Upgrading to the new email editor 2.0: a recommended migration path

This post is the second one of a 3 parts series, stating with this one: Testing the email editor 2.0: Great features, a few glitches and the strong need for a v2.1​, which dear reader, you should read first in order to understand the reasons of this migration path.

You should also read this Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1 in order to get a grasp on the remaining limits of the products and avoid to look features that are not there yet.

From all the testings in the post above, we have designed a migration path that we will apply to our customers in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly and no key content get lost.

Table of content

0-Define your strategy

The very first thing you need to do is to define your strategy. You current templates will have to be divided in 2 categories:

  1. CAT1 will be candidate for an upgrade. For these, you should undertake the series of tests described in the rest of this post. If you have any email that may have to be edited in the future, then you should assign its template to CAT1.
  2. CAT2 templates are not candidate for an upgrade. This can be because their are obsolete on a graphical standpoint, or because the first tests below makes it obvious that they will break and you consider fixing them is not worth the effort. For the CAT2 templates, the best is to remove or approve any template draft and email draft and archive the templates. Then make it explicit to the users that they should:
    1. No longer try to use these templates and use some CAT1 or some brand new v2 templates instead.
    2. No longer try to edit the emails based on these templates as these have not been tested on v2 and there is a risk of content loss.

At the end of the upgrade process, you will end up with 3 types of templates:

  1. Non upgraded templates. They should all be archived.
  2. Upgraded templates. These will work as they used to be in v1, with the same level on functionality, based on mktEditable elements. We recommend that you do not try to introduce v2 Variables or new element types on them, as it would cause compatibility issues on you existing emails
  3. New templates. These can be created either from clones of the v1 templates, from Marketo starter templates or from any other sources. They will potentially benefit from all the new features, including the modules.

1-Before you activate the v2: Test and prepare

Before you activate the new editor, we strongly advise that you take these preliminary steps:

  1. Delete unused tests and development trials
  2. Get rid of all remaining templates drafts and email drafts. Approve them or discard them, but let none of them in your design studio nor in your marketing activities. These draft will collide with the upgrade and you will have to delete them anyway.
  3. Archive the CAT2 templates and alert the users on not using them any longer.
  4. Rename all your existing CAT1 templates, adding a v1 to their names, to be able to distinguish them easily when you start creating new ones or upgrading templates
  5. Important: Review the CAT1 templates for the following undetected mistakes and fix these mistakes (and approve the template draft and the related emails drafts that are automatically created when you repparoved the template):
    • Any unclosed HTML tag
    • Any missing ID in a mktEditable element
    • Any duplicate ID
    • Any nested mktEditable elements
    • Any line breaks inside html tags
  6. Once you have corrected these templates, review all the emails that were based on these templates. Especially if you had some nested mktEditable, the corrected email might look weird. Edit the emails, check them, correct if necessary and approve them (leave no draft behind)
  7. Make a copy of the code of all the CAT1 templates that you have checked/corrected above in a backup storage (a text editor file on your computer will be perfect)
  8. If you have the courage and the time, rename all your emails you plan to upgrade, adding a v1-t1 (meaning email in v1, template in v1) to the name. The naming convention will evolve to v2-t1 when you will edit and approve the emails in editor v2 without an upgrade to the template and the to v2-t2 (or simply v2) when both the template and the email are upgraded.
  9. Important: clone the CAT1 templates, name the clones "[mytemplate]-upgtest" and approve them. Then create v1 emails from these upgrade tests templates, name them "[my email]-v1-upgtest" edit the content and add real content to these emails (in other words, replace the template default/dummy content with yours), then approve them. There will serve as a preliminary test just after the activation and before upgrading all the production templates.

2-Tests to be done just after the activation

Just after the activation of the feature, and before you authorize anyone to start using the editor, you should run this series of sanity checks:

  1. Clone your v1 templates, edit the new clones and approve them. These clones will be v2 (name them accordingly, it impossible to distinguish them in the email or template list without a proper naming convention ​). This will act as a test and will also create the same template as the source v1, yet in v2. Then create test emails from this new v2 templates and test everything is alright. Send drafts, create a dummy email program targeting yourself. In case you encounter an error at this stage, better disable the v2, return to the v1 editor and fix your v1 templates or ask support to help you find out why these templates would not upgrade. You may also find that some of your templates have too many bugs to be worth the work and reclassify them to CAT1 (and archive them). Make sure all your templates are clean and "upgradable" before going further and start upgrading production emails.
  2. Upgrade the "upgtest" templates you have create before activating the v2 editor (edit them as a draft, and approve them). Go to the v1-upgtest emails. They should have a v2 draft attached. Edit these drafts and check that all the content is there. Check also that all the editable zones ARE editable. Approve these drafts, send samples. At this point, you have proven that your v1 templates do upgrade well and that the upgrade of the related emails went also well. If your email content is not there, signal it to support and revert to v1. If the content is there but the mktEditable zones are not editable, use the workaround in 1-3 in this previous post and signal it to support.
  3. If everything went well so far, then you can safely consider upgrade the production templates and the attached emails in v2, but remember that you are not technically obliged to do so. This would be done editing and approving these production templates. This will create in return a v2 draft on all emails created from the template you have upgraded, which you should edit and review before approving them. In case anything wrong is detected here, deleted these drafts and call support in.

At this point, you are done with the upgrade and you can benefit from the new UI.

In large orgs, you may want to deactivate the starter template library, in order to avoid your users starting to create emails that are far from your corporate guidelines.

3-Quick wins to look for after the upgrade

Your upgrade went well, here are some quick wins should you look for in order to get rapidly some more value from the editor, through new or cloned templates. We recommend that you do not try to introduce v2 features in upgraded templates that have production emails attached to them and rather create new ones.

  1. Edit your CLONED v2 templates again (do not do this on upgraded ones if there are some prod emails on them) and replace the zones supposed to contain images with new mktoImg elements. Also, replace the zones supposed to contain snippets with mktoSnippet elements. This is a simple way to make your user's life much easier. Be aware though that if you used to use tokens to indicate which image should be displayed, you should not perform this change (see Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1​ for the improvements that would be needed).
  2. Also in the v2 templates, replace your text CTA's with variables. Do the same with all 1-line formatted items such as titles (mind the text version, though). Again, a limitations here: variables and modules do not go long well, so if you plan to make your template modular, do not do this change.
  3. Approve these new v2 templates and test them extensively, again (send sample and smart campaign).
  4. If you are happy with the result, you can put them to use by your users, archive the old v1 ones and let your user know they should now use the v2

4-Longer term gains

On the longer term, invest in the new possibilities offered by the new features

  1. Set Background images with the image variables (we still have to check this works even in a <--!if mso context)
  2. Use the new variables to completely reshape the functional behavior of the templates
  3. Start leveraging the new module capability to create flexible templates that your users will love. It will enable you to reduce the total number of templates you need in your instance. (Attention to the variables in modules, variables are global to the whole template and will therefore have 1 value for the whole email)
  4. Use the brand new Video component

Continue the reading here: Email editor 2.0 is leaving room for a v2.1