Welcome to the sixth part of our 2015 Effective Marketing Plan blog series. So far, we have covered creating plans for social media marketing, content marketing, direct marketing, mobile marketing, and why it is important for businesses to have them. We are going to continue our series with email marketing today.

Email is a great marketing tool for businesses. This infographic shows that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25. Over 3.1 billion people in the world have an email account. If you’ve got a message or product to share, email is the way to go. How do you begin email marketing though? If you have an email list already, you could just send out marketing emails and see what happens. However, to improve your chances of success, it’s a better idea to develop an email marketing plan. Some of you may be asking, “Why do I need a plan?” Having a plan will add structure and purpose to your email campaigns. With a plan in place, you will know who you are emailing, why you are emailing them, and what you should include in your emails.  An email marketing plan isn’t as hard to put together as you may think. This blog post will walk you through the main steps of planning for email campaigns.

Know Your Audience

Before doing anything else, you should define your readers. Once you know who your audience is, it will be easier to cater to them. The more focused your emails are, the better chance you will have at engaging your audience. If you already have an email subscription list, you can determine what kind of audience they are by finding out how and where they signed up. If they signed up for your email list during a purchase checkout, they are customers. If they signed up on your blog, they are interested in your written content. If you do not have subscribers yet, it is never too late to grow your email list!

Know Your Purpose for Email Marketing

Now that you know who your audiences are and you have their email addresses, it is time to decide what you are going to email them. Here are some questions to think about when you are figuring out what the purpose of your email campaign will be: Why does your audience need or want to hear from you? What can you give them? What is the goal of the email campaign? Creating goals are important for email marketing because it gives you a finish line to work towards. Your goal can be as simple as increasing followers and fans on your website, growing your email list, or increasing sales.  You can always check on the progress of your goals mid-way, assess the situation, and adjust the process if needed.

Create a Content Strategy

You know who your audience is and you have set your marketing goal. What are you going to say to them? All your emails should be relevant and valuable to your readers. This will help turn subscribers into loyal readers. Think about why your audience signed up for your emails and create content based on those reasons. You can outline the general content types that you may be thinking about including in your email campaign. Content types include promotions, sales, industry news, company updates, videos, contests/sweepstakes, industry tips, research or case studies. Add content that you don’t want your audience to miss. This is a good time to plan the graphics for your email as well. Jot down art ideas and pull out photos or art that you want to use as content for your campaign. If you don’t know which content you should include in your emails, check what your competitors are doing. You can get ideas and inspiration by seeing what’s popular.

Create a Schedule

Now that you know what kind of emails you are going to send and to whom, it’s time to plan an email marketing schedule. You need to figure out how often you are going to send out emails. This depends on the time and resources you have, and the goals you have set for your emails. Whatever schedule you set, your emails should be sent out on a regular basis, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. Remember, you don’t want to leave your readers in the dark nor do you want to annoy them with too many emails. Having a schedule is important because it gives your email marketing team a deadline. Everyone is bound to have their own schedules and be busy with other projects, so with a set schedule and plan, everyone will be on the same page.

After you have scheduled everything, you are ready to write and create your email and send it out! Make sure you’ve checked for typos and grammar. You will learn to improve your email marketing skills by sending out emails and by seeing how they perform. Creating an email marketing plan may seem like a lot of work, but it will save you time and energy in the end. Follow our guide and you will be running a successful campaign in no time! For email marketing services, please contact US Data Corporation at (888) 578-3282.