64% of social markets say that social, email, and content marketing saw an increase in performance during the pandemic.
Email marketing may seem like an easy strategy, but doing it right comes down to one pesky thing: organization.
Without proper planning, emails may not go out to the right people (or at all), content may be duplicated, and too many or too few emails may be sent. This sort of chaos-in-your-inbox tends to lead to a dwindling subscriber count.
Similarly, if you don’t manage your email list properly, the wrong email content might get sent to the wrong target audience, or worse. So many things can go wrong without proper email marketing planning.
The solution? An email marketing calendar! All of your organizational problems will disappear when you can visualize how to tie your email marketing efforts into your broader marketing goals. So, where do you start?
The Ideal Email Marketing Calendar
Any good email marketer knows that you need integration across marketing channels to catch your customers everywhere they are. To accomplish that, look for an intuitive and reliable email calendar that integrates with your overall marketing calendar.
It should be accessible to all relevant members of your marketing team, as well as leadership and sales. Your organization needs to keep abreast of your email campaign, so they can prepare accordingly.
It should allow for automation. and for you to easily put together emails from available content.
Too many companies rely on products like Google sheets to create their email calendar. In the beginning, this might appear to work just fine, but as things ramp up, you’ll rapidly hit its limitations.
Welcome provides all of these features. Our calendar templates also allow you to create multiple marketing calendars that are easily integrated, allowing you to use calendars for all of your marketing purposes, including email.
How to Use Welcome to Create an Email Marketing Calendar
Welcome offers templates for both annual campaign calendars and team calendars. You can use team calendars to manage collaboration and keep everyone on the same page.
So, how do you get started using one of Welcome’s email marketing calendar templates to benefit your marketing plan?
Go to the team calendars section. Team calendars include editorial and social media calendars, among others. Your email calendar is a communications calendar; unlike an editorial calendar, which ensures content is created, it ensures that content is distributed.
Add your existing, regular email communications, like a monthly or weekly newsletter. It’s important to be consistent in your email communications; it helps to hold customer interest.
Integrate your email marketing calendar with your other communications calendars. The software will color code the items to make them more visible.
Set up a meeting with your marketing team and other stakeholders, including sales and leadership. Use this meeting as a brainstorming session to plan an email schedule.
Populate your calendar with the email blasts decided on during your brainstorming meeting. Include planned releases, seasonal sales/flash sales, marketing events, and holidays like Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day.
If you have multiple email marketing campaigns or lists, repeat this until you have an email calendar for each segment of your email marketing strategy. You can use the combined view to see them all at once, ensuring that you send the right content to the right target audience.
Each member of the team should have access to the calendar and know how to use it. A calendar only works if everyone uses it correctly, after all.
Once you start using Welcome, it will show you data on open rates and unsubscribes. Tweak the calendar as your campaign progresses, so that you get the most out of every email you send.
How to Use Your Email Calendar
You can switch your email calendar between two modes: planning and publishing.
In the publishing view, you can see what you have published in the past and easily check metrics to evaluate the strategy’s success (or abandon a strategy that isn’t working out).
The planning view focuses on upcoming content and emails. Keeping a close eye on scheduled content can help you avoid tone-deaf mistakes, like sending a windy day-themed promotional email right after a tornado wipes out half a subdivision (it happens!).
You can also move items using drag-and-drop and propagate items across multiple communications and content calendars.
For example, if you plan to use the same content for an email and a Facebook post, you can easily copy it to both calendars. Similarly, you can and should move items to a different email calendar if you realize you have them targeted to the wrong audience. Oh, the wonders of integration!
Your email marketing calendar is a key part of your cross-channel marketing efforts. Cross-link it to the social media calendar and others, depending on the audience segment and where that audience is in the buyer’s journey.
Make sure you integrate with your editorial calendar, as well. The email calendar tells you when content goes out, but the editorial calendar ensures that that content is ready for public consumption.
Finally, make sure that your sales team is connected to your calendars. They should be aware of email blasts, so they can be ready to deal with an influx of inquiries.
If your sales team isn’t fully aware of your calendar, they may not be ready to handle the business your efforts bring in. You don’t want to send out an email blast, only to learn that sales left early for happy hour. (At least not without inviting you…)
Your Marketing Calendar Checklist
So, what exactly does your email marketing calendar need to make sure everything goes out when it is supposed to? Here is a simple checklist:
For each campaign:
- When should email blasts go out? If the campaign crosses audience segments, then make sure to integrate your calendars, so customers don’t receive two emails five minutes apart.
- When is the key date for the campaign? This might be the release date of the new product or a holiday you want to capitalize on. For example, the key date for a fall campaign might be Halloween, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday. Track important dates so that you can use them appropriately.
- Which audience segment or segments is this going out to? In the example above, you might decide that your Halloween campaign is best targeted to both occasional and regular, existing customers.
Create each campaign’s email marketing calendar with this in mind, and then compare it to others. Again, you don’t want to saturate your audience with rapid-fire emails (it is sometimes, but not always, possible to combine emails for specific segments. But this can muddy the waters).
Look at what has worked in the past to determine the optimal email frequency, as well as content-specific details such as subject lines.
For each email:
- Use the information gathered above to establish the optimum time to send it.
- Establish which email content you’ll use and ensure that it’s on the editorial calendar so it will be completed in time.
Our email marketing calendar and integrated marketing communications software will make sure that you add all the required data to each email blast. This includes:
- The date on which you plan to send out the content.
- Which list segments it is going out to.
- The content of each email.
- Who needs to sign off on the content.
- The content itself, including the subject line. Subject lines are very important.
Easy, right? It doesn’t take a lot, but by the end, you will have an email marketing calendar that suits your team’s specific needs and a lot of it only has to be done once.
Once it’s integrated with your editorial calendar, sit back and watch the emails roll out! Welcome will automatically send content through its workflow, from creation to approval.
Oh, and we also have a marketing asset management system that stores and deploys content modules, such as logos and standard introductions. Just a little something extra to aid your content marketing strategy.
Is an Email Marketing Calendar “Set and Forget?”
Absolutely not! Once you’ve set up your campaign and then put together a full email marketing calendar for it, you need to continue to monitor and tweak it.
We already talked about tornados. You don’t want your prescheduled, prewritten content to suddenly appear tone-deaf, out of touch, or, worse, offensive.
Or, you might have a schedule set before the previous campaign’s metrics indicate that your strategy isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. The most successful email marketing campaigns rely on up-to-date information and agility at every step of the process.
With integrated software like Welcome, you can rapidly check the pulse of your campaigns and work out when an email blast was particularly successful, when it did not work, or if it triggered unsubscribes.
Everyone on your team should be ready to suggest changes to the calendar based on past metrics, the news, or new information that might relate to the brand or campaign. Fortunately, Welcome lets you simply drag items to different dates or times or flag them for attention as needed.
You need an integrated marketing strategy, and your email calendar is key. Even if you’re unsure of the value of email blasts, email marketing is still highly effective, especially to existing customers.
With Welcome, you can get those emails out on time, automate parts of your workflow, and integrate all of your marketing calendars so that you can plan better campaigns and understand their impact.
Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account and find out how an email marketing calendar can make your campaigns pop!