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From ideation to execution: can you really create beautiful emails in minutes?

Image for blog on email creation time: person in yellow sweater sitting at their laptop with an overlaid graphic of a stop watch

In an ideal world, we’d all love to get our emails to market faster. But in reality, things like external agencies, approvals, and edits inevitably add to your email creation time, sometimes turning minutes into months. (Nope, that’s not an exaggeration.) Long delays mean missing out on golden opportunities to deliver the right content at the right time, to the right audience — and that’s not a risk you can take.

So, how long should an email actually take? And what are the benefits of taking a more agile approach? In this article, we’re taking a look at the barriers to speedy email creation and some key strategies that marketers can use to streamline their email creation process. 

How quickly can marketers get their emails to market?

The short answer? It depends. 

In Knak’s 2022 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 55% of marketers told us that they can get their emails to market in a matter of minutes or hours. That means that for the other 45%, it takes anywhere between days or weeks to get their emails out the door. 

That second percentage needs to go way down. With customers expecting seamless and rapid communications from their brands, you can’t afford to be left behind when it comes to sending your emails quickly. To keep pace, email marketers need to find new ways to refine and streamline the email creation process. 

What are barriers to creating emails quickly?

There are three main barriers to faster email creation: people, approval systems, and transfer times.

People:

In any organization, change management can be tough. This is particularly true when you’re trying to implement a new way of doing things (like an email creation platform). When people have been doing the same thing for years, working in the same ways, they can be scared of what happens next once they “give up” their thing. 

On the flip side, you also have marketers that are used to submitting a ticket and getting everything done for them. But there’s no reason why they can’t build an email themselves with a tool like Knak. Yes, it’s more work for the end user, but they also get to have more control and freedom to be creative within the confines of their brand. They can actually do a lot more with it. 

We’ve found that a lot of marketers don’t know they actually want to create emails themselves. Once they get the ability to do it, they love it. Not only do they get to play and be more creative, they also get more control over their own timelines rather than being tied to service level agreements with other teams or external agencies.

Processes:

When it comes to the approval process, every company is different. Particularly in larger organizations, everyone likes to have their say on the final output. And whilst it’s a really important part of the process, sometimes approvals can eat away at your time to market. It’s not uncommon to find larger organizations who involve 10 different people in the approval process, sometimes twice. 

Transfers:

More generally, every time there’s a switch in the email creation process, the time goes up a notch. Consider a team that works with an agency. Every time a new email needs to be created, it has to first be briefed to the agency, then they create it, then there’s back and forth for approvals, then they finally send it back for it to be set up in your MAP. That’s a lot of steps.

This buffering creates delay and things gets clunky really quickly. Eliminating tech transfers and team transfers clears the way for speedier email execution. 

What’s the value of a short email creation time?

When you’ve got an emergency email that needs to go out yesterday (remember all those COVID-19 response emails in March 2020?), taking a more agile approach can help shorten the time to market. It also gives marketers the flexibility to respond to an ever-changing landscape, whether that’s external events, or impromptu ideas and creative spontaneity. 

Setting the standard

Of course, the main risk with getting something out of the door at speed is that you might skip over important details in the rush. But with an agile process in place, marketers can work more responsively and create emails by following a streamlined and pre-defined path, whether that’s standard content, urgent messages, or content that’s net new. 

By setting standardized processes, you can also empower anyone within your organization to create an email. In other words, you don’t have to rely on a single stakeholder who may or may not always be available to create the content when you need it. This removes potential bottlenecks and democratizes email creation (another trend we identified in our report). You’re basically creating an ecosystem that is approved and acceptable for anything that goes out the door, making life a lot easier. 

Enabling testing

When it comes to A/B testing, faster is most definitely better. By accelerating the email creation process, you can fail fast, figuring out what works and what doesn’t before running with it. 

With more brands sending more emails, people have more emails in their inboxes than ever before. So it pays to spend the time to really identify what’s going to resonate with your audience and make you stand out in a crowded and competitive market. 

Ultimately, email marketing doesn’t need to be complex. So why make creating and sending one more complicated than it needs to be?

How can email marketers become more agile? 

When we map the (pre-Knak) email creation journey for our customers, there are often a number of steps involved, including a seemingly endless approval loop. But it doesn’t have to be that involved. 

If you spend the time refining and streamline your internal processes, you can exponentially increase the speed, scale, and efficiency of your marketing efforts. But what does this look like in practice? 

  1. Identify that you have a problem and that things need to change.
  2. Choose a tool that really facilitates email creation for everyone.
  3. Set accessible and repeatable processes for different types of emails. 
  4. Train the right people to do the work. 
  5. Trust your team. Let them own email and reduce the number of eyes needed to approve an email. 

At Knak, we’ve seen hundreds of customers make these changes for the better. In fact, for around 80% of them, it takes less than two days from the moment someone starts building an email to the moment it’s synced with their marketing automation platform. In terms of time spent on the platform, it’s an average 21 minutes per email — and that includes reviews and edits. 

Beyond getting their emails to market faster, our customers are getting time back to build better testing programs, learn more about their own customers, and empower their teams to be more creative. Plus, the creation experience is just miles better than what they were doing before. And those are benefits you can take to the bank.

Curious to learn more? Visit our enterprise product page to see how you can scale up and speed things up with Knak.

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