We all want to be the best marketer we can be, but time just doesn’t let us have it all. There aren’t enough minutes in the day to stay up on all the latest marketing trends, to write new, engaging copy for each email you send, or to attend to each request that comes your way.
So to help you fit in what’s most important, we worked with our expert email marketer, Jill Guest, Sr. Customer Growth Marketing Manager at SendGrid, for a list of tips and tricks to help you save time and focus on the big priorities.
1. Prioritize ruthlessly
Strict prioritization allows you to tell people no, or at least not now, when last-minute requests arise. To help us manage our multitude of projects at SendGrid, we keep a calendar of campaigns as our source of truth. When it’s challenging to prioritize the needs of different departments and customers, the calendar is where it can all come together to determine what needs to go when and to whom.
“Come to the table representing the recipient. You are going to know what will best serve them,” says Guest.
What also helps us is having a pre-determined hierarchy for marketing content. For us, that means the subscriber always comes first, so any internal communications or material that is not in the subscriber’s best interest does not take priority.
When last-minute requests come up, you can refer to the calendar and the content hierarchy to see if a) there’s room in the calendar for another campaign and b) if it takes priority in your content hierarchy by benefiting the subscriber. If it doesn’t fit at least one of those, you can kindly push the request to a later date and save yourself from a fire drill.
Need a sample calendar? Use our 2019 Email Planning Calendar for campaign ideas, upkeep tips, and holiday reminders.
2. Set expectations
Just like how we only have a vague idea of how long it takes someone to code an email template or fix a bug on a website, many of our teammates in other departments don’t know how long it takes to create an email campaign or write a best practice guide.
It’s important for all parties to set expectations for how long something is going to take by explaining the number of hoops you’ll have to leap through before the project gets out the door. By providing this expectation, you can better set timelines and keep your team informed.
3. Rely on knowledge owners
You shouldn’t be expected to know everything, and you’re certainly not a mind reader. When someone comes in with an email request, ask them to write it or outline it first before sending to you to edit and format with your email wordsmithing prowess.
This eliminates the back and forth as you try to draft an email on a topic you are unfamiliar with. At the same time, the person submitting the request tends to be happier with the end result as the email will capture what they originally envisioned. Win-win.
4. Reuse content
“Don’t reinvent the wheel! If content converts, reuse and repurpose as much as you can,” Guest explains.
Reusing or borrowing content gets a bad rap, but we’re not suggesting sending the same email more than once (in fact, we’re very much opposed to that idea). It is, however, a great idea to reuse content across the campaign.
For example, if you have a blog post on a product launch, take that copy and include it in the campaign’s email, social media posts, display ads, etc. This not only saves you time, but also makes the messaging consistent across the board.
5. Know (at least a little bit) about code
We’ve found that having a basic working knowledge of HTML can save you time and enhance your email marketing campaigns. By no means are we telling you to go code an email from scratch (although if you want to, go for it!). Having a working knowledge of HTML allows you to make quick changes in email templates where you would otherwise need the help of a developer.
To help you stay organized and make simples changes to your emails, keep a snippet library. This could be as simple as a Google doc of code snippets that you use for different parts of your templates, or, if you use SendGrid, you could include all of your modules in a template and clearly label in the code which part is which.
Want a better understanding of the code that goes into developing an email? Take a look at our blog post, 10 Tips for Designing and Developing Emails.
6. Check your pre-send list
Working under pressure, especially when you’re preparing to send an email to your thousands of contacts, is incredibly nervewracking.
“Having a solid pre-send checklist, gets you to a comfortable place of pressing send faster,” shares Guest.
We’ve found it helps to have a pre-send checklist that we can cross-check to get the email out the door more efficiently and with fewer errors. View a sample pre-send checklist here.
It’s also helpful to have a fresh perspective before you send to check for spelling mistakes and design errors. If you don’t have a copyeditor on your team, use tools like Grammarly to give you the confidence you need to press send.
7. Leverage your team
If a task seems like too much of a pain, ask around to see if there’s an easier way to accomplish the project. We’ve all at one time or another done an enormous amount of work only to realize there was a quick fix to the problem.
To give you an example, when updating logos one-by-one in all SendGrid email templates, we found out the hard way that all the logos could have been changed in a matter of minutes by a developer on our team. (Talk about a facepalm moment!)
While unfortunate, it’s a great reminder that we need to work with our developer counterparts and cultivate a working relationship with our larger team.
8. Participate in knowledge sharing
Whether it’s sharing industry trends or a well-written piece of content, knowledge sharing helps your team stay up-to-date. By spending the few minutes it takes to update content libraries and calendars, or repositories of A/B tests and campaign ideas, you save time in the long run by seeing from past projects what resonates with your recipients and what does not stick.
9. Quantify your impact
A skill that will make a difference for you, your projects, and your team in the long run, is being able to quantify your impact from a revenue perspective.
When you speak the same language as the bottom line, you’re able to position your marketing campaigns and projects in a way that shows how you’re helping the company. This will ultimately help you get the tools and headcount you need to accomplish your campaigns more efficiently and grow out your marketing arm.
It can, however, be challenging to quantify the customers and revenue your campaigns are bringing in because it requires a fair amount of data tracking and infrastructure in place. If you don’t have access to revenue-oriented metrics, engagement metrics, like opens, are a good place to start, but try to push internally for better visibility into your programs.
Interested in other ways you can improve your marketing role? Watch Catalyst, our video series that provides career tips for the modern marketer. We interview several young professionals at companies around the world to see how they are tackling digital marketing. Check it out!