Digital Marketing Training Week 29 Steps to Develop an Email Marketing Plan

Task 29: Steps to Develop an Email Marketing Plan

This week, spend a few hours developing an email marketing plan.
Why is this important?

▪ It builds brand awareness.

▪ Increases sales.

▪ Strengthens customer relationships.

▪ The 2012 Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey found that 63 percent of respondents thought that email is the best marketing channel.

Step #1: Chose the Right Tools
To develop and email marketing plan, you need a tool collect emails and another one to send them. To collect emails, we recommend ManyContacts and to send emails,MailChimp is the best in our opinion.
Step #2: Define your Purpose
To define your purpose you must get to know your audience, which you can do by:

▪ Conducting focus groups.

▪ Creating an online survey.

▪ Talking to customers during sales or support calls.

▪ Checking your customer demographics.

Below is a sample of a WooRank Website Review analysis of a site’s audience demographic:
Customer Demographics on Woorank's Website Review

WooRank’s Analysis of a Website’s Audience Demographic
Once you know your audience, it is time to define the purpose of your emails based on your audience’s interests. To do so, ask the following questions:

▪ Would your audience be interested in getting product information and reviews?

▪ Would your audience be interested in new product/service information?

▪ Would your audience want access to discounts and special offers?

▪ Would your audience be interested in knowing latest industry trends?

▪ Would your audience be interested in industry news?

You can segment your audience according to their interests and send targeted campaigns with specific purposes to different segments of your readers.
Step #3: Set your Goals
Email marketing campaigns can generate a higher ROI when you set email marketing goals. This allows for targeted campaign budgets that are assigned to achieve a certain goal. Also, if you set a goal within a certain time period, you can measure the success ratio of your email campaign and move forward with your marketing strategy accordingly.
Some of your email marketing goals could be to:

▪ Generate direct sales.

▪ Increase website traffic.

▪ Create brand awareness.

▪ Encourage participation in special discounts, events or contests.

▪ Reach a larger social media audience.

▪ Increase customer interaction.

▪ Earn customer reviews.

▪ Keep customers informed of your company updates.

Step #4: Plan your Email Content and Design
Planning your email content and design shows your attention to detail and demonstrates that you value your email subscribers’ time and desire for quality information.
Here are some pointers that will help you plan your email content and design:

▪ Promotional and Editorial: You must create a good balance between promotional and editorial emails within your campaign. When all the emails you send are promotional there is a risk of being viewed as spam or of being unsubscribed to. When all your emails are editorial, you may not generate direct business. A good blend of the two can facilitate a long lasting relationship between you and your customer.

▪ Talk to Your Customers: Let the voice of your email be personal and direct. For example, instead of saying it is common for retailers to experience problems during inventory management, speak directly to your customers, saying, it is common for retailers like you to experience problems in your inventory management.

▪ Personalize: It is important that you personalize each email. If you use an email software, make sure you segment your audience based on their types and interests, as discussed in Step 1, and send each group targeted content. Also, email open rates are enhanced when you address readers by their name.

▪ Length: Respect your reader’s time and keep your content concise and short.

▪ Email Signature: Offer contact information in your email signature, such as a telephone number. Make sure the email features a person’s name rather than a company name or the sender’s designation, for example, The Managing Director.Integrate social media buttons in your email signature. This may increase your social media followers and fans.

▪ Focus: If you are promoting a product or service, focus on a single item. Do not crowd the emails with too much information, making it confusing for the readers. Have a single call-to-action on your emails, if any.

▪ Email Design: It is ideal to use your website theme or logo design for your email campaigns, keeping it minimalistic. Use a lot of whitespace.

A/B test your email content and design, and notice the opening rate of each version before you send long term campaigns. You can also read our article on email tips to avoid spam filters, to further assist you in improving email deliverability.
Step #5: Decide on Frequency
How frequently you send emails depends on the goals you are trying to achieve, as well as your target audience. Sending emails too often raises the risk of being considered spam, while sending emails not often enough may mean a loss of business leads to competitors. Striking the right balance between the two should be your plan of action in deciding your mail-out frequency. You can also use different frequencies for different segments of your readers, based on the opening rates of each group. Here are some options:

▪ Quarterly emails: If you do not have much information, send your emails quarterly.

▪ Monthly/Weekly Newsletters: If you have a newsletter, send it monthly or weekly depending on how well your readers respond to it.

▪ Bi-monthly Emails: Send emails twice a month to strike a balance between monthly and weekly emails.

▪ Weekly Emails: If you are an e-commerce business, you could send weekly updates on your products. The same goes for professional service websites if there is useful content ready to be sent each week.

▪ Promotional vs Editorial: Reduce the frequency of promotional emails and increase the frequency of emails that give information, for example, tips, blogs or trends.

▪ Discounts and Offers: Determining the frequency of emails that offer promotional discounts and special offers is tricky and it largely depends on your audience. Some may like to receive timely discount updates via email while some may not. Measure the opening rates of your email and change the sending frequency accordingly.

▪ Active Engagement: Increase email frequency for those who are actively engaging with your emails.

▪ Inactive Customers: Reduce frequency for customers who are inactive. At a later stage, offer to re-activate their subscription by offering discounts on your service or products.

▪ Ask your Customers: Hear from your customers how often they would like to receive your newsletters, through a subscriber form or a survey.

Resources for Further Learning:

▪ Blog Article: Top 9 Email Marketing Tools

▪ Blog Article: How to Create an Email Marketing Plan

▪ Video: Email Marketing – Developing an Effective Strategy

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