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HTML Email: Design, Development, Testing

HTML email layouts
Four custom-designed HTML email layouts.

I once worked for a stellar email marketing firm called Premier Cellar. While there, I wore many hats to the company’s benefit. My path looked something like this:

  1. Photo editor
  2. Designer
  3. Email Developer
  4. Integrations developer

Wine bottles
A few edited glam bottle shots.

As a photo editor, I was responsible for the treatment and standardization of a large quantity of wine bottle glam shots. I spent time fine-tuning my graphic editing skills as well as crafting new workflow improvements to speed up production.

After organizing our bottle shot library and getting us caught up on editing, I moved into designing emails. I designed hundreds of custom layouts, tailoring them to the clients’ styles and particular campaigns (holiday, wine club, &c.). This was also an opportunity to test and learn what readers found usable, as I was able to analyze designs by A/B testing and seeing large-sample conversion data.

My next adventure in creating custom campaigns was to develop them in HTML and CSS. This was no small task. HTML emails play by their own set of standards—most of which are still from about 2003. Using cross-platform testing tools, I learned to creatively solve display issues to optimize campaign performance.

Developing & testing emails
A split view of HTML email development.

My final role while at Premier Cellar was one of a data integrations developer. We recognized that a large portion of our work for each campaign was in recipient list management. In order to improve our records, I taught myself how to write an integration script that could regularly pull customer data from client CRMs into our email sending platform. This was my first big venture into server-side, API development.

  1. Client CRM API
  2. In-house versioned stores
  3. Reformatting
  4. ESP Records

While at Premier Cellar, I learned volumes about how to introduce efficiencies into workflows. From authoring development snippet libraries and organizing campaign assets to educating coworkers on procedure and training clients, Premier Cellar gave me a chance to get my feet wet in the world of rapid development.