Creating an email marketing calendar should be a focal point of your email marketing efforts. Here’s why.
According to a recent study, around 80 percent of small businesses use email marketing as their main tool for both acquiring new customers and retaining them for the long haul. And with an ROI of $36 or more dollars for every dollar spent, savvy marketers are likely to see significant gains from email marketing, if they have a system in place to distribute content on a regular basis. That’s where an email marketing calendar comes in.
Used to organize and schedule the dispersal of content, an email marketing calendar allows companies to view important information at a glance while tracking important data such as goals, due dates, and results. Doing this allows your business to take advantage of all the marketing opportunities at its disposal while ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.
Additionally, gaming out your marketing calendar in advance means you have the chance to optimize campaigns with A/B testing and other methods. So, you can feel confident users are receiving the best quality content with the highest chance at converting.
The Benefits of Email Marketing Calendars
Building out your email calendar in advance enables you to have a bird’s-eye view of your overall marketing approach. The goal is to ensure your subscribers are seeing the right content at the time of the day or year. By gaming out your calendar ahead of time, you allow for the content tweaks and edits needed to maximize performance. Here are just a few of the benefits associated with creating a robust email marketing calendar for your business:
Clarifying Topics and Focus
As a business owner, you probably have lots of ideas on a daily basis. One of the many reasons to create an email marketing calendar is that it gives you a place to collect and record these content ideas before you forget about them. Additionally, an email calendar encourages you to dig deeper into your content strategy, establishing a clear objective for every campaign. That way, you won’t get to the end of the year and realize you never made that marketing push you planned.
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Creating Higher-Quality Content
Did you know that the average person receives 121 business-related emails each day? When combined with personal emails and spam, that’s thousands of messages pouring into an inbox each week. If businesses want to avoid their content going straight to the trash bin, they need to find ways of standing out from the crowd, and that means creating and sending higher-quality content. An email marketing calendar can help companies tailor both their content and messaging while ensuring customers are only receiving newsletter content that’s relevant to their interests.
Choosing the Right Time to Hit Send
It’s not just what you send but when you send it that matters. One of the best ways to improve your email marketing ROI is to plan out when content should reach inboxes. Depending on the age and lifestyle habits of your target audience, you may discover that your open rate is higher when you send out messages in the morning versus the afternoon or vice versa. In general, experts recommend sending messages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, while avoiding Mondays and weekends when recipients tend to be busy with other activities. But in some industries, weekends are better times to send mailings. So be sure to test the days and times that work best for you.
Making Better Use of Existing Content
You invested time and money into creating your content and want to use it to the best possible advantage. By building a detailed email marketing calendar, you can track who received your content and when so you know if and where it can be reused. After all, your business is gaining new subscribers all the time, and there’s no reason to send them brand-new content if you have existing messaging that’s effective.
Assessing Your Marketing Goals
Building an email marketing calendar is crucial for aligning your current campaign strategy with your sales objectives. For example, you may determine that you need to step up your lead generation in order to increase conversions. Or you may notice that you aren’t sending enough promotional emails around the holidays. Once your email marketing strategy is on paper, you can do the math and evaluate where changes are needed to help your business achieve its objectives.
How to Create Your Email Marketing Calendar
Building an email marketing calendar may seem like a stressful proposition. However, there are plenty of online tools to help you achieve this task. Asana, for instance, is a work management tool that offers a free option that includes an editorial calendar template, and Trello has a sample email marketing board that can be used. Wrike and CoSchedule offer paid programs that allow for collaboration among team members, resource sharing, and other options. However, you can also create your calendar using a basic Excel spreadsheet or even a Word document. Additionally, you can find lists of holidays and corresponding content ideas online to help you brainstorm topics for messaging.
Once you’ve chosen a template for your email marketing calendar, you should create a framework for your campaigns. Ask yourself what the purpose of a campaign is, both in terms of ROI and desired next steps for the subscriber. For example, you may want email recipients to click through to the website, call to set up a service or visit your brick-and-mortar location. Once you know what the goal is, you can better craft your messaging to achieve it.
Along with your objectives for the year ahead, this framework should include a segmented subscriber list and guidelines for when and how you’re sending out emails. The goal is to ensure customers are only receiving content that’s relevant to their interests and purchase history. According to a recent report, 58 percent of email marketing revenue comes from segmented, personalized content, so make sure you’re providing audiences with something of value. You can also use your calendar to track how often you want to send out content, keeping in mind that subscribers have different levels of tolerance for receiving messages from a business.
What Goes in an Email Marketing Calendar
There’s no one right technique when it comes to creating an email marketing calendar. However, including some key pieces of information can help you achieve your goals while reducing stress and confusion for the year ahead. Here are some elements to consider building into your email marketing calendar:
Dates and Times
One of the most important details to include in your calendar is when you want emails to go out. After all, you need to have a schedule in mind so your marketing team knows when tasks are due. Over time, you can also track which dates and times yield the best conversions.
Reason for Mailing
There’s no point in sending an email to your subscribers if you don’t have a clear objective in mind. Depending on your business goals, you might be looking to announce a new product, promote a sale on services, provide information, or persuade customers to stop into your store. You may also want to tie campaigns to nationally promoted calendar dates. Identifying your objectives at the outset will help you tailor campaigns accordingly and identify gaps in your plan.
If you’ve been utilizing email marketing for any length of time, then you probably know that subject lines have a significant effect on open rates. In fact, one study revealed that 47 percent of recipients open an email based solely on the subject line. With an email marketing calendar, you can easily list multiple subject lines for A/B testing to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
To create a successful email marketing campaign, you need someone to craft the messaging. Use your calendar to identify an owner or point-person for each campaign. This individual can work with writers, designers, and programmers to ensure emails are ready to go out on your schedule.
Speaking of schedule, it’s helpful to list a due date for the campaign right away. For best results, give yourself about two weeks for your marketing team to craft the message. You should also record your publication dates so you know if things are going off without a hitch.
The goal of any email marketing campaign is to generate the desired conversions. To ensure your company is achieving its aims, take time to record the results of a given email. Depending on your objective, you may want to track opens, conversions, or sales of a product or service.
Setting up your email marketing calendar requires a significant time investment at the outset. However, if you carefully track your campaigns, you’ll have a better chance of achieving your goals over the year ahead.