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Part 3: The Tools You Need to Scale Your Email Program

Part 3: Tools

Without your email marketing tools, all of your ideas would remain just that—ideas. Platforms like your ESP, design program, code editor, and more help you accomplish your work, and the right integrations can streamline your production cycle. 

As your email program grows and evolves, you’ll likely need to bring in supplementary marketing tools, or even add another ESP. So how do you choose the tools that help you scale your email program? There are two components to consider: scalable platforms and specialized tools. 

This post is the third installment in a 3-part series all about scaling your email team. Experts from Litmus and Salesforce sat down to discuss the three elements of a scalable email program: people, processes, and tools. You can watch the full webinar on-demand here, but today the focus is on the final component—tools. 

First, choose an ESP that can grow with you

The cornerstone of your email toolkit is your ESP, and deciding which one is right for you can be a daunting task. After all, it’s typically a large part of your email budget. You also need to consider where your department is now, as well as where you plan to go. Choosing an ESP that can grow with you prevents you from having to find a new provider in a year.

We took a deep dive into the ESPs your peers use and love in our  State of Email Service Providers report, and there are a few who lead the pack. Mailchimp and Salesforce Marketing Cloud make up the lion’s share of preferred ESPs, with 23% and 21% of respondents respectively using them. Adobe Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, and Oracle Eloqua occupy the next three top spots. 

The results of the survey proved one thing to be true—there’s no shortage of ESPs for marketers to choose. So how do you evaluate an ESP for scale? Here are a few factors you’ll want to consider have: 

Data integrations

Your ESP has some key email campaign data, but you may be looking for additional metrics you can turn into actions. If you haven’t cracked the code on quality data just yet, you’re not alone. 18% of email professionals say they struggle with quality data and integrations. When you’re making sure your current ESP is one you can grow with, make sure that it can play nice with other data reporting tools. 

Marketer-friendly workflows

As your team or email demand grows, it’s helpful for each person to be able to work autonomously. That means that a marketer needs to be able to set up workflows or data analysis without help from the engineering team. AI-powered insights such as intelligent predictions make data-driven decisions easier, but you need to make sure your ESP empowers email marketers to take matters into their own hands. 

Then, add specialized tools to scale your work

Ready to get more out of the time you invest in creating, testing, and analyzing emails? Adding specialized tools and integrations at pivotal points in your email process keeps you from switching between tabs a thousand times a day. Jason Rodriguez even hosted a podcast about the growing complexity of email marketing and the role of integrations for delivering better results. Let’s review some tools you may want to add to your marketing stack. 

Campaign planning or management software

A scalable email process starts with proper planning. Since most ESPs don’t have content planning integrated, you’ll need to supplement your workflow with separate tools. The simplest, and most popular choice, is Google Drive or Microsoft Word. 

If you want to streamline your workflow even more, you can connect Trello and Litmus to sync projects.  Putting project documents, goals, and emails in a single view means your team can spend less time finding what they need, and more time acting on it. 

Integrated builder

Everyone has a preference for where and how they like to develop emails, but your code typically changes hands or platforms throughout the development and testing process. Rather than copying and pasting code between tools, and then doing the same for each round of revisions, you’ll save time by integrating your workspaces. 

Litmus Builder lets you store and use partials, snippets, and modular elements to speed up your workflow. Plus, ESP syncing means edits to your code in Litmus will automatically be reflected in your ESP.

Development frameworks

If you’re new to email development or have team members coming from a web development background, then email development frameworks can help speed up production. Frameworks such as MJML or Foundation for Emails from Zurb bridge the gap between traditional coding and accounting for email-specific nuances or bugs.

Dynamic scripting

Many ESPs have tools to help you take advantage of dynamic content so that you can put all of your data together to use to create personalized emails. For example, AMPscript from Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps you automate dynamic campaigns so that you don’t have to create 30 versions of the same email, because who has time for that?

Automated reviews

Email teams spend an average of 2.4 hours on testing and troubleshooting emails, and while you may want to accelerate your production time, you can’t sacrifice quality for the sake of speed. Email client updates happen on average once every two days, which means you need to preview your email in top clients before every send to ensure the best customer experience. However, manually sending a test email to your one teammate who has an Android phone and another that uses Outlook isn’t a realistic option when you have multiple campaigns, and possibly multiple versions, in production.

Litmus Previews help you easily see how your emails will appear across email clients and platforms, which means review emails faster while maintaining your high brand standards. Integrating a pre-send checklist with your builder and ESP also ensures you don’t accidentally overlook important elements, such as email accessibility

Consolidated feedback

If you want to speed up email reviews and approvals, start by deciding on one place to collect feedback. Even a long email chain is better than five different sources of opinions and notes that you then have to translate to changes in design or coding. We created Litmus Proof to scratch our own itch after feeling weighed down by scattered feedback. It allows all of your stakeholders to add notes directly to email drafts, making it easy for everyone to see and act on comments. 

Choosing the right email stack for scalability is all about helping your team create more, better emails at a sustainable pace. Most of us could work really hard for a short time to get a last-minute campaign out the door, but that isn’t a viable long-term strategy. The best email teams, processes, and tools help your current program work more efficiently and effectively, and bring new members up to speed quickly.