When it comes to email marketing, I am (and have been) a massive advocate of email communication for years. I believe it’s a great way to connect with all of your readers at scale, yet create intimate conversations with each of them. Creating an email marketing plan is key when it comes to marketing strategy.
Yet, a lot of people are wary about making their emails stand out from the crowd, which I do appreciate. You see, in 2018, approximately 281 billion emails were sent and received every day worldwide – this figure is projected to increase to over 347 billion daily e-mails in 2023.
So, yeah, you’ll have some tough competition in there – plus, not every email will land the way you’d like it to. It takes an average of 7 interactions (The Marketing Rule of 7) to get people to interact with your content – it’s not just me saying this. The rule of 7 was invented in the 1930s but is still used today.
This rule states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.
In short: it takes an average of 7 interactions to get someone to take action. This is why successful email marketing requires a plan, especially for writers, who are building trust with their audience through their content.
In order to create a plan, you’ll need to get clear on the following:
- What will your emails look like?
- How often will you send emails?
- Identify goals and success metrics
Creating your Email Marketing plan
First thing first, get the subject line right. Just like an article needs the right headline, your email needs to get opened to actually get some traction.
Treat your subject line like the movie trailer – give a preview so they know what to expect.
Without an appealing headline, your email will get overlooked or mistaken for spam and deleted. The most effective headlines tend to try to capture your immediate attention. The best email writers tend to ask you a question that triggers a particular emotion, e.g. curiosity, something that speaks to your inner voice, whatever gets you to open it.
Still, remember to be aware of potential spam words.
The main content of your email is where you want to build some traffic, engagement or trust. Depending on the calls to action for your email, you’ll find you may want to create brand awareness, spark engagement or convert your audience into customers (if you are trying to sell a book, for example).
In most creatives’ cases, you’re looking to drive people to your content and increase traffic – which also increases trust and authority. Overall, you want to be clear about the goal of your email.
Know what you want your reader to do as a result of reading the email, and make sure it is 100% clear to them as well.
Question prompt: what would you like to showcase in your content?
When is the perfect time to send my emails?
I get asked during every single email marketing workshop I run. There is no right answer – this changes depending on the industry, your audience, etc.
A good tip, if you already have an audience, is to play around with A/B testing to see what your audience prefers. Then create a frequency and stick to it.
Popular industry sending times can also be found here.
Important tip: Better to start out with a lower frequency and add, than to start with a lot and then suddenly reduce your frequency.
Tracking your results
Yup, I am asking you to get saucy with your metrics.
Once you have clarity about what’s in your reports under each of these metrics and considering the context of your specific business, you can make smart and informed decisions about what to do next. Here are the top metrics you should be tracking:
- Open Rate: the number/percentage of people on your list who opened the email
- Click-Through Rate: the number/percentage who clicked through a link in the email or took the specific CTA you wanted them to take.
- Unsubscribes: the number who unsubscribed following the sending of your email (Happens! Don’t panic – this is a good thing because you want an engaged list.)
Once you understand the metrics, it’s time to track them.
Let’s say you want to improve a metric that’s been the same for a long time. Using your reports, you can make an informed guess about what you could change to improve. Then, try making the change and tracking your results as a kind of experiment:
- Begin by coming up with a hypothesis about what will happen when you make a change.
- Then test it.
- Use your reports to determine whether the change you made works.
- If it does, then you should keep replicating that action.
- If not, test another element until you’ve determined what works.
Pro tip: assess your email marketing results and performance each month and use the example above to test and re-assess your work.
Putting it all together
When it comes to getting started with email marketing, consistency is at the base of your strategy, this means you have to get clear on what the emails are trying to achieve, create a frequency to set expectations, and take the time each month to look through your performance to assess what can be changed or improved.
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.