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How Email Teams Power the Marketing Machine: Webinar Recording + Q&A

Getting great emails out the door is your number one job, but what if we told you the best email teams go beyond that? The truth is, email can (and should) shape nearly every marketing decision—if you know where to look. In this webinar, we walked through how you can leverage the power of an email first approach to bring out the most strategic part of your team.

Didn’t have a chance to watch the webinar live? Don’t worry. You can access the full recording at any time and read the Q&A below.

Q&A

A big thank you to everyone who chimed in during the webinar with a question! Here’s a recap of our answers to the most popular questions. Have any additional questions? Please leave them in the comments.

What tools does Litmus use to share email performance across the team (and beyond)? What tools would you suggest?

Jason Rodriguez: We use a variety of tools, but the most important ones are an internal dashboard that pulls in metrics from our ESP, Google Analytics, and a few other places. It allows us to see which campaigns and—more importantly—which content is resonating with our subscribers and share it around as needed.

When it comes to sharing insights across the entire company, we usually rely on decks built in Google Slides (which makes things easy to share with anyone in the company) as well as regular posts to internal documentation (e.g. Basecamp or Confluence).

Any tools should work. It really just depends on what you have access to and budget for, how easy it is to integrate with your other tools so that pulling in data is seamless, and how easy you can share information from that tool. Sharing is really the most important thing, since the whole idea behind the Perform pillar is to share information widely across the company so you can use your email program to shape your other marketing strategies and channels.

Can you speak in more detail about a monthly performance digest: what gets included, how is it presented, and to whom?

Jason: Not every metric needs to be shared in a monthly (or any regular) performance report. You need to understand which metrics are key to your business. And it absolutely varies from business to business. Like so much in email marketing, it all depends…

For us, we look at things like:

  • Click-to-open rate
  • Net new leads
  • Where email content is driving people
  • Which types of content resonate (e.g. blog posts, podcasts, webinars, events, etc.)
  • How certain types of content drive in-app usage
  • How emails drive feature adoption when we launch updates

That’s in no way, shape, or form an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what people are interested in.

When we share data, it’s with a few different folks. The wider marketing team looks at content trends and leads to figure out where we should invest in future content ideas. The product team likes seeing what resonates with prospects and current customers—so does sales. And our leadership team likes to see how certain strategies are performing in email so we can work those strategies into other channels like paid media, sales, etc.

See the question above to learn about how that data is presented.

What should I include in an email brief? How do you determine the ultimate decision maker when it comes to edits?

Jason: I hate saying it but—once again—it all depends on the type of email, what the team needs to see, and the business itself.

That being said, there are some common elements that appear in every email campaign that are great candidates to include in an email brief.

  • Type of email, e.g. marketing vs. transactional
  • Overall goal of the email campaign
  • Details about the target audience/segmentation
  • When it needs to be sent
  • Supporting assets (graphics, copy, etc.)
  • Key stakeholder
  • Subject line
  • Preheader text
  • Main CTA

We actually have a great blog post and email brief workbook to help guide you through the process of creating your first email brief.

When it comes to figuring out the ultimate arbiter for edits, we usually defer to the project stakeholder working in tandem with our marketing team that’s writing the copy. Fortunately, we’re still relatively small as a team so communication isn’t too big of an issue. For larger teams, try to keep stakeholders limited. We all know that too many cooks can ruin a dish.

As a one-person email team, how do I balance strategic work and education with just getting stuff done?

Jason: This is one of the hardest things to do and something even we (a team of more than one) are constantly working on. The best answer I have is to prioritize and templatize things as much as possible.

If you’re struggling to get things done on a daily basis, it’s probably worth spending some time to review your tools and process to see what you can automate. Especially on the development side, there are things like partials and snippets or tools like Litmus Builder and ESP sync that can help out. Getting those in place can help free up time to devote to strategic work and education.

Beyond that, actually scheduling it and sticking to that schedule is the best option. Set a recurring calendar event to do that strategic or educational work and be ruthless about sticking to it, even in the face of looming deadlines. It can be incredibly difficult but will almost certainly be worth it in the long run.

If you’re still struggling, then it’s probably time to have an honest conversation with the leadership team to get better resources to handle the workload and grow your email program. Go to them with all of the data you (hopefully) have about how much email benefits the company’s business goals and a clear plan for how extra resources would be used to further impact those business goals.

How do you “push back” on leadership when edits don’t agree with best practices?

Jason: This can be extrapolated beyond just edits in the copy of an email. The best way is to provide evidence when pushing back.

This can be in the form of data from past campaigns or data from other companies across your industry that have used those best practices to achieve their goals. Look at your campaign data (which you’re hopefully doing on a regular basis) and pull out key figures that support your original strategy. Find ebooks, blog posts, conference talks, and white papers online from others that have faced similar challenges.

Keep in mind that, sometimes, it might be a better idea to go with the edit and test it out. One of email’s major benefits is its testability. Set up an A/B test to try out the two versions on a subset of your subscribers and see which one performs the best. Adjust as needed.

When it comes down to it, though, data talks.