I am the SME (Subject-Matter-Expert/Design Lead) for the Email Channel at Cabela’s. I redesigned various email templates for Cabela’s, Cabela’s Corporate Outfitter, Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures and also William-Neil Associates. I also provided design direction, feedback and approvals for the email program.
EMAIL COMPONENT SYSTEM
I collaborated with Alisa Anderson from the digital creative team to create the Email Component System (ECS) and launched it in 2016. We built out various components that the Digital Creative Team could utilize to craft emails. We created a styleguide, design templates and an html template for them to work from. The ECS provided some flexibility in the way that the team could design emails compared to the way that they had done it previously. It provided more consistency for a more unified look and feel, regardless of who the designer was. It also allowed for increased productivity. Designers are able to get emails done more productively and efficiently with this system. The ECS was also created to be a “living” system, which means that as trends and technology shifts, the ECS should also adapt.
I recently updated the ECS to be Mobile-First and also incorporated retina-optimized images. Retina-optimized images are built out 2X the size and are compressed to normal sizes. This allows details within images to be much more crisp, especially embedded text. The Mobile-First updates incorporated larger text and CTA buttons. We also discontinued certain components that were not mobile-first-friendly, refreshed some of the existing components to accommodate the larger text and images and also included the creation of new components. I collaborated with Brian Talbot from my team to push the mobile-first ECS into a responsive email program. This included converting the ECS styleguide into HTML and CSS components and required rigorous Litmus testing.
I am continually pushing to drive our team to think more strategically for emails and find ways to increase value for our audience. I have been working with the Pro Staff team to utilize their expertise where we are able to by incorporating quotes, images, lists and social posts. I have also been driving the team to reach out for additional content such as articles and videos that can be included, as well.
UPDATED WORKFLOW PROCESS
In addition to the templates and Email Component System, Alisa and I worked with the Copy and Email Marketing teams to update the workflow process in how emails are handed off to each other. Originally, it was set up to have copy options written for an email and the Email Marketing Team would choose from the options and craft an Email Request Form (ERF) that would be handed off to the designer. After a Designer built it, a mockup would be sent out to stakeholders for review. The problem with this is that the Copywriters were essentially writing blind and some of the options they provided didn’t always work with the creative built. It was hard to craft a consistent storyline as every section of the email was separate within the ERF.
Our solution was to have the ERF sent first to the Digital Designer. They could review the content within the request and look at ways to create a storyline and add value through visual hierarchy. After the mockup is completed, the layered file is handed off to Copy and Proofing. They work directly on the layered file, which is something that they never had capabilities to do before. When they are finished, it goes back to the designer. The designer does a little housekeeping such as making sure that type is fit and aligned, as needed, and sends it out to stakeholders for review. Once stakeholders have signed off on it, the email is then coded and built within Exact Target. This solution has been very successful as it allows improved communication between teams, has built trust, provides visibility to Copy and Proofing, improves accountability and improved storylines.
Please check out the work to below to see some of the examples showcasing template redesigns, the development of the Email Component System and some strategic efforts that I have worked to incorporate.
Email Template Redesign for Cabela’s:
(Top: old header and footer/Bottom: new header and footer)
Email Template Redesign for Cabela’s Corporate Outfitter:
Email Template Redesign for Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures:
Email using original Email Component System:
Email that uses original Email Component System.
I also worked with Copywriter to craft a cohesive story that could be pulled throughout the email:
Main Feature creative designed for Segmentation:
Email that uses mobile-first Email Component System: