In case you’re wondering, an email marketing strategy is a set of guidelines that dictate the process of communicating with your audience via email.
Simply put, an email marketing strategy tells you what to say and how to say it in an email.
While it may sound simple enough, creating an email marketing strategy is more complicated than it seems. That’s because there are so many moving parts that can impact your strategy’s success. To help you out, we’ve curated an overview of the most essential pieces of information you need to succeed as an email marketer.
1. Create a Marketing Agenda
As the name would suggest, a marketing agenda is a list of the marketing activities you intend to carry out throughout the year. You should create your agenda based on the SMART framework which stands for:
The first step to formulating an email marketing strategy is to set the stage by creating your marketing agenda. To that end, you’ll want to develop a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to measure your progress. For instance, you might want to track the number of people who click on your email’s unsubscribe link so you can gauge your audience’s interest in your content.
You can also use your marketing plan to set the scope and tone of your email marketing activity. For example, do you intend to email your audience on a weekly basis or just monthly blasts? Will your emails be fun and engaging or will they aim to educate your audience about the importance of a specific product or service?
Whatever you decide, make sure that your marketing plan is measurable and, most importantly, able to be achieved.
2. Develop Storylines and Timlines
As the name would suggest, a storyline is a storyline is a storyline. However, what makes these things special is that they aren’t just lists of words or concepts you want to convey. Instead, you can use narratives, examples, and other storytelling techniques to engage your reader’s attention.
A timeline is similar to a storyline but instead of focusing on a single point in time, a timeline suggests a period of time that you’re covering. For example, you might want to send out a monthly email update on consumer technology trends so you can stay ahead of the game.
You can use a variety of techniques to develop storylines and timelines. But, you should always keep in mind that your goal is to entertain, educate, or persuade your audience. You might want to brainstorm ideas with a colleague or group of friends to generate a list of possible topics.
3. Identify Your Audience
Anyone who’s carried out even a rudimentary analysis of email marketing knows that the most successful strategies are usually the ones that are personalized as much as possible. That’s because, generally speaking, people are more inclined to engage with content that is relevant to them.
To identify your audience, you first need to understand the needs and motivations of your typical reader. For instance, did you develop a loyalty program for retailers? Does your audience consist of digital nomads who need your product to travel? Or, do you want to draw in entrepreneurs who want to learn more about starting a business?
After you’ve identified the main demographics, you can start to tailor your content to be relevant to as many of these individuals as possible. For example, if your primary audience is retailers and they are heavy users of email marketing, you might want to send out a weekly email update on all the discounts and promotions.
4. Create Keywords Lists and Monthly Ranking Reports
If you’re a marketer who specializes in internet marketing, you might be familiar with the concept of keywords. When you enter a keyword or phrase into a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Amazon, you’ll be presented with a list of websites and blogs that are relevant to your search.
Similarly, if you enter a keyword into an email campaign’s subject line, you’ll likely receive a deluge of email pitches from advertisers, marketers, and entrepreneurs who are trying to gain traction with potential customers. These pitches might appear in your inbox every day, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not to open them.
With keyword lists, you can make the process of selecting the right keywords much easier. You can either use free tools like Google Keyword Planner or Bing Keyword Assistant to get started or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can build your own list manually.
After you’ve generated your keyword list, you need to enter them into a search engine and see how many times they’re used in the context of online marketing. For example, if you enter the keyword “ecommerce” into Google, you’ll see a list of thousands of results — each one is a potential opportunity to get in on the action.
5. Include Analytics and Conversion Tracking
With so much focus placed on marketing analytics, it’s no surprise that this tip builds off of the previous one. Analytics and conversion tracking allow you to examine the effectiveness of your marketing activity and determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Since it’s impossible to measure the success of a marketing campaign completely in advance, you’ll want to include these advanced analytics tools into your regular reporting routine. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of the metrics that matter most to your campaign’s success, such as the number of clicks, calls, or orders that you receive for your products or services.
Additionally, you can use these tools to examine the effectiveness of each individual touchpoint in your customer’s journey. For example, did a particular email campaign drive the final decision to purchase a product or service? Was there any success using social media to attract potential customers? Where did they come from, and what will they do next?
6. Design Your Emails With Litmus
One of the crucial steps to creating an effective email marketing campaign is to design your emails with a content marketing tool like Litmus. Litmus is a software that allows you to design and send beautiful emails that look exactly like you would if you were typing on a keyboard. It’s incredibly useful for creating compelling content that will engage your audience.
Litmus comes with a library of beautifully designed emails that you can easily use to craft your own messages. Additionally, you can use Litmus’ templates to quickly create a polished, professional looking email that will help you get the word out about your business.
Testimonials are essentially case studies of previous clients who’ve had good things to say about a product or service.
Although they aren’t always directly tied to a sale, clients who’ve had good things to say about a product or service often become advocates and promoters of that product or service. For this reason, you should include testimonials into your content marketing strategy whenever possible.
Additionally, since customer testimonials generally appear to be more authentic and less likely to be faked, you can use these items to your advantage in establishing credibility with prospective customers.
If you run a marketing agency, you can use client testimonials in your portfolio to demonstrate your expertise. Or, if you’re a brand evangelist or marketing manager with a smaller business, you can use customer testimonials in your social media strategy to establish credibility with the online community.
8. Measure The Results Of Your Strategy
In some instances, the success of an email marketing strategy is measured by the number of sales made as a result of the campaign. However, in other cases, you may want to examine the strategy’s impact on brand awareness, participation in a loyalty program, or the number of people who clicked on a particular link in an email.
To determine the success of your strategy, you’ll want to enter the keywords from step one and analyze the number of times these keywords show up in the context of internet marketing.