5 ways to make your email campaign production more efficient
Companies and their campaign management teams are under constant pressure to deliver more with every passing year. Customers expect their messages to be timely and relevant, and businesses need to deliver these experiences without increasing costs.
This work often falls to the campaign team, and so it is imperative for these teams to find efficiencies in their campaign production. Greater planning and running more testing strategies will not only help them deliver more campaigns but more relevant and personalised campaigns. The time saved through greater efficiency will allow them to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
Below are 5 areas that campaign teams could investigate.
A large portion of the campaign production lifecycle will be repetitive tasks. I recommend campaign teams look at their production process and identify which of these can be templated. Templates act as a starting point for common tasks, so you don’t always have to start from scratch.
Commonly, people look to template HTML email structures. I certainly urge you do this, as HTML development is one of the most time-consuming parts of delivering an email campaign. But you could also look to create templates for resources in your campaign management tool. These resources include:
- content blocks
- delivery settings
- campaign audience filters
- suppression rules
- automation design
- landing pages.
Let your tech do the work.
Most campaign management tools have some form of in-built “marketing automation”, and most companies will have at least some automated programmes in place. This might include welcome journeys, re-engagement programmes, abandoned basket emails.
It’s crucial that campaign teams have these in place. They require little maintenance once they’re set up and they’re typically timelier and more relevant to customers, which drives higher engagement.
I also recommend you look beyond this and think about automating some of your most repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Think about areas like data processing, reporting and content creation.
If you’re unfamiliar with automation and like the security a manual process provides, this might make you feel apprehensive. But I encourage you to start small, find quick wins and take it from there.
Also, don’t be put off if some development is needed — some upfront work can often save so much more time in the long run.
3. Dynamic content
Creating dynamic content is a great way to keep your messaging relevant and save time.
It can remove the need to create multiple email variations for each of your customer segments. This would otherwise require other repetitive tasks, like campaign targeting, delivery set-up, proofing and scheduling. Certainly, make use of this where appropriate.
And I do stress where appropriate. Here, I’m really talking about “if / else” type logic, which is perfect for when you need to tweak the experience for different customer segments. Dynamic content should swap out (or add) sentences, paragraphs, images or blocks of content – not change the entire email for every segment or customer. It’s also ideal when you have a ‘handful’ of variants to serve.
Always ask yourself, “will using dynamic content save me time over creating separate versions?” Or will it just shift where time is spent in the set-up process? Also consider the testing that will be required, how easy it will be to maintain or make changes if required, and whether you can get the post-campaign reporting you need.
If the answer to the above is yes, then dynamic content is likely a good way to go.
4. Data management approach to content population
Many campaign management platforms have extensible data models. Consider whether this feature can be used to not only enrich your customer data (for smarter targeting, personalisation and dynamic content) but to store content.
If so, you should be able to get to a place where you can have emails built as HTML structures with variable placeholders – and then populate the placeholders with the information from these content tables.
With the right data structure and data management processes, it should be possible to create static, dynamic or even individualised versions of content by updating content schemas without modifying HTML code from campaign to campaign.
5. Additional personalisation tools
Tools like Movable Ink, Kick Dynamic and Fresh Relevance can supplement the features offered by your campaign management tool or ESP.
They all have a wealth of exciting features to help you create engaging and relevant email messages but I’m going to focus on the campaign production efficiencies they can bring.
These tools require access to data about your customers and products through your CRM, ESP and eCommerce data sources, and they are supplemented by website tagging and file uploads.
They allow you to create blocks of content that can repurpose assets from the website or product database. You can build rules around what content each customer should see based on customer data, web tracking data or contextual data (which is data at the time of open, such as date, device or geolocation).
This means your content will adapt based on the customer, changes made to the data sources (like new product lines or stock levels) or the rule conditions – all without modifying any HTML code in the email template.
This is a particularly powerful tool for retailers. It means newsletters can be created once and resent multiple times, each serving a different experience. It helps you to save time during campaign set-up and content creation. And it allows you to deliver more relevant content to your customers.
It can be difficult to find time to develop new processes during busy periods, when campaign teams are working hard to deliver work at scale. But when possible, take a step back and try to look for efficiencies within your production processes. It’s amazing how much time can be saved with marginal gains.
Hopefully, the above gives you some inspiration for ways you can deliver campaigns at a larger scale. Many of these techniques will also help you to increase relevancy and deliver better experiences to your customers.
If your campaign team need support to be more efficient in their campaign production please get in touch: email@example.com
Technical Strategy Director