Posted on Feb 5, 2021

How to Create an Eye-Catching Email Marketing Plan (Step-by-Step Guide to Strategy, Calendars & Tools)

Do you want a head start on email marketing planning? It’s a good idea to have an email marketing strategy, especially to increase your website’s targeted leads. But it’s easy to get lost in the details. That’s why we’ve simplified the process. 

Here’s what’s in our quick-start guide:

  • An introductory guide to email marketing trends
  • A 6-step guide to email marketing planning
  • Tools and resources build an effective email strategy

Email Marketing Trends

  • Mobile optimization. You’ll frequently see email templates that use mobile-optimized designs and mobile-only designs. 
  • Accessibility. Growing advocacy for accessibility has affected email marketing designs in a big, positive way. 
  • Dark mode. As apps and websites adopt dark mode, it makes sense that emails would too. 
  • Social media callouts. A great way to engage with your audience is to include Instagram feeds, top tweets, and fan-made content in your emails. 
  • Greater interactivity. Animated buttons, polls, and dynamically updated content yield greater interaction from recipients.

How to Build an Effective Email Strategy

As you approach email marketing research and planning, it’s important to have a cohesive strategy in place. So, with the above trends in mind, the following six steps will help get you started. 

1. Define Your Email List

One of your first email marketing activities should be to identify who you send emails to. Clearly define who you want on your email list, and then decide how you can encourage this targeted group to use your signup forms and subscribe. 

2. Develop Clear Goals

Ask yourself why you want to spend time as an email marketing planner. What is the purpose of your campaign? 

Clear email marketing goals are essential to run a successful campaign. Define your goals, whether it’s to build a following for your blog or make more sales and gain new customers for your e-commerce store. 

3. Identify the Type of Content You’ll Send

Another essential piece of the email marketing planning process is to decide the type of content you’ll send. The type of email marketing content you need to create will depend on your goals. 

If you want to keep new subscribers informed about your online store and new products, concoct an email newsletter marketing strategy for it. Or, if you want people to opt-in for an online course, an autoresponder series is a better way to spend your content marketing efforts.

4. Use Free Email Templates to Streamline Your Email Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve established the type of content you need to create, you’ll need an email design template to put the pieces together. You could create each email from scratch, but what email marketing planner has time for that? 

An email template saves you time and money, and a successful email marketing campaign requires some automation. 

A few good sources of email automation templates include: 

5. Create an Email Marketing Calendar

Another way to kick your email marketing planning into gear is to create an email marketing calendar. This empowers you to see the big picture at any given time and ensures you never miss events, important dates, or crucial sales opportunities. 

For most marketers, an email marketing calendar should: 

  • Account for holidays, special events, and big announcements. Constant Contact put together a useful list of holidays in 2021 for this very purpose. Add in product launches and other important personal dates, too. 
  • Use segmentation to target specific groups with different campaigns. Users will sign up for your email list for different reasons, so clarify your segments and demographics. Send personalized emails to each group, so everyone is sent down the appropriate path in your email marketing funnel. Adjust your messaging if necessary. 
  • Account for your drip campaign’s frequency. Know the frequency you’ll be sending emails to perform better segmenting. This will prevent overlapping messages and sequencing problems and help you decide when it’s best to send automated emails or follow-ups. Differentiate between one-time emails and autoresponders.
  • Show the big picture. If you notice big gaps in your email marketing calendar, fill them in with fun offers, blog updates, and freebies. 

6. Configure A/B Testing and Analytics

Last on your list of email marketing planning steps is to set up A/B tests and analytics. Access your metrics and testing to ensure your email campaigns perform well. 

The good news?

Most email service providers include A/B testing and analytics, so explore what your marketing platform offers and configure your settings. 

Be a Better Email Marketing Planner: Tools and Resources

Any email marketing planner will tell you the right tools are essential. The following isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are the top players in the industry — and most are cost-effective, too. 

Best Email Marketing Planner Plugins

Best Email Marketing Calendar Tools

Final Thoughts: 6 Ways to Jumpstart Your Email Marketing Planning & Calendar

Email marketing planning takes the guesswork out of your campaigns and helps you get the most out of them. 

Whether you’re a single website owner or a full-fledged email marketing planner, these tips and collection of tools will give you the boost you need to get started and gain email subscribers. 

Any email marketing strategy you want to execute must be backed up by reliable web hosting. iPage offers all that and more, including dedicated email services to better connect with your target audience. Contact us today to learn more.