Unlike sales, today’s digital marketing practices have very little scope for spontaneity, and impulsive maneuvers. Each customization, leeway is thought through, while provisions are made for uncertainty. The more planned your approach, the better your marketing success. Good news is, today’s digital medium is also capable of providing you enough data to web your closely-knitted strategy. And it all begins with your email marketing.
One planned campaign calendar in hand is worth ten aimless campaigns going to waste. Stop procrastinating. Start building your email marketing plan with the following 10 steps. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll have a step-by-step, introspective campaign schedule and peace of mind for the next 12 months!
10 Steps to Get Started with Your Email Marketing Planner
Email marketing is the lead generation lifeline for your consulting practice. As a consultant, using email the right way can be elementary in driving business results. It is the backbone of your entire consulting practice, nurturing potential clients and getting repeat engagements. Coaxing extra efforts behind a campaign planner may sound complicated, intimidating, and time-consuming. However, a smartly plotted planner can drive conversions and increase ROI.
STEP 1 – WRITE A REVIEW OF THE PAST YEAR
The best way to start your email marketing calendar is by evaluating the email marketing strategy you applied in the previous year with a special focus on the most successful campaigns. This is easy to achieve if you followed its progress over the past year, reviewing and comparing reports, open rates, clicks and conversions. Additionally, consider what content had greater impact, which days and times generated more interactions and make an analysis to evaluate your overall performance. This will help you set goals for the year ahead.
STEP 2 – SET YOUR GOALS
If you are new to email marketing, you can start fresh with new set goals. But if you have done email marketing campaigns previously, then you need to have a benchmark to set your goals for the upcoming year.
- Is your goal to have more clients next year?
- Is it to increase number of sales?
- Is it to grow your contact list?
The goals you choose are completely up to you, but make sure your goals are realistic and you do all that it takes to bring in better results.
STEP 3 – DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
Before you start designing, writing, and sending campaigns, you should define your audience. Once you get a fair grasp about the people reading your emails, it’ll be much easier to decide what to say to them.
STEP 4 – DETERMINE YOUR CONTENT
Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to think about what you’re going to say to them. Think about why this audience signed up, then focus on delivering the right message to them. It can be helpful to outline general content types that you might include in each email campaign. While you don’t need to have all your content prepared months in advance, you should have a fair idea of the content topics that you will need and by when you will need them.
Start with the obvious: holiday content, seasonal content or content for other special times of the year, and mark those publish dates with the topics you want for that date. Promote the dates for higher anticipation amongst your recipients.
STEP 5 – CATEGORIZE YOUR BROADCAST EMAILS
Another step to creating an effective email calendar is to figure out what kind of emails you need to be sending. This means gathering as much information as you can about upcoming events and promotions that you’ll want to share with customers. You can narrow down your emails to a few general categories, so that you can get a hang on your overall email strategy.
STEP 6 – DECIDE ON FREQUENCY
To optimize your planning, think of the right frequency to share any communique. The best approach with regards to frequency is to test what works best and stick with it. If you have tested frequency in the past, use what worked for you. If you are still not sure about best days, hours and how often you should send campaigns, do some testing to find the right model for your business and your customers. The most important thing is to maintain a good relationship with your contact base. Consistency also is important. It’s a great idea to experiment a little with frequency, but once you find the magic number, try your best to stick with it, at least most of the times. Your contacts will definitely appreciate it!
STEP 7 – SELECT YOUR DATES
Since you now know how frequently you plan to send emails, keep track of the “publish dates” for your email marketing. Try to space emails out as evenly as possible and be sure to consider vacations, holidays, birthdays, extra-busy times or any other special events that might hinder your email marketing plan. Once your publish dates are planned, work backwards from each date and mark your deadlines so that you know when your content needs to be ready.
Give yourself at least two or three days to make sure you have your content in place and your email is ready for testing.
STEP 8 – START SCHEDULING
Start with your publish or send date. Once you have that date, work backward so you know when you need to start. Make sure you give yourself enough time for creation, review and testing. Testing includes checking images and links, and confirming that your content appears the way you want it to across various platforms and email recipients.
STEP 9 – MEASURING AND ASSESSING
Measurement can be scheduled just like content. You may evaluate your content weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever time frame that works best for you. Just make sure that you are looking at your efforts regularly, analyzing what’s working and making amendments where it’s necessary. As a result, you might notice that some types of content are working really well for you. You may want to then include similar content in the future, replacing other topics. Or, the reverse might hold true for you and you may need to make adjustments by removing content that is not working for you.
STEP 10 – CRM INTEGRATION
While the email calendar will be for your own evaluation, but it also has to be in tone with your CRM. Like your customer database. Both the database and the campaign calendar – when synced with your CRM – will rank your collected data for higher accuracy. CRMs can be programmed to analyze this data, and make actionable decisions for further communications.
We did promise you an effective email marketing calendar by the end. In fact, we made one for you.
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KNOW BEFORE OTHERS!