The strategy and email architecture for your automated email program is the most significant piece of work that can be undertaken in the email channel.
Being organized with the planning of your program documentation, will enable maintenance, additions and naming conventions for your program to be quicker, easier and for your marketing team to be more flexible.
Automated email programs are more complex that the usual newsletter blasts. They rely on data within your email platform in order to facilitate and enable your automation to take place.
Some data won’t be in place. We suggest ignoring this when creating your initial strategy. The reason being that you shouldn’t limit the strategy due to data. Focus on what your organization really needs in terms of an optimized strategy, then work on getting your data into shape to facilitate such a program.
This may mean launching with a few programs initially, then adding the additional programs when the data is available. This could be over a 2 – 3 year period, however your plan will be in place and your goals will be organized and understood. Don’t limit what you’d like to do. Create a big picture of what is best for your organization, then work on it in pieces to achieve the optimal program over time. The over-arching message here is to think BIG.
We like to visually map out automated email architecture as shown in the sample below. This enables a clear documented understanding of the triggers, communications and high-level messaged within the program.
The strategy document should include data trigger points, data fields required, email templates to be used, database interactions etc. Automated email architecture should be as comprehensive as possible.
We also recommend naming each communication piece with a number and a letter. For example, program 1 may be for a new member program. The first email will be email 1a followed by 1b, 1c, etc. All artwork creative should also be named by the number and letter of the email. This type of labeling and naming convention will assist with internal meetings, but they can be replicated into your email platform making identification of an email and maintenance of a specific email much easier.
Sanity check your program – you can do this in a number of ways. One of the best ways is to ask an email marketing expert or consultant to spend an hour looking over your automated email strategy to see if there is anything missing. Additionally presenting and getting feedback on internal team members can be invaluable. It is imperative that your program is checked prior to implementation to save time and efforts in this area.
Top 5 tips for your email architecture
- Create / strategize your entire program in the one go. Don’t limit what you’d like to do because of data or system restrictions.
- Prioritize the program implementation to pick off the lowest handing fruit, whilst working towards full implementation.
- Create a visual architecture easily digestible by managers, and users of the document.
- Use naming conventions within the automated email architecture and follow though on implementing these within your email platform, artwork folders and creative assets.
- Sanity check your strategy and plan prior to implementing it. Ensure it’s a workable and optimized automated email architecture.