You’ve most likely heard a lot about how responsive email design can increase mobile revenue, nudge your KPIs, and lead to a better user experience. But what about what it can do for your email marketing program behind the scenes? Rumor has it that responsive templates take more time to create, so are they really worth the extra effort?
They are. Despite needing a little more thought and effort up front, building emails using a responsive template can introduce significant efficiencies and even reduce coding time over the long run by up to 50%. Less time spent building out emails in turn means more time focused on strategy and continuing to drive sales and traffic to your site and stores.
Responsive emails are built for efficiency
So why are responsive templates so much more efficient? First off, the shell of the template is coded at the beginning of a responsive project launch and used throughout all emails. While it does take some time to work through the content choreography – how content breaks and changes across different devices and screen sizes – it’s important to remember that instead of creating, say, three emails (desktop, mobile, tablet), you’re only creating one.
The template typically contains a responsive header and footer with blank content areas for dropping in AMPscript blocks. These blocks are stored in your ExactTarget account and are coded to reference pre-defined and pre-designed stored content areas. Both of these items are also built at project conception. These pre-defined content areas can be inserted into any order and as few as one or all can be used in a single email. The number of possible content areas depends on a company’s brand standards and what sorts of images or copy are typically displayed in a brand’s email promotions. Additional stored content areas can also be coded at any time and added into the mix.
Design time is also positively affected by using responsive templates as there is no need to mock up entire email campaigns. All that needs to be done is provide sliced images (sized according to content area design specifications), text, and link URLS. Font colors, sizes, and styling can either be pre-determined on the back end or added in as variables to the next part of the equation: AMPscript.
The magic is in the AMPscript
The pre-defined stored content areas have stored editable AMPscript content areas that reference the stored content areas. That AMPscript is the part that is actually modified for each email creation. Only having to modify AMPscript clears away all of the coding work you currently do for each traditional email as it’s already been built out and stored. Updating AMPscript is like putting together pieces of a puzzle. Dropping in images, text, and URLs must be done precisely and with great attention to detail, but as long as everything is accurate and in one place (like a direction document) this is a rather speedy process.
Finally, quality assurance checks become a breeze. By the time you assemble your responsive email, the AMPscript references have already been through rigorous testing. You’re using well vetted pieces of code. If something is not rendering or displaying correctly it is usually easy to pinpoint a mistake in inputting the AMPscript information or image sizing.
We’ve written extensively about the positive results of moving to responsive design for email. But if you remained unconvinced or had some lingering doubts about whether the extra up-front effort was worth it, the efficiency and accuracy arguments win out. There is a lot to be gained by implementing responsive design: A positive customer experience and a streamlined process on the back end. What more could you ask for?