How to Create Email Marketing Plans

by | Sep 18, 2014

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You’ve been building up your business via other marketing channels and now you’ve decided that you would like to do some email marketing. It can appear a daunting and time consuming activity to start, but rest assured it’s not as hard as you may think. This guide will give you some practical steps to consider, insights into ways to implement your campaign, and some other useful insider tips.

Step One: Know Your Audience

Before you create content, design email templates or send emails, it is important that you understand your audience and what information they are interested in.

Firstly, are they customers (people who have purchased with you previously) and how can they be segmented into like-minded people – age, demographic, location, interests, products or services purchased etc.? What content would keep them engaged with your email marketing campaign and with your brand? Could they be brand advocates? What would encourage them to repeat purchase or to re-engage?

Secondly, do you have subscribers (those who have shown interest in receiving more information but haven’t committed to purchasing)? Who are they? How do they differ from your customers? What information would interest them and entice them to purchase? How have they asked to be communicated to?

Build up these audience segments into persona profiles or pen portraits. This will provide you with clear direction of the email variants that you will require as well as the content that will appeal to each profile or persona.

Step Two: Develop Your Content

Below is a content checklist of areas to consider when developing your content. This should include (and is by no means exhaustive) the following:

  • Up and coming events – both directly and indirectly related to your brand.
  • Past events – again this could be past events directly or indirectly related to you brand. Make sure you recap this past event with interesting content including imagery.
  • What’s trending for your brand, industry sector and your target audience on social media? Consider setting up feeds on each of your channels to monitor activity so that you can keep abreast of #trendingtopics.
  • Remember to research news channels as well as Google news.
  • Does your target audience have a defined online resource? If so, make sure you know what that is and check in regularly.
  • Know what your competition is doing and what they are featuring.
  • What’s ‘new’ with your brand or business – remember to tell people!
  • Include quirky or interesting facts, funny links, images or videos that you think your persona would find engaging.

Step Two Point Five: 5 Key Tips

At this point you know who you want to target, and you have your content resource checklist to follow. Now it is important to let you know about our five key tips that you should always consider when you are gathering and creating content:

  1. Remember: your customers and subscribers have given you permission to communicate with them. Make it interesting for them. Let them know that they are very important and that they will be the first to know about any new product, offer, service, industry news or event before anyone else. Are there any exclusive benefits to subscribing to your email campaign?
  2. Make sure that your email is useful to the reader. Does opening your email mean that the reader will have learnt something that they wouldn’t have known had they not received your communication?
  3. Remember your brand guidelines. Let your tone of voice, your brand essence and personality shine through by the style of writing, the content and the supporting imagery.
  4. Make your email short and make it easy for the reader to find out more if they want to.
  5. Why not use some of the great apps such as Pocket, Evernote and Pinterest that help you save, organise and access content at a later time.

Step Three: Decide the Frequency of Your Emails and set KPI’s

Firstly, consider whether any of the content that you have gathered has a time sensitive nature and plan those pieces in. This could be events or any product or service launch/promotions.

Do you have critical business events or periods which mean content and the frequency of your campaigns should be increased or decreased? Factor in content and messaging to mirror such a pattern.
Ideally a minimum of one email per persona per month should be the basic frequency guideline, but ultimately you need to decide how often they should be sent out.

Take some time to think about what your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) will be. Are they to send more traffic to your website? Do you want to increase business at certain times? Do you want more repeat business? Do you want more conversions? Know what you want to achieve, and record these goals along with suggested timescales. This way you will be able to measure your success.

Step Four: Create a Schedule

Developing an email marketing schedule is crucial, as it creates a mini project plan and provides clear guidelines and deadlines for everyone involved. This downloadable Email Campaign Schedule Template can help you plan your next campaign.
An email marketing schedule should include the following:

  • Calendar of key dates and any relevant content: these should be highlighted so that important dates and events are not missed.
  • Mark up the dates when you want the emails to go out, to which persona they are going and what the main topic is. Summarise any secondary or tertiary features as well as any resource links and imagery. A link to the full email brief can also be helpful.
  • Insert relevant deadlines and ensure this is then shared with all relevant personnel and external agencies.
  • Create your database email lists.
  • Review and proof read the email before sending.
  • Monitor, evaluate and record the results post email campaign against your set KPI’s.

At Serps Invaders, we can help you develop your email marketing strategy and campaign management or even just provide you with specific email marketing training tailored to your needs. To learn more about our offering drop us an email at hello[at]serps-invaders.com or call +44(0)131 208 3669.

Article written by

Feli Betzl

Feli Betzl

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