When we work with enterprise clients we recommend a host of strategies to deploy engagement marketing smoothly and efficiently. This post will focus on one particular strategy – email template strategy.
Email template strategy refers to a decision on the part of the client as to whether they will use emial templates or whether they will create each email from scratch. Typically marketing automation platforms allow for both approaches and is important for the client to select the appropriate approach.
What are email templates?
Email templates should be thought of as an”ice tray” approach to creating emails. The ice tray is available as a template and the creator of the email will fill in the content. Here is an example of how an email template would be structured:
A user using the above template would apply content as needed within this structure.
Many times new enterprise clients come from a place where the platform did not have the ability to create email templates or for some reason or other the client has not been using temaplates.
The alternative would be to create a new design for each new email, create html for that design, copy that html into the marketing platform, and test and execute the email.
Pro’s amd con’s of template approach
This post will outline the benefits of each approach so that you can make an informed decision.
Here are the pro’s and con’s of the email template approach:
Speed of creation is greater because the user is selecting an email template and pulling content into that template using the user interface. With email templates the user does not need to go into the html – they just make changes using the user interface. Tokens allow personalization such as “first name” or “sales rep name.” With the user interface the user can drag-and-drop tokens into the email. Dynamic content allows you to vary content blocks within the email for different segments – you can only do this with email templates. Discrete design choices means the user can make a design choice by picking a template – once they select a template they must stay within that email template framework.
And here are the pro’s and con’s of the scratch approach:
Design flexibility means the next email “ice tray” structure can be completely different than any previous email. Speed of creation is slower due to a different process involving more people typically. Since the user interface can only be used with templates – HTML skills are needed to create each email and make any adjustments to an email. No Dynamic Content means we cannot use data to vary content blocks within in the email.
Since design flexibility is the single advantage of creating emails from scratch we will address this point.
What we mean by design flexibility is that email-by-email you can have a completely different design because you are creating the email from scratch.
With the template method your marketers will pick from existing templates which define the structure of the email. They can still have different content within the content blocks – but they need to stay within the structure of the template they select.
So this is the big decision point typically – if you can trade off this “complete” design flexibility you gain access to all the other advantages.
Speed of creation
These are the processes and time estimates for the 2 types of email creation:
This data comes from our experience with both methods. These times are examples and can vary based on the actual designs.
Besides the hours saved using templates, coordination will also be simpler because one person may be able to execute vs. having multiple people involved with the scratch approach. For example with the scratch approach, for each email you need someone involved who can work with html vs. with templates the email creator can operate in the user interface and will not need to touch html.
Cost savings due to speed of creation
Assuming the above numbers here is the cost of doing 4,000 emails from scratch vs. using templates.
Time difference per email = 6 hours
Time difference for 4,000 emails = 24,000 hours
Estimated cost @ $60 per hour = $1,440,000
So a marketing team that creates 4,000 emails per year could save about $1.5 million dollars each year by using email templates.