All successes start with a plan. If you want your marketing campaigns to return on your investment, whether that investment is time or money, you need to create the roadmap to get there.
Developing a plan for your email campaign is important for a variety of reasons. One, it forces you to consider all of the elements of the campaign and how they work together. Having a written plan can also keep you on track so your campaign launches on time. And finally, creating a plan will help you define your purpose and solve any problems beforehand.
Writing your plan doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you need only answer the following questions to develop a execute a successful campaign.
1] Who Is Your Target Audience?
You’ll need to define who your target audience is. An easy way to do this is to look at your current best clients and figure out what these people have in common. Look at their interests and how they engage with your content and offers. When you’ve done this you will now have a profile of who and what your ideal consumer is. Create an email campaign with them in mind.
2] What Do You Want Your Audience To Do?
Why are you sending this email to your list? Chances are it’s not to say “Hi” or ask them how their garden’s doing. You’re writing to them with an offer. How do you want them to respond to that offer? Do you want them to download your white paper? Sign up for a webinar? Purchase a product? Whatever it is, you’d be surprised at the increase in conversion rates simply by having a strong call to action in your email. Tell your audience what you want them to do.
3] What Is Your Ideal Outcome?
In order to experience success, you have to know exactly what that success looks and feels like. You’ve got to see the big picture and define what metrics will determine if your campaign was successful or not.
Some examples of ideal outcomes could be:
For this campaign to be successful, we will receive 3 new consulting contracts.
For this campaign to be a success, we will receive 50 completed lead forms.
For this campaign to be a success, we will generate 600 directory sign ups.
Whatever your ideal outcomes are, just make sure you quantify this in numbers so that it is measurable.
Be sure to come back and check out Part II of this series where we’ll take a look at incentivizing your campaigns and discovering where your greatest marketing success to date has come from.
4] How do you plan to get your site visitors to complete the desired action?
In this life if you want to get something, it’s usually a good idea to give something first. The same can be said for your email marketing campaigns. We’ve already discussed the importance of having a strong call to action – this is where we get something we want from our readers.
But what are you prepared to give them in return? As business owners, we can believe our products and services are the prize, but often our customers need an extra incentive to bite.
Are you offering them a free gift? A free ebook or white paper they can download? Maybe the incentive is in the form of a discount. Offering extra incentives can have a positive effect on your conversion rates.
5] Where Have You Seen Your Greatest Marketing Success?
You often hear personal development gurus proclaim the futility of focusing on the past, but with digital marketing, focusing on the past is a sure way to create successful futures.
Ask yourself where your past marketing successes have come from? What audiences responded the most favorably, and what offers have done well? Steal from your own past successful campaigns and create new ones with the same strategies in mind. And as always, look for ways to improve upon your strategies.
6] When Will You Launch Your Campaign?
Deadlines are fantastic for making us stay on track and I highly suggest you pick a launch date for your email campaign so you have something to aim for. This date will be of particular help to you if you’re overseeing a team of outsourced workers that may be designing some creative elements of your campaign.
In the 3rd and final part of this series we’ll explore a few more key ways you can develop a solid and actionable email marketing plan that will set your campaigns apart.
7] Will You Use HTML or TEXT?
There are two varying schools of thought on which format is the best to send to your list. But the truth is, each format serves its own purpose and can have a tremendous effect on certain audiences.
One of the reasons many marketers choose to send plain Text email is because that is how we communicate with our friends and family. We don’t send emails in colorful templates that break up the page into readable snippets, like in a magazine. We just type simple message to each other. Using this format can be a good thing because it makes your brand both familiar and familial to your readers.
So who should use HTML formatted emails then? Any business who finds it necessary to brand communication with customers. With HTML you can use company colors and your logo; and also include bold and colorful images – which might be good if you are a florist or a baker, or in an industry where pictures sell as much as anything else.
At the end of the day it all comes down to your subscribers – what would they respond to the most? That should be your main question in determining which format is best suited for your campaigns.
8] What Will Your Copy Say?
You know who your target audience is, you know what your call to action will be and you know the desired outcome. Great. But now comes the time when you actually have to put digital pen to digital paper and speak to them.
Should your email have a formal or informal tone? Should it be long or short? Get right to the point or have a bit of a tease? Again, in order to craft the best copy, you must go back and think of that ideal customer. How do they want to be spoken to? How do they prefer to ingest information? Will they respond to humor or not take you seriously if your content is light?
What we can say for sure is that your copy should absolutely not be hypey or gimmicky. People these days see right through that. Be honest and transparent with a great offer that will add value to your reader’s life and you are more than halfway there.
9] What Is Your Budget?
When planning any marketing campaign you need to decide what your budget is going to be. When doing so, take the following into consideration:
Have you built your own list or will you be renting a list of subscribers? If you’ll be renting, keep in mind that the average minimum fee to rent a permission-based list is $1,500 -$2,000.
You’ll also need to decide if you will require any email creative. For instance, if you need html formatting that cannot be done in house, or if you will be hiring a professional copy writer.
And lastly, remember to figure in a developer for your landing page which is where you will be sending the people who click on your link within the email. There are many freelancer sites online where you can hire someone at a reasonable rate to create your pages for you.
If your budget is $1,000 or less, then I recommend looking for ways to build your own list to market to.
If you’re getting ready to launch an email campaign, take some time first to develop a plan using all of the points we’ve covered in this 3-Part series.
Jason is a Web Marketing consultant and the CEO and founder of Digital Harvest, a Tampa-based marketing firm that helps companies increase their online exposure and generate more business.