The 5 People You’ll Need on Your Email Team

Email marketing is increasingly becoming a team sport as email has shifted from plain text memos to HTML layouts, and now to dynamic content. There is more people involved in any single campaign than ever before, so it’s time to take stock of who’s on your team and what role they play.

Take a look at your inbox right now. For every email you see, there were (on average) 11 people who contributed to ensuring that email is well designed, communicates the right messages, adapts perfectly to your inbox, is personalized to you, and is sent to you at just the right time. Sounds like a lot, right?

When sending your own campaigns, it’s important to know who each of these people are, what skills are required in each role, and when to best engage them in the process.

We’ve outlined a (non-exhaustive) list of the different roles you need on your team. Ultimately though, your team is unique so take a look at the skills each person can bring to the table.

  1. The Email Strategist
  2. The Email Designer
  3. The Copywriter
  4. The Email Developer
  5. The Data Engineer
  6. But…Your Email Team is Unique

1. The Email Strategist

Just as most of our blogs on email marketing tips start with the recommendation to have a strategy, we’ll start with the most important tip of all for coming up with the ideal email team: have a strategist!

To avoid being one of the many flailing brands that send out email without any kind of coherent strategy or even a plan, you will need someone on your team devoted to thinking about the big picture. The Strategist is involved from A to Z, from how email will play a role in your business to the final word in campaigns.

At Mailjet, we work closely with our customers’ email strategists to help them think through the fundamentals of email strategy. Depending on your business, this includes when email is used in your product, service, marketing, and sales, how frequently emails should be sent, how segmentation and personalization can be used, how to maximize deliverability, and much, much more.

For example, at Product Hunt, their email strategist is responsible for thinking through how email fits into their marketing, it’s product, and its value to partners.

For example, what is the strategy behind the Daily Newsletter? When should they be sent to optimize open rates? What types of subject lines work best? Should we personalize the subject line or the content? If so, where and how do we personalize?

Similarly, the Email Strategist at Product Hunt needs to consider when to send email notifications to their users. Should an email be sent every time their product is liked or reviewed? Maybe there should be a daily digest of new followers and upvotes, or maybe users themselves should decide what notifications they would like to receive.

These questions are seemingly endless, especially for a brand like Product Hunt that has baked email into both their marketing and product strategy. The same questions likely apply to your brand as well, whether you’re deciding when to send abandoned cart emails, or what data you can use to segment users.

At the end of the day, you need a Strategist to take control of your email campaigns, and ensure it continually drives forward your goals.

Special Tips for Email Strategists

Take control of your email campaigns through role management to customize the permissions of each member of your team and never send a campaign without final approval from the Strategist.

Email-Publication-Request
Email Mailjet Role Management & Publication Requests

2. The Email Designer

A designer, like always, is tasked with the look and feel of the email, but unlike standard web design, social media design, print, and so forth, designing for email requires knowledge of how the design will look on different devices. This will require close collaboration with the developers and the strategist to ensure the design is not only responsive across desktop and mobile, but also across different inboxes like Gmail, Outlook, and the many mobile inboxes that exist.

The designer is then responsible for taking the vision outlined by the Strategist and designing a series of templates that best communicate the message, are brand aligned, and flexible to a variety of content, including long-form writing, GIFs, videos, and variables for segmentation and personalization.

The responsibilities of the designer include:

  • Working with the strategist to identify the core objectives of each campaign.
  • Designing the initial template and layout for each campaign and workflows (e.g. a template for a newsletter, subscription confirmation, password resets, receipts, notifications, reminders, sales and special offers, and more).
  • Overseeing consistency in brand and message across all campaigns, and ensuring changes made to the brand (e.g. logo, color, tagline, etc.) are updated across all platforms in a timely fashion.

Special Tip for Email Designers

Be sure to use Mailjet’s Bulk Template Editor to apply changes from one template to all of your templates. For example, if you are updating your logo or a banner image in your password resets, with one click you can apply this to all other relevant templates.

3. The Copywriter(s)

While each of the below roles and certainly the above roles are incredibly important to your email team, perhaps in the modern days of marketing there is no one more important than the copywriter(s).

The designer will scoff, the strategist will say it’s the whole package that matters, and you know what – it’s kind of true. The whole team brings something to the table but at the end of the day a good message with well-written copy will cut through.

The email could be plain text and not at all personalized, but if the copy is strong you could see the highest engagement of any campaign.

Good design with bad copy? Personal message but bad copy? Unfortunately, this formula leads to crickets.

A little hat tip to Neil Patel for the video below about what makes good copywriting and how it can better drive conversions in not only your emails, but also your landing pages, social media posts, and more.

Within the email team, you can expect much more than one person is responsible for the copy, especially on emails like newsletters, which can be aggregating content from across the company.

While more hands on deck can mean more productivity and more creative ideas, it can also lead to a disjointed message, so we’d recommend you assign one copywriting lead to be responsible for coordinating the content, assigning responsibilities, strategizing on the consistency of tone, and proofreading the final product.

Special Tip for Email Copywriters

Copywriting is a team sport, so be sure to use tools designed to make it easier, faster, and more collaborative. Mailjet’s real-time collaboration and in-app commenting will allow all of your copywriters to quickly hustle on the copy in your upcoming campaign all at the same time.

4. The Email Developer

The Developer floats in and out of the planning and implementation phases of an email campaign.

They work closely with the strategist and designer off the top to ensure that the objective of an email campaign be accomplished with the variables we have in place. They also ensure that the design will in fact be responsive to different devices and inboxes. Finally, they take control of optimization practices to ensure things like segmentation are properly set up, and necessary integrations are enabled.

With so many potential integrations into your email service provider, whether it’s your CRM, ecommerce platform, or data aggregators, it’s more important (and more difficult) than ever to ensure that your email stack is perfectly functioning, and all necessary tools are optimized for upcoming campaigns.

If good copywriting is the core of a good campaign, good integrations is the fairy dust that makes an email campaign truly magical. It allows for personalization, detailed analytics, and nurturing which can turn a good campaign into a great campaign.

The Developer also works closely with the designer to ensure the email template looks good, is brand aligned, and responsive across all platforms. This has historically been pretty difficult to do given the limitations of inboxes. For example, the vast majority of inboxes do not allow for video, images adapt in ways you might not expect, and fonts might not work everytime.

Responsive email languages like MJML have emerged to help make this process much easier, ensuring that one line of code will result in good design and responsiveness across any platform. While HTML emails require seemingly endless lines of code to accommodate all platforms, simple languages like MJML accomplish the same thing with a fraction of the code.

Together with Mailjet, MJML also makes collaboration between developers, designers, and strategist that much easier, since MJML can be adapted into a drag-and-drop format once the developer is done with the code, and the marketers needs to jump in to create the content.

MJML
MJML & Drag-and-Drop Editor

Special Tips for Email Developers

No surprise here, but be sure to check out MJML if you haven’t already. MJML is responsive by design on most popular email clients and lets you write less code, save time, and code more efficiently. To make the most out of MJML, be sure to also join our MJML Slack Channel.

5. The Data Engineer

Finally, the Data Engineer plays a crucial role in helping the developer make the most of the integrations, and the Strategist understand performance of campaigns.

It’s one thing for a developer and a strategist to include a [First Name] variable, or a personalized image, or message based on a segment. However it’s a whole other thing entirely to ensure that the right data is included within the right email, and most importantly that there is even some data that can be pulled.

To avoid blank fields in your email campaigns or, worse, a failed segmentation, be sure to have a data engineer on your team.

This role will likely expand well beyond just email and include all of your communication channels. But when it comes to email, there is so much opportunity in using data to ensure these are sent to the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

The Data Engineer also needs to look at performance data to improve future campaigns, and also to see opportunities to further use data to personalize and optimize campaigns. For example, having someone review stats for each campaign, you can identify what times and days of the week work best, what type of subject lines performs best, where personalization works, etc.

Special Tip for Data Engineers

Be sure to check out Mailjet’s long list of integrations to see how you can use data to drive magical campaigns.

Your Team Is Unique

At the end of the day, your email team is likely unique, and is not represented perfectly in these five roles.

Perhaps you have a project manager who oversees the entire campaign and has ultimate authority over when a template is complete and ready to publish. Or you have an agency who manages your messaging and branding and so needs special access to your email campaigns and templates.

Maybe you have a Customer Success Manager (like Kyle at Mailjet. Hi Kyle!) that frequently checks in to ensure you campaigns are sending properly, you are reaching the inbox, and maintaining proper sending and list collection practices.

Whatever your team looks like, the point is it’s a team of people that will make sure you email campaigns continue to drive revenue and engagement. Too many businesses either rely on one person to manage the entire process or, more realistically, they seem to think only one person is involved.

We recently commissioned a study on how marketing teams create and send email, and we found that on average a campaign involves 11 people and goes through five revisions. The question then becomes: if so many people are involved in a campaign, how are you ensuring your team is working as productively, efficiently, and creatively as possible?

Our advice: work together.

Be sure to take a look at our new Collaboration Toolkit to discover how teams can email better together, as well as our post on the collaboration tools our team at Mailjet uses. Perhaps you’ll come up with some ideas of your own on how to make your email team stronger than ever.

Now it’s your turn – how many people work in email in your company? How do you collaborate? Let us know on Twitter, we’d love to hear from you and your team!

Mailjet’s Top Online Collaboration Tools For Teams

One of the exciting parts about Mailjet is the fact that everyday we get to work with colleagues all around the world, from Ho Chi Minh, to Paris, to Barcelona, to Toronto (I didn’t forget you Dusseldorf, New York, Amsterdam, and London – it’s just more poetic to list 4, than all 8).

The challenge with working with teams literally all around the world, though, is ensuring we keep up to date on projects, effectively communicate, and keep our culture alive. Thankfully, we live in an age where team collaboration is baked into almost all workplace apps, and you can find some pretty incredible tools to bring the team closer together, and in the process increase your productivity.

Let’s be honest, there are countless lists out there of the best collaboration tools, often written by someone sitting behind a computer and regurgitating someone else’s ideas.

To dig a bit deeper and make it a bit more real, we thought we would survey our entire team to get an honest look at those online collaboration tools our own company uses and loves to bring their team together. This post is about the CollaborationStack™ that Mailjet uses – and would we love to hear about your own #CollaborationStack on Twitter.

Collaboration Tools at Mailjet

At Mailjet we have seven distinct teams and after surveying each team about their favorite collaboration tools, and how they use it within their team, it became very clear that each team collaborates very differently.

For this survey, our teams are Product, Customer Success, Marketing, Customer Support, Sales, Deliverability & Compliance, and Legal, HR, and Admin.

Across all teams, communication and project creation tools jumped to the top as the most loved collaboration tools. We asked teams to rate the tools they use many times each week and can say they truly love. While the Marketing team overwhelming marked Mailjet as their favorite collaboration tool (those sneaky marketers), we also wanted to dig into the rest of the #CollaborationStack.

We’ve then outlined some of the reasons behind why our team absolutely loves these tools, why they cannot live without them, and how we think teams of all sizes (whether remote or not) can take advantage of these powerful tools to bring in a deeper culture of collaboration.

Most used collaboration tools at Mailjet

Collaboration Tool Survey
Collaboration tool survey

Slack: Keeping Teams Together

How do I put this gently? Slack absolutely destroyed. Everyone at Mailjet loves Slack as not only a communications tool, but as a way to build culture across remote teams.

“Slack is great for international teams to communicate in real time. I don’t know if it’d be possible to do my job in an efficient manner without it.” – Product Team

At Mailjet, we use Slack across the entire company to keep a running conversation on projects, across teams, and between colleagues. By separating teams into channels and creating private channels for specific projects, teams can quickly jump in and out of conversations to ensure they have the latest information, and can keep informed of discussions without having to be in the room.

As teams grow in size, they inherently become less connected and projects become more fragmented. Slack has become Mailjet’s primary tool to help deal with this scaling as a team, whether it’s using the live video chat for team meetings and Sandwich Lunches, using the Twitter bot to make sure we never miss a comment from our customers and partners, or sharing random images in our #wrongroom channel.

GDPR Wrong Room-Slack
Room example in Slack

2. G Suite: Collaborate in Real Time

There really isn’t much more to say about G Suite and it’s tools Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive, that hasn’t been said by many before. If your team isn’t using G Suite (or comparable tools like Dropbox Paper) then you’re definitely missing out on the benefits of real-time collaboration, version control, tracking changes, and more.

As with many growing companies, and especially SaaS companies like Mailjet, our team works in spurts to hammer out documents, presentations, and spreadsheets together in real-time. In fact, it is difficult to be productive in today’s working environment unless you’re working together in real time.

“I really appreciate G Suite because I can work in real-time with others from all over the world and directly see what has been added, changed or deleted.” – Customer Success Team

Gone are the days of ‘Writing a document. Saving. Closing. Attaching to an email. Then going about other business.’

Now are the days of ‘Pinging your colleagues. Jumping into a shared document. Edit together. Add comments. Resolve comments. Review. Finalize.’

According to Google, 74% of all time spent in Docs, Sheets and Slides is on collaborative work – that is, multiple people creating and editing content together.

This is certainly true for Mailjet’s documents and projects. In fact, this blog is being written in Google Docs and I can assure you that this sentence was hotly debated in the comments.

Google Docs Comments
Google Docs Comments

3. Trello: Manage All Projects

Third in our rankings was Trello, the project management tool built for teams to collaborate on projects, tasks, and ideas using boards.

Mailjet uses Trello across many departments, but it’s primarily loved in our Marketing, Product, and Customer Success teams. Ultimately, the reason boils down to how simple the tool is to use, how flexible and adaptable it is across any project, and how the visual medium makes it super easy to understand and contribute to.

“I love Trello because it’s at the same time really simple and really flexible to use. You can manage a team, a project, or your life!” – Marketing Team

Many people talked about how Trello can be used for not only work projects but home projects as well, whether it’s grocery lists, side projects, travel plans, or home improvement. This is increasingly true of many great collaboration tools like Slack, G Suite, and Trello, but also increasingly apps like AirBnB have launched a set of collaboration tools designed to help make travelling as a group easier.

One of our many use cases for Trello is within our Design team who use Trello to organize and prioritize design projects. Whenever we have a design need (such as a new social media image, website update, animation, or printouts) we immediately jump into Trello to lay out all the project in as much depth as possible.

As an example, if we need a new printout for an upcoming event, we can create a mockup of the design and attach it to the Trello Card, add a Google Doc with all the written content already complete, and assign a due date for the project. Our Design team then gets a notification that a new project has been added and they can ask any questions right within Trello.

Having spent the last year trying to plan design projects just within a Slack channel, our Design team was getting a little sick of the chaos. Slack is great for ongoing project conversations, but not so great for organizing single tasks – this is where Trello really fills the gap.

We’ve created a Public Trello Board for you and your Design team based on how Mailjet organizes design projects. You can access everything from the different boards we use (e.g. New Projects, In Process, and Complete),to our ReadMe card which lays out how your team can communicate projects succinctly and effectively to your Design team.

Feel free to add to it and let us know on Twitter how you think we can improve this process even more!

Trello Board
Trello Board Example

4. Github: Easy Version Control

Github was only used by 22% of the Mailjet team, but given Github is tailor made for developer teams, this makes sense.

Github is a cloud repository for developers to work together to host and review code, manage projects, and build software together. Similar to how G Suite solved the issue of version controls on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, Github manages versions (or forks) of code and software, allowing teams to create new versions of code, review, comment, and eventually implement into projects.

For Mailjet, what’s most interesting about Github is actually our ability to not only collaborate internally but to also collaborate with our customers and partners. Mailjet’s Github account features projects (or more accurately, “repositories”) for plugins and other projects that are of interest to our network and need to be constantly refined. For example, our WordPress Plugin is frequently updated due to the high interest from our network.

Users can contribute to the repository, add comments, recommend changes and so forth. This is certainly more efficient than emailing recommendations to a generic email address (e.g. contact@business.com), it brings teams together from all over to ensure our tools are beneficial and up to date for our users.

Mailjet’s MJML Github is also highly active, with 60 contributors helping build MJML as the world’s leading responsive email framework. Our Product team also keeps an active public product roadmap to keep users up to date on what is being built, when it may be released, and so forth – allowing our community to help prioritize and build the future of MJML.

Github MJML
Github repo

5. Mailjet: Collaborate on Email

Finally, our Marketing team has become avid users of our own collaboration toolkit at Mailjet. Our collaboration features bring everything that teams have come to love about tools like Google Docs and Trello, all within an email builder.

This includes real-time collaboration and in-app commenting, so teams can sprint on an email campaign together, all at once.

It also includes user roles and permissions so that certain members of your team can only access certain controls or sections to ensure that the best possible email is sent. For example, an intern may not have access to the design and layout, while only the Email Team Lead can ultimately push ‘Send’ on an email.

Similar to Google Docs you can also track changes and easily manage templates so that if a change was wrongfully made to a template you can easily revert back to old versions, or if you would like to apply a change to all templates (e.g. if you’ve updated your logo) you can do so with one easy click.

Ultimately, alongside each of the above tools, we use Mailjet’s collaboration features on a daily basis to create the perfect template for on-boarding new users or sending our weekly blog newsletter.

Specifically, if you subscribe to our newsletter, you will receive a rundown of important new blogs, events, webinars, and more. Each week, our team works together to ensure the copy is perfect, the design is on-brand, the A/B tests are optimized, and the links are correct. In a world where email campaigns can involve as much as 11 contributors and five iterations, we’re excited to have a tool that makes emailing as a team faster and easier (we just so happen to have been the ones to build it 😉).

Mailjet Comments
Mailjet Comments – Collaboration tool

Honorable Mentions

When we conducted our survey, the thing we noticed immediately was that collaboration was baked into almost all the tools our team uses. While Slack, G Suite, Trello, Github, and Mailjet were the most actively used and loved tools, there were a few others that our team simply couldn’t live without.

Asana

Asana was used by many across the company as another way of managing projects and tasks in a very similar way to Trello, however was particularly helpful for teams planning our projects across timelines and dates, such as a content calendar or social media schedule.

Invision

Invision is a fantastic app used by our Product and Design team to collaboratively design user experiences, apps, websites in real time.

Evernote

Evernote is a popular app for our team looking to keep shared notebooks and folders, particularly when planning out ideas and campaigns. For example, our Customer Success team can keep a shared notebook on stories from our customers segmented by industry, or country, or size, so there is a one-stop repository for quotes and requests from our customers.

We’ve told you what our favourite tools are and how our teams use them. The lesson here is that collaboration is increasingly at the heart of the tools we use in our modern workplace. This is true not only across remote teams, but even teams within an office. Whether it’s working on documents, presentations, projects, code, design files, or email – collaboration is what makes work better.

Now it’s your turn to share. What tools does your team use that we may have missed? Share your #CollaborationStack on Twitter to let us know how you and your team work faster, together.