How to Visually Document Your Email Program >


For the modern complex email program, documentation is essential. Not only is it useful for onboarding new team members and sharing historical knowledge within your group, it’s necessary for conveying why certain campaign decisions were made and why the strategy was executed the way it was – especially to clients.

Buy-in is essential and documentation is a critical component of such. Yet, documentation is often an afterthought. But why? Why is it so hard to prove the value of time and resources needed to compile meaningful documentation when it’s so essential to reducing errors and ensuring the end product matches the original need?


Visuals vs. Text

One of the reasons documentation gets deprioritized is that it’s time consuming and often doesn’t get visibility among senior leadership. However, documentation is a critical part of building a shared understanding of how an email marketing campaign works and why it is important to meeting specific business goals. This is why we suggest putting the mechanics of your email program in a visual – rather than written – format. Visualization allows you to quickly detail how the campaign works, what creative is being used and what the user experience is like. Visualization, is key to striking the balance between detail and brevity in effective documentation.

  • Research from 3M shows that visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text
  • According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners
  • People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations

People engage with and retain information that is communicated visually far more than in text form. Better retention leads to shared understanding, higher functioning teams and in the end…better results.


So, what do you do about it?

As a marketer, you understand the value of visual communication. The good news is that you don’t have to always involve a designer or expensive software when trying to tell a technical story visually.


This tool allows you to take very complex business rules or campaign logic that are traditionally housed in lengthy word documents and turn them into visually engaging, easy-to-understand process flowcharts.

Go from this, a single page excerpt from a 17 page document:

To this, an easily digestible visualization of the same logic described above:


How about showcasing creative?

It’s not as easy as it seems to capture an entire email in one seamless screenshot. In our video below, we take you step-by-step through the easy process of capturing a scrolling screenshot of an email using the free Mac program Snip. (For Windows users, an alternative is using Snagit, which offers a free trial period.)


Here’s the point, it’s time we all evolve past simple text-based documents and embrace the power of visual storytelling. To prevent confusion, increase buy-in and ensure your great ideas go from your mind to the eyes of a larger audience, start presenting thoughts in a way more suited to how our brains actually work.


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