placement.
The main benefits of doing so will be:
Go for an email design system
Email design system, also known as modular email templates significantly cut down the time taken to create an email. In case you are not a fan of templated emails, you can create reusable HTML blocks for the header and footer. The rest of the email can be custom-designed from scratch, just the way you want it to be.
By using this approach, you will be able to impart a consistent experience to the subscribers throughout all the email campaigns. This will also reduce the scope of errors as the same code applies to every email. It will also help you in setting up well-designed triggered emails for your subscribers.
Alternatively, you can use WYSIWYG HTML editor that looks something like this:
Do not be scared of multitasking
Agile methodology is about multi-tasking in the sense that you collaborate with different professionals and make the most out of their expertise. This will enhance the productivity of your team and facilitate the email deployment process.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown to make it easier to understand.
- Brief the copywriter as well as the designer about the purpose of your email campaign with a tentative headline and CTA button. Both of them can work on their respective tasks simultaneously. A wireframe comes in handy as far as email designing is concerned.
- Let the email developer start the coding job while the copywriter and designer complete the email copy and designing. Placeholder text and images can be used for the time being. Once the copy and visuals are approved, they can be replaced in the email.
In case you do not have a team, you can take the help of different tools to fill in the gaps. That also brings us to the next point.
Take the help of suitable tools to make things easier
If you are a small business owner or startup, it is quite likely that you are running low on budget and resources. Therefore, the best idea is to use different tools to streamline the processes. For instance: You can use project management tools like Trello to organize your tasks better. In addition, you can use tools like InVision to collect feedback from all the stakeholders at one place. It will not only make it easy for the reviewers but for the teams working on the email as well. Just like Google Docs works for content, InVision App works for design.
Quality Assurance is the most crucial step
After the email is approved, you are all set to deploy it.
But wait! Do not forget to test the email before hitting the “Send” button. Quality assurance is of utmost importance as it helps you to ensure that the email renders well across all the devices and email clients. You can use an automated QA testing tool as it will catch critical issues without you having to spend a lot of time on it.
Take a look at this checklist that you must keep in mind:
- Check the subject line, preheader text, sender name, and email address.
- Proofread the email copy for any grammatical mistakes.
- Add suitable Alt-text to all the images used in the email.
- Follow all the accessibility principles such as semantic tags, language attribute, title tags, and visual hierarchy.
- Make sure all the links are working and getting redirected to the right landing page. Add UTM codes if you want to trace the source of the click.
- View the email with images blocked and confirm that it will make sense for the reader.
- Check the loading time of the email.
Keep an eye on the email marketing metrics regularly
Analyzing an email for the open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes, and other relevant metrics is of utmost importance if you want to see how agile methodology is working for you. You can either use HubSpot or an automated reporting tool that will allow you to do post-send email analysis without any manual intervention.
HubSpot Email Analytics looks something like this:
The premise of agile email marketing is to start small. If need be, take half-step at a time. For those marketers who have enough budget, automation and Artificial Intelligence can work really well in combination with the agile methodology.
With all this being said, remember that agility cannot be achieved overnight. Every little step will contribute and make all the difference.