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8 Tips for Successful Email Workflow Management

Start and stop. Back and forth. Rush and wait. The journey of an email idea to a live campaign has so many decision points and variables, which makes email workflow management so difficult! That’s why we’ve compiled this list of our favorite tips and strategies to create better emails faster and with less frustration. 

What is email workflow management in email marketing?

Email workflow management is the art of moving an email from ideation to completion in an organized and efficient way (and then starting over for the next one). 

Every team who sends emails has an email workflow, but that doesn’t mean every team has a good workflow. It is a tall order, after all.

Your email workflow management strategy includes:

  • List growth
  • Planning
  • Production
  • Automation
  • Testing
  • Analysis

email workflow management chart

Why is it important for marketing teams to effectively manage email workflows?

An effective email marketing workflow improves:

  • Efficiency and productivity: automating repetitive work and removing redundancies speeds up planning, production, testing, and analysis. 
  • Consistency and branding: repeatable processes and templates make it easy to maintain standards, no matter who works on the email. 
  • Accuracy: integrations automatically move information to reduce accidental human errors. 
  • Collaboration and communication: creating a single source of truth puts every stakeholder on the same page. 
  • Scalability and growth: the faster you create emails, the more you can experiment and scale your email program. 
  • Compliance and legal requirements: automatically including legally-required elements ensures compliance. 
  • Data and insights: consistent efforts are easier to manage, which provides more learning opportunities. 

What are common challenges in email workflow management?

Everyone wants work to be as easy and effective as possible—so why do so many teams struggle with their processes? Here are the common email workflow management roadblocks that slow down teams. 

Lack of centralized processes and tools for collaboration

Taking different routes and modes of transportation works for meeting up with your friends at an event venue, but the same isn’t true for email workflows. If team members and stakeholders all use slightly different processes and tools, there’s a greater chance you’ll lose vital information along the way. At the very least, a lack of centralized methods and tools slows down your email workflow. 

Inefficient approval processes leading to delays

When we surveyed email teams about their workflows, two of the most common bottlenecks were collecting feedback and getting buy-in from all stakeholders. Too many approvers and a fragmented review process cause email workflow delays. 

Difficulty in maintaining version control and tracking changes

Your inbox and messaging apps fill up too quickly to rely on them to track feedback and changes for each email campaign. While informal version control and changes may work for a while on a team of one or two, as your team and output grow, this can lead to problems. 

Inability to integrate with other marketing tools and systems

If you feel like you work on an email island, you aren’t alone—only 24% of email marketing programs are highly integrated into other marketing channels! Manually moving info between tools takes time and could lead to errors. Or, you may leave valuable insights undiscovered with marketing tools and systems that don’t integrate. 

Time-consuming manual tasks and repetitive processes

A single grain of sand is insignificant, but put enough of them together, and you have a beach. Small, manual tasks and repetitive processes don’t seem problematic, but small inefficiencies add up. Considering 62% of email marketing teams take two weeks or more on an email, even tiny time-savings on each message add up over the year. 

What’s the most frustrating part of the email workflow?

We surveyed 440 email marketers worldwide to find out. The State of Email Workflows Report looks at how the best email marketers are working… and what we can learn from them.


8 tips and best practices to manage your email workflows better

Yes, the entire process of your email workflow has a lot of moving parts. But even a few simple changes can drastically improve how your team works. Let’s explore a few tips to manage your email marketing. 

Tip 1: Establish clear roles and responsibilities 

When everyone is clear on what they need to do they can hone their skills and avoid duplicating work. The first step in improving your email workflow is writing out your current process and ensuring everyone knows their role. Establishing responsibilities also helps you identify gaps in your workflow that may be causing backups.

Try this:

  • Create a pre-send email checklist and assign tasks to team members
  •  Manage permissions in your email marketing automation software to keep folks focused on their responsibilities

Tip 2: Create a centralized email calendar for your team members 

Knowing what’s ahead helps with resource planning and a division of responsibilities. Workloads likely won’t always be perfectly balanced, but a centralized email campaign calendar helps. 

Try this:

Tip 3: Implement collaboration tools for effective communication 

Email collaboration and communication is easier and faster with the right tools. Apps like Slack, Jira, Asana, and Trello help email teams keep track of and assign work. 

Try this:

Tip 4: Clean up your approvals process

Having a fresh perspective on a message before you send it to your entire list is nice. Still, the approvals process can swell to manageable steps. Aim to include only the required stakeholders and keep comments and questions in a single spot. 

Try this:

  • Get email feedback out of the inbox and ensure everyone uses the same method, even if it’s just a Google Doc
  • Limit email reviewers to 2-3 people

Tip 5: Develop standardized email templates and guidelines 

Email templates and design systems speed up email production and create brand consistency. 

“Implementing an email design system with snippets and partials can help you or your team save hours of time. If you already have an email framework or set of templates, you’re part of the way there! You can use your templates to create snippets and partials for future email creation.” Carin Slater, Email and Content Growth Marketing Manager at Litmus

Try this:

Tip 6: Utilize workflow automations to streamline processes 

Email integrations are your email workflow management best friend because they automate repetitive tasks. For example, the Litmus and Slack integration sends real-time status updates and approval requests to keep projects moving. Look for connections between your tools to automatically move work between apps, send alerts, and manage in-progress campaigns. 

Try this:

Tip 7: Implement quality assurance checks and testing 

Email testing is non-negotiable that doesn’t have to halt the momentum. Start simple with a QA checklist to quickly reference what you need to do, or automate parts of testing like spam filter tests and device rendering. 

Try this:

Tip 8: Continuously analyze and optimize email performance 

Every campaign is a learning opportunity, both internally and externally. Analyze email performance to learn your audience preferences and create better emails on the first try. Regularly review your workflow, too, to find areas to improve. 

Try this:

  • Use email analytics to find the most popular devices and then narrow your testing scope to save time and work for a majority of your audience
  • Track the time it takes to create an email from beginning to end and monitor how it changes 

Transform your email campaigns and entire process today! 

Transforming how you produce email marketing campaigns is a blend of strategy and tools. Simple steps like limiting the number of approvers and setting clear responsibilities on your team help you create more efficiently. If you want to automate your workflow and create the best customer experience in the inbox, Litmus can help. 

Litmus is an email marketing tool that lets you build, test, and analyze your email marketing workflow. Features like Litmus Builder with partials and snippets, ESP sync, consolidated collaboration, pre-send testing, and advanced analytics help you create and send better emails faster. Learn more about how Litmus can help

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