7 Steps to Creating an Effective Email Marketing Plan

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The purpose of a marketing plan is to ensure you get the best possible return on investment (ROI) from your email marketing efforts. Having an effective email marketing plan is a great way to stay focused when you have lots on the go; to keep track of your goals; and to monitor the success of each campaign created and deployed.

Seven steps to develop an email marketing strategy:

  1. Define your audience
    Who are you talking to, and what type of people are interested in what you have to say? Work out whether you are trying to tap in to a niche market or speak to a broader audience. Determine what characteristics they have in common, where they are based and what their routines are likely to be.
  1. Define your voice
    All email campaigns should be engaging, but should reflect the personality of the brand behind it. Once you’ve mapped out your audience, determine what style and tone is most apt for your brand – whether it’s chatty and colloquial or corporate and to the point. Try to keep a consistent brand voice throughout all communication with your audience to build up a rapport and manage their expectations effectively.
  1. Outline your goals
    The overarching goal is to boost your ROI, but to reach this target you need a series of smaller, more tangible goals. A great place to start is focusing your attention on the current status of your opens and click through rates; and then once you have an idea of that, you can start looking at your actual goals. Goals may include increasing the size of your database, increasing open and click-through rates, expanding reach, driving more traffic to the site, selling products, getting registrations and generating revenue via advertising etc. Once you know what your goals are you can then look at what you can do better or differently to obtain them.
  1. Determine the content
    Perhaps look at how you are incentivising users to sign up to your newsletters; consider whether the sign up process is quick and easy, and fully optimised for new signups; if the message and call-to-action is clearly relayed to your subscriber base; and if the landing pages are fully optimised for the relevant goal; and then see what you can do to reach those goals that you have sketched out for your business. Whatever the case may be, you need to think about what types of messages you plan to send. Then organise content by groups or departments and divide these up into separate lists to ensure content that’s relevant to your audience. Use data you have about your subscribers to personalise the content and determine what calls-to-action will work best.
  1. Agree on a killer template design
    Layout and design considerations are just as important as the content itself. Ensure that it works on all devices and is a great visual representation of your brand, while keeping abreast of the responses and engagement levels you get from current campaigns. A/B split testing would be a great tool to help you with this –determining what campaigns work and what campaigns don’t work, ensuring that your current design efforts are not in vein.
  1. Decide on sending frequency
    The two main questions to consider are how often you need to send out mails to get the results you’re after; and when your audience is likely to be most receptive to incoming mail. The key is to keep communication sustainable and relevant by working out when they’re most likely to read and engage with your mail based on the data you have collected.
  1. Create a schedule and execute accordingly
    Create an editorial calendar or email marketing project plan to map out exactly what each newsletter will say, who it will be sent to and when it will be sent out. Share this calendar with everyone working on the campaign and assign specific tasks so that each person knows what they are responsible for and when it needs to be completed.

Once you have what you believe to be the most effective email marketing plan in place, it’s important to remember that  your business, your audience and email as a whole is continuously evolving and changing. So you need to continuously test and measure the success of your campaigns, and tweak your strategy based on the results. Put aside time to re-look this plan on a monthly or quarterly basis and improve on what could possibly do with some improvements.

If you need help with you email marketing strategy, or any optimisation advice, feel free to contact us for more.