Planning your email strategy is like throwing the *perfect* party.
If you’ve ever thrown a memorable party that guests rave about for years to come (remember that year when…?!), you know it didn’t all come together without a plan, right? The same goes for your email marketing strategy. Never start sending emails without a plan. (You wouldn’t invite a bunch of randoms over and hope for the best without a menu, would you?)
No matter what your business sells, email marketing is a channel you need to embrace. It’s more personal than social media, you have control over your list (because you own it, unlike the content you publish on other social platforms), and considering how much time most people spend in their inbox (on their desktops, laptops, or phones), the chances of getting eyes on your emails is pretty high.
Emails can (and should) be used to build your brand, develop connections and trust with a cold/warm/and hot audience, show your business’s personality, and sell your products or services.
Sounds simple. And it can be! It can also get incredibly complex.
To simplify your email strategy, let’s think of it like your perfect party.
Why are you throwing a party?
Or… What do you hope to achieve in your business using email?
Get clear on what goals you’re shooting for and build your email strategy to help you get there.
Let’s be honest; nobody wants to be *that person* who shows up to a party uninvited or feeling out of place. You’ve got to avoid a social faux-pas in your email marketing, too. How? By knowing your audience. After all, they’re the Very Important Peeps of your emails!
Every business’s audience is a little different, but when you know who you’re speaking — err, writing — and selling to, you can use personalization in your emails. Personalizing content makes your readers feel special, like getting a handmade invitation from a friend.
When you know your audience, you can tailor your content to their preferences. This builds trust and loyalty and encourages leads to become customers and customers to become lifetime fans of your brand. Like a great host who knows how to pick a menu based on the party attendees, when you’re attentive to your audience’s interests, they’ll notice and appreciate you.
Personalization is hugely important in building a killer email strategy. Rather than sending every email to every subscriber, note who they are and what might interest them the most. This article goes into great detail explaining what to personalize and how to do it.
Understanding your audience helps when you’re ready to segment them into subgroups. Like dividing the room of party guests for different activities, segmentation allows you to send more relevant content to each specific group, increasing engagement and interest in the emails you send them.
If you’re throwing a theme party, you’ve got to be sure to clue your attendees into the theme before they arrive. The theme is consistent throughout your party — from the decor to the attire to the menu.
Same goes for your email marketing theme — be consistent with the look, tone, and messages in your emails. Everything needs to stay on the theme or “on brand.”
Sure, you can pop open an email and compose a message to your audience without putting too much thought into the what and why behind it. And you might get decent open and click rates (kudos to you if you do!). Some people (and brands) like to fly by the seat of their pants when emailing their lists. And that’s cool. But is it “on brand” and consistent with your business? That might be debatable. Make sure you’re thinking about all aspects of your email — from design to copy to messaging — and evaluating its consistency with your brand.
Engaging content is the heart and soul of your email strategy!
Just like making memories at an unforgettable party, what you say (and how you say it) builds a connection with your reader and makes them want to come back for more.
If you like being the life of the party, here are some ways to create engaging content:
The most epic parties are the ones people keep talking about for years to come. Find a way to be unique, memorable, and share-worthy. When your subscribers can’t stop talking about your content and can’t help but spread the word, it expands your reach and influence.
For email content, you’ll want to send two types of emails: automations (also called flows or sequences) and campaigns (one-time sends).
Email Campaigns: Build a Calendar
It’s a good idea to map out your email campaigns by quarter/month/week (and try to have all campaign emails created, tested, and ready to go at least two weeks in advance). If you’re looking for content inspiration, leverage holidays, seasons, and current events. Base your content around 3-4 pillars, like educational content, promotional sends, entertainment content, user-generated content, or repurposing content from other channels.
Automations are your secret weapon to engaging your audience through the inbox. Set them up once and forget about them (for at least a few months until they need to be polished). Read more about the top 3 automations that will save you time & make money.
Picture this: You’re throwing a party, but it’s super awkward… nobody’s talking to each other, dancing, eating, or having fun. Yikes!
Just like a great party host, you’ve got to find ways for your subscribers to interact with your emails. The back-end email algorithms LOVE it when people click and reply to your emails. It shows that your content is engaging and that you’re relevant.
So, how do you encourage interaction with your emails? Be strategic. Strategic emails have it all, wrapped in the Rule of One: One goal, one main idea, and one interactive call-to-action (CTA).
The more your subscribers interact with your emails, the better your engagement metrics.
Every party needs delicious snacks!
In your emails, think of your offers like scrumptious delights that drive conversions and sales. You want your readers to think, “I have to try that!” when you serve up an enticing deal, discount, or promotion.
And remember — if they like it, they’ll want to come back for your next party! Or — offer. Find ways to stand out and build loyalty with your first-time customers. You want them to look forward to what you’re serving up next.
So, put on your apron and whip up something they can’t resist! When your subscribers find your offers valuable, they’re more likely to share your emails and recommend your brand to their friends, amplifying your reach and influence.
Timing matters. You’re not going to throw a cocktail party at 10 in the morning or a brunch party at 5 in the afternoon. You’ve got to find the perfect balance of keeping your guests entertained and engaged at a party… and with your emails.
How do you find the sweet spot?
Before sending emails, consider what sending times and frequencies make sense for your audience. (This may take some experimentation, testing, and optimization before you land on “the perfect time.”) Pay attention to open rates and engagement to determine what days and times work for your audience.
In any way you can, be sure to reduce unsubscribed and spam complaints. The ‘bots don’t love these for your brand, and they can negatively affect your email deliverability. Monitor your metrics and listen to subscriber feedback to adjust your timing accordingly, ensuring a positive experience for your readers.
And just like a party, your emails shouldn’t be too long or too short. Optimize every email for value. Cut what you don’t need.
Never send emails just to “send emails.” Respect the inbox! Make sure you have a purpose and a goal and that you’re providing something valuable for your reader — every time.
Finally, you’ve got to consider email implementation as part of your overall strategy.
Who will do what — and when? Set yourself up for success by mapping out roles and responsibilities and checks and balances. If you have a team, delegate the tasks and play to the strengths of your team members.
Just like planning a great party, when it comes to email strategy, a little planning goes a long way toward helping you crush your email goals.
Want better email open rates, higher conversions, and more profit in your pocket? Yeah, you do. Learn how to improve your email game in this guide.
Good vibes only, promise.