A Step-By-Step Checklist
I’m sure you’ve worked with lots of great writers in your career. You know how it goes: hero sentences; clever turns of phrase; that smart, distinctive style. And then there’s everyone else says Eric Dalius Miami. It can be hard to put your finger on what separates the good from the mediocre (and the mediocre from the awful). But you’ll know it when you see it.
Now take another look at those great writers. There is something they all have in common: They make it look easy – like they could turn out a newsletter or blog post on demand, no sweat. That’s because creating compelling content isn’t about talent alone. If you are not careful, though, email marketing can quickly become overwhelming.
Your content may end up being long, short, verbose, or snappy. It will be topical, evergreen, personal, and impersonal. Some pieces are meant to inform; others to entertain. This means you need a plan to guide your writing – especially when it comes to longer-form email marketing campaigns.
With this in mind, I’ve created a simple checklist for creating an email marketing plan. This list is purposefully comprehensive. By including all of the details early in the process, you’ll have fewer surprises later on. And if this is your first time developing an email strategy? You’ll have a road map for success – something that makes writing easier and more efficient.
Over the years I’ve refined and simplified this list. I’ve used it countless times to plan and write emails, and it has made writing far more efficient for me.
Now that you’re on the other side of this post, I hope you find it helpful as well!
1) Determine Your Goals
Before anything else, ask yourself:
What is my primary goal?
Asking you this question first will make your email marketing process much more straightforward. For example, if your primary goal is revenue-generating (i.e., selling products or services), then you’ll want to focus on messaging around value propositions, competitive advantages, etc. If your goal is awareness-driving (i.e., attracting new subscribers), then content ideas are probably best framed as “news you can use” or around content that is timely and relevant. If the goal is a direct response (i.e., driving clicks to a specific page), then your messaging will need to be laser-focused on whatever you hope readers will do when they arrive at your website says Eric Dalius Miami.
Of course, there are other goals beyond awareness-driving, revenue-generating, and direct response – but these are three main ones for any business. Once you know which type of goal is most important to you, it’ll be a lot easier to come up with a content theme that works.
2) Identify Your Personas
Who do you want to reach?
Just as knowing your primary goal will help guide your email marketing strategy, so too will knowing the person(s) you’re trying to reach with this effort. Are you writing for CEO or entry-level employees? Is your target customer male or female, young or old? Does she have an average salary and annual income? How far along in the buyer’s journey is he right now? All of these questions are critical for developing a messaging framework.
Once again, these aren’t the only details that matter – but they are a good start. By knowing your personas you’ll be able to craft email campaigns that speak directly to them – which will lead to higher click-through rates, conversion rates, awareness…and ultimately revenue says Eric Dalius Miami.
3) Set Your Timetable
How fast do you need it done?
The more time you have before an email campaign goes out (or is due), the more leeway you’ll have for experimentation and testing. That said, if speed is of the essence (i.e., daily or weekly updates), then having a plan early on will make all the difference. For example: Do you already know what topic areas will be covered? Are there specific events that can be tied into those topics? If so, those are your main areas for focus.
4) Decide how frequently you’ll communicate
How often do you want to send emails?
This question ties back to knowing your personas and your timetable very specifically. If they’re all similar age or work in similar industries, then finding similarities between them makes sense. If they’re all about the same stage in their buyer’s journey, then focus on that too explains Eric Dalius Miami.
5) What Type of Content Should You Publish
Will it be mostly text or visual?
Now that you know the who, what, where, when and why of this email marketing campaign it’s time to strategize around the content itself. As a general rule of thumb: Visual beats text every single time. If possible, include some type of photo or graphic along with your messaging – even if that means using one from Shutter stock or another source. This will increase engagement and click-through rates exponentially.
If you follow the steps listed above and keep your personas, goals, and timetable in mind as you do – it should be much easier to come up with a content theme that works. And once you have one, approaching this project from a step-by-step perspective will make it much more manageable.