Getting Started: 5 Tips for Creating an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing

email marketing strategyA comprehensive email marketing strategy consists of a lot of moving parts and resulting to-dos. At any given point, you may be prioritizing tasks such as campaign brainstorming, finalizing design, copywriting, and gaining approvals before pushing that send button. So where do you begin when trying to create an email strategy?

Whether you’re starting from scratch or salvaging a program that’s lost its way, the following tips can help power your strategy so that your email program is time well spent, with a measurable return.

Set and write down (realistic) goals

First, ask yourself what you hope to achieve at a high level with your email program. Do you want your email strategy to a) close xx amount of more sales b) increase brand engagement or c) are you looking at improving specific email delivery or engagement metrics? If the answer is all of the above, make sure you have a goal that specifically covers each point with numbers and timeframes.

After your write down your goals, add in specific tactics that you believe will help achieve those goals, and a method to measure those efforts. Completing this will ensure that your strategy is cemented into your day-to-day and longer term campaigns.

Some examples of email marketing goals might include:

• Grow email list to 1,000 subscribers in one year
• Increase email engagement and click-through rate by 20%

Keep in mind that not every email marketing strategy should have the same goals. For more information on optimizing your entire email program, check out our 2017 A-Z Email Marketing Guide.

Identify your audience

Look over your current email list and try your best to determine where these email addresses came from. Did they already purchase a product or service or have they only downloaded a whitepaper? Those are two different types of customers who should be nurtured differently. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on what ESP you are using.

Ask yourself whether your recipients are appropriately targeted and if they should even be on your email list (it’s ok if the answer is no). Removing unengaged recipients is one of the best ways to keep your email program healthy. This might require more time than you would like, but is truly worth it when executing an effective email marketing strategy.

Once you have an idea of who your audience is, catering content and making strategy decisions becomes more intuitive. For example, for those who have made a small purchase, you may want to nurture them with content that convinces them to buy more or upgrade to a premium service. And for those who have downloaded a whitepaper or case study, you could direct them to additional ones that will push them closer to a possible purchase.

Be intentional and say something valuable

Trillions of emails are sent each year (yes, really)! How will you make sure your message doesn’t get lost? Sending personalized, valuable, and segmented emails is a great way to make sure your recipients want to open your email instead of tossing it in the trash or spam folder. Each email and campaign is a chance to move recipients down the purchasing funnel.

Create an editorial and sending calendar for the year and spend some time each quarter planning out the upcoming months. Review the calendar each quarter and be agile if something changes. Email marketing is a mix of art and science and there’s no “best way” to achieve your goals–it will just take effort and lots of testing.

Evaluate your handiwork

Having a plan and writing down goals is great, but if you’re not looking back to measure your efforts, you won’t be able to improve your strategy. Measure each campaign against consistent variables such as open rates, click-through rates, and list size. For inspiration, learn how SendGrid’s in-house email marketer, Jill Guest, measures success in her campaigns.

If you want to compare your email delivery statistics with others in your industry, check out our 2017 Email Benchmark Report which analyzes all email sent through SendGrid and breaks down performance based on industries and key email engagement metrics.

Don’t overcommit because…sanity

If you’re responsible for more than just email marketing in your position and cover a wider range of marketing responsibilities, you will have to prioritize and weigh quality over everything else. Keep your strategy simple and your content valuable for your subscribers and you will experience progress in your efforts.

Interested in how other email marketing professionals approach their programs? Download our Expert’s Guide to Email Marketing and find out!


More Posts by Kelsey
As content marketing manager at SendGrid, Kelsey oversees all functions of the SendGrid Delivery blog including scheduling, writing, editing, and publishing. Her downtime is dominated by either her mountain bike or skis (depending on current weather forecast)–and mixing up the perfect handcrafted margarita afterward.