Will your e-mail crew make extra errors over time?

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Imagine that. Your business is growing and you have recruitment needs. So you are forming an all-star team to get exceptional results through email marketing.

You have developers, designers, copywriters, strategists, analysts, and even a QA specialist working on email campaigns. They have hired talented people with a variety of skills to help you build an effective team that works like a fine-grained machine.

Unfortunately, small errors keep slipping through the cracks. A typo here, a rendering problem there, a couple of missed deadlines. Maybe it’s just increasing pain, or so you hope.

Then one day you will receive an urgent message from the CMO. An important email announcement ended with a link directing your customers to the wrong landing page!

Why is this happening and what can you do?

Email errors and team size

One of the many interesting things we learned from our exclusive email error report was how the size of an email team affects factors such as errors and efficiency.

We asked respondents to tell us how many emails they sent over the past 12 months. Of all respondents, 60% agreed to send at least one email with an error in the last year. However, if you break the results down by team size, the picture is different.

While 45% of one-person email teams said they were bug-free for 12 months, that number drops to 36% for teams of two to five people and shrinks to just 17% of teams between six and ten people. Also, nearly a quarter of the teams of six to ten had 11 or more bug emails in the past year. That was the highest such result in our survey.

Email team size and errors chartsClick for a larger picture

There are likely several reasons why we are seeing these results. For example, larger teams are likely to send more emails. In our report, a correlation was found between the frequency and the number of email errors. Another likely reason for increased errors in larger teams, however, is the complexity of communication.

Research on team size and performance

The problem larger email teams face may have something to do with a concept known as Brook’s Law. This observation comes from the world of software development. As early as 1975, legendary software engineer Fred Brooks wrote that “adding more manpower to a late-stage software project comes later”.

That doesn’t make any sense at first. You’d assume that more hands on deck means things get done a lot faster. However, we have all been in situations where this has not been the case. Here’s one reason why …

As you add more people to the mix, the lines of communication grow exponentially. The following graphic illustrates this.

There are only three communication channels in a three-person team. It’s easy and straightforward. With a team of four there are suddenly six communication channels. It jumps to 10 lines with a team of five and 15 lines with a team of six. When you reach 10 team members, the lines of communication resemble an elaborate mandala.

Visualization of Brooks Law

Brooks Law communication lines

It’s obvious why working together on a growing email team poses communication challenges. Here, too, other factors can play a role.

An article in the Harvard Business Review cites studies that investigate the term “social loafing” as a cause of decreased productivity in large teams. Essentially, it means that with more teammates, people feel less responsible because they assume that others are pulling their weight and getting things done.

A 2015 Thinkwise team performance survey found that executives in midsize and large companies were more likely to say that their teams are underperforming. Among small businesses, 52% of respondents said that people are reaching their full potential. In companies with 10 to 50 employees, this number fell to 36%. Only 17% of companies with more than 50 employees believed that people were realizing their potential.

So you may be faced with a mystery. You need an email team the right size to handle the workload, but you also need a way for everyone to work together efficiently and effectively.

Larger teams fall into the trap

We all know the saying about “too many cooks in the kitchen”. But what if you serve a fancy five-course meal to a large crowd of hungry guests? You want a team of culinary artists who can work together effectively, right?

Likewise, corporate organizations that rely on email may not work well with a small team. Because of this, executives need the right tools and processes to help email teams avoid the pitfalls that create costly mistakes.

Common problems with growing email teams:

  1. Someone who is not familiar with styles, standards, and processes joins the team.
  2. Lines of communication are crossed and someone is missing an important instruction.
  3. An overabundance of feedback results in last-minute changes that are not verified.
  4. The risk of human error in the design and development of emails increases as more people get involved.

Better communication through greater collaboration is critical to overcoming these challenges. The ability to do this is built into the Email on Acid email readiness platform. Our email collaboration tools allow you to post comments and approvals, and manage team access with customizable permission levels, for example to keep excessive feedback under control.

Learn more about Acid’s collaboration capabilities via email in a webinar with our Customer Success team.

Why Automate Email Tests?

People make mistakes. Machines usually don’t do this unless someone programs them incorrectly. This is one of the reasons industries of all types are investing in automation. By automating the steps in the prep process, email marketing teams can avoid mistakes while improving efficiency.

Our survey of email errors found that just over half of email marketers use a checklist to test emails before sending them. However, 43% of these teams follow a manual process. This usually means that emails are sent to people internally and they are checked on different devices and desktops. That leaves a lot of room for human error and misunderstanding.

Another 43% of email teams use state-of-the-art testing tools prior to deployment, such as: B. Campaign Precheck. Interestingly, one-person email teams used automation for testing just as often as larger teams. Our survey found that email teams of six to ten people were most likely to use manual processes.

An automated pre-deployment checklist helps email teams increase their testing flexibility. The automation of these tasks increases productivity and ensures accuracy. Eliminating manual labor frees up your team to focus on creating impressive emails.

Would you like more insight like the information in this article? Download our free “Bug Emails: The Final Report” whitepaper and see how your email team and processes compare to survey results.

Report on email errors and errorsFill out the form to receive your copy of our exclusive white paper!

Author: Betsy Grondy

With a decade of email marketing experience, Betsy has conducted email strategies and executions for more than 36 countries (for local brands as well as Fortune 500 companies) from the comfort of her home in North Carolina. As an email at Acids Senior Email Marketing Manager, she enjoys being meta in email marketing and striving for email perfection every time it is sent. If she doesn’t push the envelope as #emailgeek, you’ll find that she and her husband scour flea markets for cool vintage toys and mid-century modern furniture.

Author: Betsy Grondy

With a decade of email marketing experience, Betsy has conducted email strategies and executions for more than 36 countries (for local brands as well as Fortune 500 companies) from the comfort of her home in North Carolina. As an email at Acids Senior Email Marketing Manager, she enjoys being meta in email marketing and striving for email perfection every time it is sent. If she doesn’t push the envelope as #emailgeek, you’ll find that she and her husband scour flea markets for cool vintage toys and mid-century modern furniture.

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