How to create an email marketing plan you actually stick to
Email marketing and plan. Three words that seem to strike terror in the hearts of small business owners.
But what if I told you I can help you create a plan that you will stick to? One that will benefit your business and help you find new and repeat business?
Got your attention? Right, dear reader, let’s get this started with why you might be putting it off. Then, I’m going to give you the lowdown on how to make it happen this year.
The best thing? Once you’ve done it, you can use the process every year. Bonus!
Oops, that fell off my plan!
How many times have you planned to do something, with every good intention of sticking to it? Sound familiar? Yeah, me too!
In fact, if you have made New Year’s resolutions, did you know that only a small percentage of people feel that they achieved them? By the time we get to February, 80% of us will feel we’ve failed!
So, when it comes to putting in the time needed to create an email marketing plan for your business, it’s very easy to get distracted by the day-to-day things you need to get done.
But what about all that time you spent growing your list? You don’t want that to do to waste, do you?
Why might your good email marketing intentions fail?
Here are a few reasons why email marketing could fall of your list.
- You haven’t taken the time to create a plan to give you structure.
- Creating that plan seems very time-consuming. You’ve started but give up too soon because you’ve forgotten how much impact email marketing has on your business and (this bit is important) getting repeat business.
- You’ve done the hard work of creating a plan, but then it goes out of the window when things change. (Remember 2020 and how much chopping and changing we all had to do?)
If this sounds familiar, then here’s what I advise.
Minal’s Tip: Limit yourself to 15 minutes
I can imagine at this point you’re thinking “Is that it?” Well, yes, really. Because half the battle of getting this done is the prospect of starting. Amiright?
So, let’s get this done 15 minutes at a time. That’s not a lot of time, right? You can find 15 minutes and doing it this way makes it less daunting. Put a timer on if you need to.
First thing’s first
Get a piece of paper, a wall planner, or however else you like to plan. Then, plot out the dates in the year that are relevant for your business.
For example, if you make and sell chocolates:
February: Valentine’s Day
March: Mother’s Day
Once you’ve done this, take a break. Go put the kettle on or do another task. Come back to your plan when your head is clear, and you have another 15 minutes.
Breaking up your planning into these chunks will help you get it done. You won’t feel under pressure to get it done in one go.
Marketing isn’t a tap you turn on when you need sales
Have you heard me say this before? You should be marketing your business All. The. Time. That means being consistent.
So, you have the times of the year you really want to communicate with your audience. Now you need to turn that into regular emails.
If you have gaps in certain months, when you have fewer things happening, why not pick other dates you can hook your message on to?
Awareness Days are a great way to do this. You don’t have to have all the details now – you can figure that out as the months approach.
And this type of content is great for social media as well as email marketing.
It’s all in the plan, Stan
I don’t know about you, but if I write things down, they tend to get done. And it’s backed up by research, which proves that you’re more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down!
Make sure you consistently send out emails to your list by plotting it all out in a calendar. I use an online calendar called TeamUp. It’s useful if you need to share marketing information with others.
Otherwise, use what you feel most comfortable with. This needs to work for you, so stick to what you know you will use.
Once you have all notable dates in your calendar, work backwards from there and work out the campaigns (emails) you want to send.
Putting in this time means that when it’s time to put together your email, you’ll know exactly what the content should be. No time wasted thinking about what you should type. You just do it and get that email out to your list.
How does it work in reality?
Let’s go back to the chocolate business. They are planning their Valentine’s promotion. Working back from 14 February, this might look something like:
Send your last chance to order email 1-2 days before the last posting date.
Send a reminder email a week before Valentine’s Day.
Send your announcement email two weeks before Valentine’s Day.
Remember, don’t try to do this in one go. Take those 15-minute blocks and do as much as you can in that time. Break up your planning into more manageable chunks.
Don’t let that plan slip!
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that plans change. We all had to adapt to different ways of doing business, which meant we had to adapt our marketing plans.
Just because you wrote down a plan doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. You can change and adapt it to the circumstances your business is facing.
That’s why it’s good to review your plan regularly to see if the campaigns you’ve planned still meet your major business goals.
Whether you want to generate sales or boost event registrations, keep your eye on the prize… your bottom line! Ensure the marketing you do feeds into these goals – this is really important. If your marketing doesn’t result in making you money, something isn’t working quite right.
See, planning isn’t so bad!
I hope I’ve shown you that planning doesn’t have to be a headache. Taking it step-by-step and breaking it down into manageable chunks will help you get it done.
Don’t leave your success this year to chance. No winging it. Get those 15 minutes in your calendar and create a winning email marketing plan for your business. I promise it will work.
Get started today
If you’re not already using email marketing, I can really recommend Constant Contact. It’s very easy to use, and it has a built-in calendar, so you can plan out the emails you want to send. Plus, it has lots of other useful digital marketing tools. Check it out today!
Feel like you need a bit more help?
I’m hosting a webinar on 17 February called Email Marketing Quickstart. Why don’t you book your place today? Once you’ve got your plan, you’ll need to know what to do next!