The first email marketing campaign was initiated by Gary Theurk in 1978 and resulted in $13 million worth of sales. Although the email was sent to 400 users promoting DEC machines, it showcased that email is an effective channel for direct marketing. it is, therefore, no surprise that email marketing is among the most highly used marketing channels to this day.

With over 3.5 billion people having an active email account, sharing a message or product through email is an effective strategy. However, launching an effective email marketing strategy isn’t as simple as it seems. For starters, like everything else, you have to start with a plan.

Having a plan ensures you know who your audience is, why you are sending the message, and what to include to guarantee success. Although it seems like a lot of work at first, the results make it worth your time, effort, and money.

Below, we take a comprehensive look at how to create an email marketing plan. Therefore, you can avoid high unsubscribe rates and low clickthrough. Read on to ensure you create engaging email blasts that help you increase sales and establish your brand.

Identify the Context for Your Campaigns

Why are you sending out emails? What are you trying to achieve? Answers to these questions will help you build an effective email marketing campaign.

There will be a disconnect between your audience’s needs and your email’s content if you don’t know have a primary goal. Therefore, consumers will ignore any future emails from your business. Most of them will also unsubscribe from your email list or market as you spam.

How can you define the context of your email campaigns? Consider what you want to say and how you expect the readers to respond. Narrow down what your campaign needs to accomplish by asking the following questions:

  • What? Do you want your audience to sign up for classes, subscribe to a list, download content, or make a purchase? Having the primary goal of the campaign in mind will give you a clear call to action (CTA).
  • When? It is vital to determine the stage in the buyer’s journey that the readers are in. Audiences in the awareness stage, for example, prefer insightful content. However, those in the decision stage are looking for discounts and pricing guides.

Do Target Audience Research – Define Your Audience

Now that you know why your business needs to initiate an email marketing campaign and how to measure its success, you need to research your target audience. It needs to be more than just researching basic demographic information. Gender and age alone cannot ensure you create clickable emails.

Start by creating a buyer avatar to better know your audience. Doing this will give you more insight into details such as your consumers’ passions, hobbies, and goals. After all, 71% of today’s consumers are more likely going to interact with a brand that aligns with their personal values.

Getting to know your audience will also help you define the type of content that best suits them. Therefore, your emails will be more appealing, which ensures you generate more quality leads. For instance, a tea-selling company can talk about their compostable tea bags when selling to Gen X consumers who care about the environment.

How do you conduct target audience research? The first step is conducting customer surveys in person or online. It will also help to interview your sales team and learn about the typical customer. Finally, examine your competitors and research buying habits of consumers.

Build Your Email List

Growing your email list gets easier once you define your audience. It may take some time to grow an extensive list. But when done right, it will help you launch numerous successful email marketing campaigns in the future.

The first step to growing your list is offering an incentive to consumers. Let them know what they are getting if they sign up. It can be anything from a free e-book to discounts and free access to exclusive content.

Having a more specific incentive will help grow your email list faster. However, it needs to be something that appeals to your audience. Let it be something irresistible that will help solve their current needs.

Create opt-in pop-out forms on your website that clearly define the incentive. Ensure they have an attractive headline with a relevant tagline. It should also be as simple as possible and include a strong call to action in the subscription button.

However, you must include an unsubscribe option in your marketing emails. Yes, it sounds counterproductive at first. But you wouldn’t want to send emails to disinterested customers – it beats the entire point. Equally, doing this keeps you compliant with the one-click unsubscribe federal law (CAN-SPAM).

Create List Segmentation to Keep Separate Tags for Action

Building an email list is only half the battle. The next is learning how to segment your audience, thus ensuring you create emails that convert. After all, you have numerous customers with different needs and wants.

For instance, let’s say you are selling dispatching software to mid-sized companies in the transport and logistics industry. The drivers and dispatchers will benefit from content that details how the software works. They will want to learn how using your dispatching software will make their work easier and how to prevent mistakes. However, the decision-makers are more likely going to be managers and CEOs of these companies.

You will need to create two different messages for the two groups of people. The drivers and dispatchers should get educational content about the product, while the decision-makers should get technical content detailing how the product will save them money. Doing this will help them determine whether your product is worth the investment.

Creating list segmentation allows you to send targeted emails. Every message will directly matter to the recipients. Simply add a strong headline, and you will have your audience hooked. Therefore, you can increase the email open rate and position yourself as an industry leader.

Plotting Campaigns on an Email Marketing Calendar

You probably get a few marketing emails daily. However, how many of these do you mark as ‘read’ without opening the email? According to a report by IBM Marketing cloud, 47% of emails are never read.

You mustn’t become just another brand that clutters inboxes all over the world. Luckily, you can cut through the noise and increase your open rate by reaching the right audience at the right time. One excellent way to ensure this is by plotting campaigns on an email marketing calendar.

First, decide the type of emails you intend to create and send. Use the buyer avatar you created to brainstorm different campaign ideas and the type of content that would best resonate with them. Doing this helps you determine whether you will be sending weekly email newsletters, promotional emails, email surveys, free trials, and so much more.

Next, determine how the ideas above will help enhance your marketing goal. Start by highlighting only those ideas that seem to align closest with your KPIs and goals. Doing this will help you focus more on campaigns with the highest ROI.

You can then determine which marketing campaigns you need to start with and plot them on your email marketing calendar. However, try to limit the number of emails you send to consumers per week. A newsletter every Monday or Friday adds more value compared to several newsletters per day.

However, ensure you include content that adds value to your consumers. It shouldn’t only ask the reader to make a purchase or sign up for an e-book. Ensure the consumer is left wanting to interact more with your brand.

Can you send more than one marketing email per week? Yes, but only if you are conducting a genuine sale. Consumers tend to want to know when they can get products or services at a discount. Equally, they will be more receptive to your emails if you only send additional emails whenever there is a deal on the table.

It will also help to create a tab that highlights vital holidays. There is no better time to launch email campaigns that convert than on holidays due to the increased traffic. Create a separate tab in your calendar and specify the dates you intend to target.

Make a Schedule for Planning Time to Craft Your Emails

Plotting campaigns on an email marketing calendar feels good to complete. You finally have a working plan that will help you generate more leads. However, when are you going to craft your emails? How are you going to ensure you follow through on your email marketing plan?

Set a specific day and time to craft your email content. For starters, it isn’t that difficult to draft engaging emails, and it doesn’t have to be a work of literature. Email messages convert better when you use simple language. However, ensure your emails are written as though they are addressing one person, and you have an attention-grabbing headline. It will also help to include a strong call to action within your email.

It takes practice to draft an excellent email copy. Luckily, it will get easier with time, and creating high-quality content will become second nature. All you need to do is stick to the specific time and date for creating your email newsletters.

Having a schedule also ensures you never fall behind. After a while, your readers will be expecting to hear from you regularly. It will also be easier to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns when you stick to a schedule. Therefore, you can easily adjust your methods and set more attainable goals in future marketing campaigns.

Measure Your Results

You cannot improve your email marketing campaign if you don’t measure it. You have to learn about key KPIs that can help you measure success. Here is a list of the top five metrics you have to measure once you initiate your first email marketing campaign:

Open Rate

The percentage of people that open your email and read the contents is known as the open rate. It is among the most essential metrics to track because an unopened message is ineffective. A low open rate means you need to create more engaging subject lines. It will also help to personalize the email to best suit your audience.

Click Rate

Your emails include links to help guide the consumer complete a purchase. The percentage of those who click on these links is referred to as the click rate. It shows you how effective your call-to-action is and how many readers are interested in your company. A high open rate with a low click rate means you need to tweak your CTA and email message.

Conversion Rate

The primary objective of your email marketing campaign is to ensure your readers convert. However, it only happens when the consumer opens the email and takes action. A high conversion rate means everything in your email is excellent – from the subject line to the call-to-action and landing page.

Unsubscribe Rate

It is vital to keep up with the number of people unsubscribing from your email list. It could indicate that subscribers are growing tired of your emails. Therefore, you need to change the frequency of sending emails or redefine your campaign.

Email Signup Rate

How effective is your landing page? The email signup page lets you know the rate at which visitors are joining your email list. For instance, a low email sign-up rate may indicate you are sending mobile users to a site that isn’t mobile-friendly. Equally, you may have quality leads, but your sign-up form is asking for too much information.

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About the Author: Josh Barter
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Funnels & Conversions Wizard, Automations Expert. Over 10 years of experience & $30M+ in revenue generated with direct response marketing tactics leveraging funnel conversion tools. Visit

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