Consider what your Email Design System should contain

Given how empowering an Email Design System can be for your email creation process, it can be tempting to want to get started straight away. But before you do, it's really important to do the necessary preparation and make sure that your Email Design System includes every block (we call them “modules” in Taxi), layout and styling option you could need for your campaigns. It’s also time to take a step back and evaluate how your current emails have been performing and research into things you might like to try. 

Review what you have done so far

Before you start building the HTML of your Email Design System, it’s good to know as much as possible about the emails you’re currently sending and the different types of modules you’ll be using in your emails.

Look over previous email campaigns

It can be useful to take examples of recently sent email campaigns and lay them out in front of you. This can be done by printing them out or having them all on one screen. Whichever way you choose, by doing so, it will give you a clear idea of what your current email templates look like, what modules and elements you use in your emails and whether there’s something you’d like to add, remove or update. Going a step further and splitting the emails out into individual elements can assist you in starting to piece together your new Email Design System.

Check your email campaigns performance

Creating a new Email Design System from scratch is a great opportunity to review what modules and elements you currently use in your emails, what works well and what doesn’t.

What can be helpful in evaluating how your email marketing campaigns have been performing, this can easily be done by looking back at the email performance reports in your ESP. Don’t forget to review any A/B tests done previously. These should give you a clear understanding of what works well for your brand, what your audience’s preferences are and what elements they click the most in your emails. 

Assess how your subscribers read your emails, do the majority read on desktop or mobile devices? This is vital information to know as it can guide how you design your emails. It's important to make sure your emails look great and render well on both, however, if for example, mobile is a more common device among your readers perhaps you should consider enhancing this experience. If you don’t have much data to go off of, don’t forget you can continue to run tests to help  build a better understanding of what your audience responds well to, all whilst starting to build out your new Email Design System. Any results will continue to help guide the build further. 

Market Research

It’s ok to keep an eye on the recent trends in the industry, what other businesses are doing and what their email marketing strategy is. Collecting emails that inspire you alongside thinking about what modules and elements you could implement into your email marketing moving forward, will only set you up with the insight you need to make a great Email Design System for your business.  

Decided on what to include in your Email Design System

Once you’ve done some research into what works well for you and what you might want to include, you’ll now need to create a list of every element that is going to make up your Email Design System. This can be visual, with examples of email type of element or simply a written list. You might want to split these into two sections:

  • Every element you’ve used in your email campaigns so far and decided to include in the new Email Design System
  • Elements that are new and you would like to add to your Email Design System

This will not only make it clear what is to be included, but will also ensure the next step runs smoothly.

Next: Preparing a first sketch of your Email Design System