The last thing you want is to have a correction — big or small — an hour before your email campaign is scheduled to be sent. Your stakeholders might assume they are allowed to send what to fix at any time, day or night, and this is something you will automatically do.
This adds stress to your job, and also the possibility for mistakes. What can you do?
Time management from the beginning
The best way is to set up expectations and a workflow from the very beginning. Ensure everything is clear, the different steps required of your stakeholders, and the best way to contact them if they need a nudge.
Develop a clear understanding with your stakeholders on how much time the different kinds of campaigns will take. For example, campaigns that leverage existing templates may take 1 to 2 days to complete, while bespoke campaigns that require graphic design or complex layouts might require 1 to 2 weeks.
Too often campaigns are plagued with never-ending cycles of approvals — especially when stakeholders haven’t taken the time to fully review the proofs you’ve sent them. To avoid these situations, set a limit on how many rounds of changes will be allowed. Be upfront about how constant changes can extend a project deadline. Using an online review solution such as ProofJump that supports decision cycles can help bring some clarity into when a round of feedback has been completed and changes can then be made to the campaign.
Unrealistic expectations also are something many creative teams endure, but it comes at a mental cost. Make sure that as you explain the steps and the time needed for each step, you use clear data points to back up your decisions. One actionable part of onboarding is to set up a call where you can share your screen and walk the client through things, so they understand how much effort the work really takes for it to be as great as it is.
When things don’t go as planned
What if things are going awry with the campaign: you are behind on producing the email, someone in the office who is in charge is sick, or you are waiting on necessary information, just to name a few. Be proactive and warn your stakeholders ahead of time about the changes, the challenges, the timeline shift, and the possibility of a quicker turnaround.
Though life can’t be predicted, you should try avoiding deviating from the set schedule and adding stress onto your stakeholders as much as you can. You can do this by building in buffer time and backup plans. This is especially important when you first start with a new shareholder, as you are unsure about how they operate and when they will fit the review work, even if you set the expectations upfront.
Is it too late?
However, you might be reading this because you fell into some of the above traps and are constantly on edge with each project. What steps can you do next?
You need a reset with your shareholder. Before speaking with them, set out your timeline, your plan with detailed steps, and possibly a new agreement. Then set a time to speak with your client and share your screen to better understand what goes on behind the scenes.
Then stick to your new rules. It can be hard to tell your client “no more rounds of changes without additional fees”, but you want the very best for them.
Streamline some of these steps with review by using a tool like ProofJump. With ProofJump, you’ll have a centralized place for communication and collaboration, and you’ll send one link to all stakeholders for review and approval. When they click on the link, they’ll see your email message with all versions clearly marked. They’ll be able to test content, and they’ll be able to add their comments or approval. They’ll also see everyone else’s comments and quickly learn why changes were requested.