The Importance of Template Health Checks
Email marketers often invest significant time and resource into designing and coding large master templates (also sometimes referred to as design systems). These can make the process of producing new mailings significantly easier and more efficient.
The design is already on brand, the code has already been tested, so marketers can just drop in their content and go. However, they often avoid revisiting or reviewing their template design or code until their branding changes significantly or they move to a new ESP. At ActionRocket, we encourage clients to undertake an annual template ‘health check’.
This is primarily because email best practice is constantly evolving. New apps, platform updates and mobile devices are being released. Sometimes new platforms have specific limitations or rendering issues that the email community need to find fixes or workarounds for. After a year or more, email template code may need updates to ensure it works optimally in the latest devices. Technology can also evolve on the client side as well. For example, a template may need an update to take advantage of new features in software such as ESPs or email editing platforms such as Taxi for Email.
Technology isn’t the only thing that changes rapidly. As departments grow and processes evolve, sometimes the needs of marketers and their teams change too. For example, a template which occasionally requires some manual adjustments to the HTML or addition of dynamic ESP code may be manageable for a small team with a broad skillset. But may be challenging for a larger team where newer staff may be less comfortable with editing code. If your template is a year or more old, it may be time for a formal health check of the code and design.
Here are a few things to consider:
Your team: The people who regularly use the template will be most familiar with what is working well and what isn’t. Pay attention to what parts of the email creation process they are finding frustrating or time consuming. If they are constantly fixing rendering issues in different devices, it is likely that the base code is out of date.
Your audience: There is a huge range of devices and email platforms that your recipients may be viewing your emails on, and the proportions of each may change over time. If you are able to, it is worth investigating usage statistics to see what devices and platforms are most popular for your audience. This may inform the decisions developers will make while updating your template.
Your modules: Ideally, you should be able to fit your content comfortably into the modular structures that your template has been designed with. If your team needs to make frequent manual adjustments to the design, perhaps the available layouts are not well suited to the content they are trying to include. You may need some new layouts designed and built for newer types of content. There may also be some modules which you no longer have use for and can remove from your template.
Regular health checks of your template code will help to ensure that your design system is working as hard as it can for your team, and that your emails look great on the latest devices. If you feel your email template is due for an overhaul, get started today by contacting us at ActionRocket!
Marketing Manager @ Action Rocket