Delivering Episode 13: How Integrations Are Driving Email Marketing

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In this episode of Delivering, host Jason Rodriguez takes a look at the growing complexity in email marketing and how integrations between tools can help email marketers deliver better results.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to Delivering, a podcast about email design, strategy, copywriting, development, and the email marketing industry. I’m your host, Jason Rodriguez. Delivering is brought to you by Litmus—the only platform trusted by professionals to help you send email with confidence, every time. Over 600,000 marketing professionals use Litmus’ tools to build, test, and analyze better email campaigns faster.

Head over to litmus.com to start your free 7-day trial of Litmus, and start sending better emails today.

Be sure to subscribe to Delivering on iTunes or Spotify to listen to future episodes and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DeliveringPodcast.

For a long time, email marketing consisted of signing up for an email service provider, picking a template, writing some copy and wrangling a few images, then sending a single campaign out to whatever subscribers you have on your list.

Over the last decade, though, there’s been a proliferation of tools for email marketers from the simple to the massively complicated. With even the most basic online search, email marketers can find tools to help with everything from campaign creation and tracking to personalization, data analysis, and even artificial intelligence-driven content recommendations.

At the same time, email marketers have been working with more and more people on a regular basis. According to Litmus’ own 2019 State of Email Workflows Report, email marketers now work with an average of 2 departments and three people to get emails reviewed and approved. That doesn’t take into account all of the teams and colleagues most people need to rely on during the strategy, copywriting, design, and development phases, too, let alone analyzing campaign performance and sharing insights across teams.

For better or worse, email marketing has grown very complex. Sophisticated and valuable, sure, but very, very complex.

That complexity can pose some major challenges.

In 2018, we surveyed hundreds of email marketers to identify some of the biggest challenges they faced. The top response was poor coordination between other departments and channels. Not far behind was:

  • Limitations of current email service provider
  • Lack of quality data and integrations
  • And inadequate tools for the email creation process

All of these speak to the growing complexity of email. Marketers are increasingly looking to email as the channel of choice to drive business results and marketing strategy, but their tools and workflows are often lacking.

When we see people talking about the limitations of their current ESP or inadequate tools for the email creation process, that’s almost always followed by a conversation around which third-party tools they’re using to bypass those limitations.

All of those tools help people do their jobs but email marketers are left trying to figure out how to break out of silos and get those tools speaking to each other.

We’re in the middle of working on a webinar at Litmus about our predictions for the next decade of email marketing. While we’re going to cover a lot of ground in the webinar, one of my focuses is on the email marketing tech stack and where it’s going in 2020 and beyond.

Although I’m predicting that we’ll see more consolidation in the industry at the ESP level, my main theory is that this will be the decade of the integration. The massive explosion of smaller tools for a variety of jobs—and the need to work with more teams and across different channels—means that email marketers will need to rely on integrations between those tools and with those major platforms to get the most out of email marketing.

When was the last time you had subscribers in a database that needed to migrate somewhere else? How about email analytics data that had to move to your ESP to drive personalization rules? Build your email campaigns in one tool and need to get them to your ESP without having to worry about copy and paste errors or missing assets?

Integrations can help you with all of those problems and more.

At Litmus, we’ve taken integration to heart. We recognize that we’re one of those third-party tools that tons of email marketers use to augment their ESPs. We want to make it easier for people to build, proof, QA, and analyze their campaigns in Litmus but then integrate everything they do in Litmus with their other tools. That’s why we’ve embraced the motto, “Litmus works where you do.”

While this started a few years ago with the release of the Litmus Chrome extension, which allowed email developers to build campaigns with their favorite editor and preview the results in their browser—and marketers to run tests from inside their ESPs—it’s grown with integrations that have become core to a lot of email teams’ workflows.

A majority of email service providers have partnered with Litmus to integrate email previews directly in their platforms. For example, Salesforce Marketing Cloud makes Litmus available inside of Email Studio’s Preview and Test tab, allowing marketers to quickly see how their campaigns render across 90+ email clients, including dynamic content powered by AMPScript.

Beyond just previews inside of ESPs, we analyzed the top email service providers and have been working with them to integrate Litmus earlier in the email production process, too.

Today, we’re working on syncing with nine of the top 10 ESPs. Litmus users can take advantage of Litmus’ first-class email development tools in Builder and seamlessly sync their code and assets to Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Eloqua, Mailchimp, Marketo, Pardot, Acoustic Campaign (formerly IBM Watson), Oracle Responsys, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud with the click of a single button.

As more businesses move to the cloud for storing assets and documents, we’ve built integrations with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive to make getting emails and assets into Litmus easier than ever.

Over the last few years, we’ve also seen the rise of Slack for team communication. We’re massive Slack users ourselves, which is one reason we worked hard to integrate Litmus into Slack. Teams can now see Proof comments and mentions, campaign statuses, and both Proof and Checklist approvals directly inside of Slack and quickly hop into Litmus from Slack for a more seamless email workflow.

Finally, we just released our integration with Trello. In 2019’s State of Email Workflows Report, we saw that a large percentage of email marketers relied on Trello for content planning and project management of campaigns. We’re big fans of Trello, too, so we wanted to make sure marketers could use their favorite project planning tool to keep their team on track.

With the new Litmus Power-Up for Trello, you can increase visibility with your team and keep track of campaign statuses right inside of your Trello board.

Once enabled, Trello users can attach an email from Litmus to an existing card or create a new email directly from Trello without having to hop into Litmus itself. Once synced, cards in Trello will show a preview of the email content, the title of the campaign and its description, its due date, status, and progress of associated tasks.

Anytime the campaign is updated inside of Litmus, the Trello card is seamlessly synced.
We’re massively proud of the work the Litmus team has done to bring the power of Litmus into Trello and have seen a number of teams putting it to work to make their increasingly complex workflows a little bit easier.

Our Trello Power-Up is just the latest example of integrations we’ve been working on to improve email marketers’ lives. If our research is any indication, we expect the email marketing landscape to become more complex over the coming years. Along with it, we expect the need for better integrations to grow, too.

Email marketers are crying out for integrations to help create and communicate and, ultimately, drive better experiences for subscribers. We’re right there with you. We use a lot of different tools and personally feel the same pain, which is driving a lot of our strategy around embracing integrations.

While we’re proud of the work we’ve done so far, we’re more excited for what’s to come. Not only from Litmus, but from everyone else working in the email industry. We love to see what other companies come up with and wholeheartedly encourage everyone to come together, break out of all of the silos that have cropped up in the last decade, and work towards building a more inclusive, accessible, and collaborative industry.

Using Litmus integrations and have a story to share? Have other integrations that you can’t live without? We’d love to hear about it. Hit us up on Twitter using the hashtag #DeliveringPodcast and let us know how integrations are driving your work.

Until the next episode… Cheers!

Delivering is brought to you by Litmus—the only platform trusted by professionals to help you send email with confidence, every time. Over 600,000 marketing professionals use Litmus’ tools to build, test, and analyze better email campaigns faster.

Head over to litmus.com to start your free 7-day trial of Litmus, and start sending better emails today.

Be sure to subscribe to Delivering on iTunes or Spotify to listen to future episodes and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DeliveringPodcast.