Here are six questions you should ask yourself to decide if implementing an Email Design System should be a priority for your team.

An Email Design System is a powerful tool to help your brand send consistently great email at scale—but setting one up takes time and effort. Should implementing an Email Design System be a priority for your team? If you nod your head yes to any or all of the following six questions, that’s a sign that setting up an Email Design System is an effort that will pay off for your team. 

1. Do you have a large team or is your team growing quickly?

The larger your email team, the harder it is to make sure that every team member is on the same page, and that every email your team touches is on-brand and performs. Plus, if your team is growing quickly, making sure that everyone is aligned can get even harder.

An Email Design System is a powerful way to bring order into the chaos of large teams and multiple stakeholders. It functions as a single source of truth for your designs and email best practices and ensures that your team—no matter how big it is or how fast it is growing—is moving in the same direction. Plus, a well-documented Email Design System provides a valuable framework to speed up the onboarding process, allowing you to get new team members up to speed on your email program quickly.

2. Is your team heavily decentralized?

If you’re part of a small, centralized team—let’s say you’re two people in charge of executing every single campaign that’s sent on behalf of your brand—you might have no trouble making sure that the emails you send are on-brand and follow email best practices. 

As businesses grow though, they often opt for a decentralized email marketing organization where marketers in different business units are in charge of creating campaigns for their product line, geography, or customer segment. This chart by Litmus shows how the popularity of a decentralized approach to email marketing increases as businesses grow:

via Litmus — "Organizing Email Teams: Centralized vs. Decentralized Team Structures"

via Litmus — "Organizing Email Teams: Centralized vs. Decentralized Team Structures"

Giving each business unit autonomy over the email channel has a key benefit: You’ll have marketers in charge who know their audience, product, and messaging inside out—and that’s key for delivering impactful emails. At the same time though, ensuring a consistent subscriber experience across units and making sure that everyone follows best practices becomes a challenge. 

An Email Design System provides the foundation for a coherent email experience by connecting all teams, departments, and campaigns to a single set of agreed upon guidelines—and if your email production is heavily decentralised, it’s hard to live without one. 

3. Do you have a lot of people with no or little email channel experience touch emails?

Email is a marketing channel with its own quirks—and if you’re an industry newbie who doesn’t know about these quirks, it’s easy to make mistakes that hurt the performance of your email program or might even damage your brand. 

Email Design Systems are a powerful tool to provide guidance to team members who might have little experience with the email channel. Remember that an Email Design System is more than a template. Sure, pre-designed and re-usable email modules are a core part of an Email Design System, but a great Email Design System also provides team members with clear, actionable advice on how to put them into action to create the best email experience possible. 

When your email experts codify all email best practices in your Email Design System, that’s the most effective way to make their channel expertise available to everyone who touches email—and empower more people on your marketing team to build powerful campaigns, even if they don’t have years of email marketing experience (yet.)

Success Story: Make sending great emails a breeze with Email Design Systems

Implementing an Email Design System with Taxi gave Hachette’s publishers the tools they need to utilize the power of email—no HTML knowledge required.

Read their story → 

4. Is design consistency a constant challenge for your team?

If you were to look at all the emails that are sent by your brand—from your password reset email to your newsletters to the latest big announcement—do they look and feel like they belong together? Or do they feel like they’re coming from different teams, or even different brands?

If you’re having trouble creating a consistent email brand experience across every touchpoint a subscriber has with your emails, you’re not alone. Even small changes you might make to individual emails—a small tweak to a header image here, adding a new component to your template there—can add up and lead to the overall brand experience to feel inconsistent and disconnected. 

While many large teams are struggling with creating a consistent email experience (the more people involved, the easier it is for things to get out of control) this isn’t a problem that’s unique to large teams. Small teams, in an attempt to get things done quickly with limited resources, often fall into the habit of reusing outdated templates to get a campaign out the door, or quickly tweaking their designs to make them work for an upcoming send without considering the impact on design consistency.

No matter how big your email team is, if you’re struggling with maintaining design and brand consistency across your emails, an Email Design System can help you bring order into your program. Providing your team with approved, pre-designed modules that can be used across campaigns ensure that every email you send is on brand.

5. Do you keep missing deadlines or does your team regularly work extra hours to manage the workload?

If you’re constantly struggling to meet the next deadline, the thought of setting aside extra time to set up and implement an Email Design System might feel like an impossible task. 

But the truth is: If your day-to-day email tasks are pushing your resources to the limits, a fundamental change to your workflow might be just what you need. 

Yes, setting up an Email Design System takes time and effort—but if you’re doing things right, it also has the potential to decrease your email production times for all future campaigns significantly. That’s because having an Email Design System in place can help you save time in multiple stages of the email creation process:

  • When creating new campaigns, using pre-build modules allows your team to set up new emails quickly—without having to copy and paste code or having to code emails from scratch every time you create a new campaign
  • Relying on pre-approved and pre-tested designs and modules means less errors—and faster testing, review, and approval cycles
  • You need to address a rendering issue or make a tweak to your email code? If you’re using a tool like Taxi to manage your Email Design System, making a change once trickles down to all emails you’ll create. Gone are the days wasting time fixing the same error across dozens of campaigns. 

Especially for teams juggling a high volume of email campaigns, it’s an investment that pays off quickly. 

Success Story: Saving time with Email Design Systems

Global Radio cut their email production times by 80% with the help of an Email Design System powered by Taxi for Email.

Read their story → 

6. Are individual email experts the bottleneck that hold you back from scaling your program?

Too often, brands lean heavily on single individuals to get campaigns out the door. Your email developer is the only person who can float content into the HTML? Your email marketing manager is the one who executes all campaigns from start to finish? If all the email weight lies on a single person’s shoulders, that makes scaling your program incredibly hard. You won’t be able to distribute tasks in times of a heavy workload, and risk your program coming to a standstill when your email expert is out of the office.

Plus, in many cases, your highly skilled email experts’ time is taken up by repetitive day-by-day tasks that could be distributed more equally throughout your team. Your email developer’s hours, for example, are too valuable to be spent on copying-and-pasting pieces of code every time you’re working on a new campaign. An Email Design System makes it possible for more people on your team to jump in on day-to-day email production tasks, and free up your experts so they can focus their time on projects where their experience really makes a difference—be it on strategic work or coding a truly special email for your next big announcement.

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