Creating an email marketing plan sounds more complex than it actually needs to be. We’ve outlined a few of our favourite go-to strategies when starting to develop your own email marketing plan.
1. Know your audience.
If you already have a email list, think about how those people signed up to receive emails from you. If it was from checking out of your online store, then you could classify them as customers. However, if you collected their email addresses from a trade show, they would be considered ‘general audience’ Being able to put these customers into specific categories will help you be able to send relevant content to each group separately.
If you don’t have any email marketing subscribers yet, not to worry! Think about how and why your audience would sign up to hear from you. For example, if you have an online store than your customers probably want to learn about new releases, or sales. Or if you are a blogger, then your audience will want to read about your latest blog posts and updates.
2. Content Creation.
Once you’ve determined who your audience is, it will make it easier to think about what kinds of content will be interesting to them. Your main objective in content is always to be thinking about your email subscribers, and how you can create content that is relevant and that resonates with them. This subtle but important tip provides more value to the recipients of your message and creates more engagement.
For example, if you are a health food company your audience may be interested hearing more than just your products or promotions. Think about other aspects that will further engage them such as healthy recipes, general health tips, how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
3. Tips for creating and gathering content
Know that when someone gives you permission to send them emails that there is a level of trust and responsibility to give them only good quality content and emails. Let your audience know you care, by giving them exclusive insider scoops on sales, latest products, tips or collaborations. Let them be the first to know.
Keep it relevant.
Always think about your audience when you are crafting a message to them. Make sure that you aren’t only sending emails about company news, but that you are incorporating other relevant information as well. Only hearing about the company side of things makes it one sided and not very engaging. Give them a variety of content that they will actually read.
Show your personality.
Inject your emails with a fun tone that shows off your brand’s personality. People buy from people, not brands. Try to show your personality in tone, and the design of the email too. Keep things lighthearted, and maybe even introduce some humor to it.
Short and sweet.
Your audience is probably getting hundreds of emails every single day. Be mindful of that and keep things short and to the point. Maybe focus on one item such as a product or a quote and link out to other pieces of content to keep the email short. That way if your audience needs to scan for important information, they can.
4. Determine a schedule.
Make sure that you find a schedule that works for you, your team and your audience. All businesses are different and you need to know what will work best for you. If you are just starting off set a goal of sending an email once a month. This may be tricky especially if you don’t have a lot of content to send them. If you find that one month you are lacking in relevant content – skip that month! But don’t go 2 months in a row or else your customers may forget when they signed up and report you as spam. There are some companies that send emails every day. Determine if you have enough content to meet your email schedule and if your audience would respond to your planned frequency. After it is underway you can monitor your results to see if changing up the schedule makes sense.
5. Make a calendar.
It will definitely help you as well as any individuals that you work with to put together a calendar that will plan out what days to content is being created, when it’s due and the send date of the monthly email. That way everyone on your team is all on the same page. Some ideas for scheduled deadlines would include:
- Content Topics – when to do research for products/news for the month
- Creation – when content needs to written and completed.
- Images + Visuals – when images and videos are required that you want to include in your email
- Draft – timing to proofread, edit and make sure the email looks good on all devices (mobile included)
- Deploy date
6. Measuring Tools
How do you know if your email marketing program is successful? No email marketing plan is complete without considering the performance and measurement of each and every email campaign sent out. This is a key part to ensuring you are delivering on your purpose and goals of your email program and validating that all of your effort is worth it. It will also help you benchmark key aspects of your campaign so that you can continue to improve on your results.
Here are a number of areas and specific metrics that you should always review:
First and foremost, make sure your list is clean and has properly formatted email addresses and ideally a name to personalize your message. Keep an eye on bounces rates and failures. This is an indication of your list or database quality and could be fixed at the source of your email collection procedures. Also, you have a responsibility to only send messages to people that trust you and have given you their email address with their permission or consent. These factors will impact how many people actually receive your email but also who open and responds to it.
How many individuals on your email list actually opened the email that you sent to them. Keep in mind that Opens and the Open Rate are not 100% accurate because it depends on whether a person loads the images that you put into the email or even what device and program that they use to view the email on. The biggest impact to the number of Opens and reads that you receive is based upon the Subject line of your email so make sure it is a short and compelling one that is irresistible to Open.
How many people from your list actually clicked on the links in your email? Did you notice an increase in sales from the product that was featured? Which link was clicked the most? Clicks are one of the best ways to determine the success of your campaign.
When people don’t like an email or it’s not relevant they tend to unsubscribe right after they receive it. You will likely see the most unsubscribes right after you send an email. A healthy percentage of unsubscribes is less than 1%. If you haven’t sent an email in a long time, or if it’s your first email you may see a higher percentage. If you are seeing a higher percentage each time, maybe you are sending too many emails or perhaps the content is not appropriate for the individuals that you are sending the message to.
Take a look at your website traffic before and after you send an email campaign. Do you see an immediate spike of traffic? Or is it more gradual? How long does it last until it returns to the ‘before’ traffic?
New sign ups.
If you are getting a lot of new sign ups after you send your email, it may mean that your audience is forwarding their emails to friends and having them sign up too. This means that you are sending amazing and engaging content! However, if you don’t notice any growth at all, you may want to take a look at your content and see how you can make it more engaging next time.
These are just a few of the basic elements that need to considered in a well organized email marketing plan.