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Agile Email Marketing Part 1: Content & Development Micro-Efficiencies


Speed to market is more important than ever in this constantly evolving environment. That’s why the agile methodology has become increasingly popular beyond its roots in software development. Agile marketing is all the rage, and email marketing definitely plays a part. But even with the best intentions, trying to change a painfully slow process can feel impossible.

According to Litmus’ 2019 State of Email Workflows, 53% of brands take 2 weeks or more to produce a single email. How can you get emails out the door faster without it feeling like a huge endeavor? The answer: micro-efficiencies.

Micro-efficiencies stem from the idea that small steps lead to big changes. After all, breaking things down to bite-sized tasks feels more achievable, like dipping your toes into the water instead of diving right in.

We’re turning the traditionally linear email marketing process on its head. Here’s part 1 of the micro-efficiencies that’ll help you achieve an agile email workflow.

Micro-efficiency #1: Strategize your content and design

First, you need to outline your email campaign strategy and share it with everyone involved. A solid strategy is critical to ensure that copy, design, and development are aligned. Otherwise, there can be miscommunication, resulting in even more work. Putting together your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Remember, small steps! As long as you have the basics, you’re golden:

  • Define your email’s purpose, goal, and audience.
  • Define your content strategy for getting opens and clicks.
  • Define how your email’s copy and images should be laid out.

For a more guided approach, check out our Email Brief & Planning Worksheet.

Micro-efficiency #2: Standardize email development

To further simplify how you visually organize your email content and cut down on email development time and resources, create templated emails. Easier said than done, right?

Start small with partials and snippets a.k.a. reusable blocks of code. Think of email headers and footers or bulletproof buttons. Save time from coding the same things over and over again—and come out with consistently on-brand, error-free emails.

If you want greater control while empowering others to easily create their own emails, use email templates. Don’t have one? Check out our free email templates or learn how to make your own with the Ultimate Guide to Email Templates.

Be sure to store all of these reusable, shared assets—partials, snippets, and templates—in one easy-to-access spot. With the Design Library, you can centralize these key components of email campaigns to more easily collaborate, ensure brand integrity, and scale email production across your team.

Micro-efficiency #3: Write, design, and build—at the same time

Traditionally, design wouldn’t be created until the copy was done. And only after all of that could development finally be underway. But with your strategy nailed down and email layout decided, everyone can take this information and start working on their part at the same time while collaborating on the way. Here are a couple of quick tips how:

  • Provide at least a rough headline and call-to-action for each piece of content that requires an image, so design can be done at the same time that the rest of the copy is written.
  • Based on the aligned strategy, development can begin with placeholder text. Once copy and images are drafted, you can quickly place them directly into your email template with Visual Editor in Litmus Builder, see if everything fits the way it should, and make edits as needed. Plus, you’ll be able to preview how your email will look across the email clients and devices that matter most to you.

And all of this can cut email creation time by up to 75%! No more waiting around.

Now you’re ready for email reviews and approvals. Check out the micro-efficiency tips to streamline that part of the process, too.

Want to see all of the micro-efficiencies plus bonus tips & tricks?

Our ebook, Going Agile: The New Email Workflow, is now available! It includes a detailed agile email workflow process chart you can easily reference, all seven of our micro-efficiency tips, plus bonus ways you can go the extra mile toward agile email marketing.

Get your copy →

Magan Le

Magan Le

Magan Le was a Content Marketing Manager at Litmus