How To Make An Email Marketing Calendar For
One of the most common email marketing mistakes today is sending emails at the wrong time. If you don’t have a plan and just write your emails as you go, you’re bound to make this mistake.
And it can have really bad consequences.
For one, your email click rates and open rates would drop.
What’s more, if you have a lot of unsubscribers and spam complaints, your email sender reputation could also take a hit. And that could lead to even more permanent damage to your ability to run an email marketing campaign.
This is why an email marketing calendar is a must for any SaaS business that is using email as one of its digital marketing channels.
In this article, we will talk about the email marketing calendar and everything you need to know to create one.
What Is An Email Marketing Calendar?
An email marketing calendar is, quite simply, a schedule of when you will send out your email campaigns.
This includes the frequency of email sends, content themes, target audiences, and other important aspects of your email campaign.
We will discuss those elements in more detail later on.
Why Is An Email Marketing Calendar Important?
There are several reasons why an email marketing calendar is so important. Here are just a few:
It Helps You Schedule & Automate Your Email Campaign
If you can set up your email campaigns in advance, they will go out automatically on the days and times that you have scheduled them.
This can be a huge time-saver, especially if you have a lot of different email campaigns to manage.
And it can help to ensure that your email campaigns are going out on a regular basis, which is vital for maintaining a good email sender reputation.
It Helps You Send Timely Emails
By planning your email content in advance, you can make sure that your emails are always timely and relevant to your target audience.
For example, let’s say you know that you’re going to be launching a new SaaS product in a few months. You can start emailing your list about it well in advance.
That way, when the product is finally launched, your email subscribers will already be familiar with it and more likely to buy it.
What’s more, an email marketing calendar can help you send relevant seasonal emails, such as ones for holidays and special days of the year.
It Helps You Coordinate Your Email Marketing With Other Marketing Channels
An email marketing calendar can also help you make your email marketing work well with other marketing channels, such as social media or content marketing.
For example, if you are running a sale on your website, you can use your email marketing calendar to schedule email campaigns that promote the sale.
At the same time, you are also announcing it through your social media marketing platforms.
This can be a great way to boost your sales and get more people to visit your website.
Elements Of An Email Marketing Calendar
Now that we’ve talked about what an email marketing calendar is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at some of the key elements that should be included in yours.
A thorough email marketing calendar would have the following:
Campaign name: This is simply the name of your email campaign.
Campaign goal: What is the purpose of this email campaign? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or increase sales?
Team members in charge: Who among your email marketing team will be responsible for creating and sending out this email campaign?
Campaign status: Is this email campaign still about to start, in progress, or already complete?
Email status: How about the email itself? Is it already written? Scheduled? Sent? Or is it still on the planning stages?
Email types: What type of email will you be sending? This could be a newsletter, promotional email, transactional email, etc.
Target email list: Who are you targeting with this campaign? Is it all of your subscribers or just a particular segment?
Email topic: What is the email going to be about?
Draft subject line: What is the working subject line for this email?
Link to the content brief: Where can I find more information about the email content?
Necessary tests: Are there any tests that need to be carried out before sending this email? For example, A/B testing.
Send time: The calendar has to contain the send date and time for each email.
Still, you could simplify your email calendar to a few key elements. A simple example of an email marketing calendar template might look something like this:
How To Plan & Execute Your Email Marketing Calendar
Now that you know what an email marketing calendar is and what elements should be included in one, let’s talk about how to go about creating and executing your own email marketing calendar.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Identify your target audience and segments
- Define your goals
- Start by plotting important dates of the year
- Establish the campaign’s sending frequency
- Write your emails in advance
- Schedule your emails and set reminders
- Make sure there are no overlaps in email types
- Monitor your email marketing analytics and optimize accordingly
Let’s go through these steps one by one.
1) Identify Your Target Audience & Segments
As with any form of marketing, the first step is to identify your target audience. This will help you determine to whom you should be sending your email campaigns.
As for your email list segmentation, you can do so based on a lot of different factors. It could be demographic factors, their behavior, or where they are in the SaaS sales funnel.
Let’s take a look at some examples of these factors:
- Education Level
- Engagement level (opens, clicks, etc)
- Purchase history
- Website interactions (pages visited, products viewed, etc)
- Email interactions (opens, clicks, unsubscribes, complaints, etc)
SaaS Sales funnel stages:
- Awareness Stage: Email recipients are not yet familiar with your product or brand.
- Interest Stage: Recipients are interested in your product or brand, but haven’t made a purchase yet.
- Consideration Stage: Recipients are considering buying your SaaS product but are still comparing it with your competitors.
- Decision Stage: Recipients have decided to buy your product.
- Retention Stage: You send this to your existing customers with the objective of retaining them as customers and preventing churn.
Knowing your target audience and email list segments will help you determine the email topic, as well as the email content that you should be sending.
2) Define Your Goals
As we’ve mentioned before, email campaigns should always have a goal. Common email marketing objectives include the following:
- Build Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- Lead Nurturing
- Increase Sales
- Drive Website Traffic
- Build Customer Loyalty
- Reactivate Inactive Customers
- Customer Onboarding
- Upselling or Cross-selling
- Celebrate a Special Occasion
- Recover Abandoned Carts
Knowing your goals will also determine the types of emails you’re going to send and how often you would send them.
3) Start Plotting Important Dates Of The Year
A great way to increase email open rates and engagement is to send email campaigns around special days of the year.
These could be holidays, anniversaries, or even just awareness months.
And when you’re making an email marketing calendar, they’re usually a good start.
After all, they’re on everyone’s calendars already. All you need to do is email your list around those dates.
Some special days include the following:
- Holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Day)
- Valentines Day
- Mothers Day
- Fathers Day
- Independence Day
- Memorial Day
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Earth Day
- International Day For Cats
4) Establish The Campaign’s Sending Frequency
How often should you email your list?
This is a tough question to answer as it depends on a number of factors such as your goal, the email topic, and the email frequency that your audience is comfortable with.
The key here is to not email too frequently that people get annoyed and unsubscribe from your list. But at the same time, don’t email so rarely that people forget who you are.
A good rule of thumb would be to start sending emails every two weeks then gradually turn it up a notch to once a week. But again, it really depends on your specific goals and audience.
5) Write Your Emails In Advance
The email content is arguably the most important part of your email marketing campaign. This is what’s going to dictate whether people will open and engage with your email.
That’s why it’s important to write your emails in advance. This way, you have time to brainstorm email topics that will be relevant and engaging for your audience.
What’s more, it will also give you the time to edit and possibly A/B Test your emails.
6) Schedule Your Emails & Set Reminders
Once you have your email content written out, it’s time to start scheduling your emails.
Depending on your email marketing platform, you can either schedule your email to be sent automatically or manually send it out when the time comes.
If you’re planning on emailing your list more than once, we recommend setting up an email drip campaign. This is where you automate the process of emailing people over a period of time.
7) Make Sure There Are No Overlaps In Email Types
When emailing your list, you want to make sure that there are no email overlaps. This is when people receive more than one email from you on the same day.
For example, let’s say you’re running a Black Friday sale and you send out an email blast about it. But then you also have an email drip campaign going out to people who haven’t bought anything from you yet.
There’s a chance that some of those people might receive both emails on the same day. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can be overwhelming for some recipients and cause them to unsubscribe from your list.
To avoid this, we recommend pausing all other email campaigns (drip campaigns, email blasts, etc.) when you’re running a major email campaign. That way, people only receive one email from you per day.
8) Monitor Your Email Marketing Analytics & Optimize Accordingly
Once you start emailing your list, it’s important to monitor your email marketing analytics.
This will give you insights into how well your email campaign is performing and what areas need improvement.
Some email marketing metrics you should pay attention to include the following:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- Spam report rate
If you see that your email campaign is struggling in any of these areas, make the necessary changes to improve it.
For example, if your open rates are low, try changing up your email subject lines and preview text. Or if your unsubscribe rate is high, try sending fewer emails.
It’s also a good idea to A/B Test different elements of your email campaign to see what works best for your audience.
Final Thoughts About Creating An Email Marketing Calendar
Email marketing can be a great way to connect with your audience and promote your SaaS product. But it’s important to do it right.
One of the wisest things you can do to organize and optimize your email marketing campaign is to have an email marketing calendar.
This will give you a clear overview of your email marketing campaign, and help ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Ultimately, having an email marketing calendar will give you more control over your email campaign.
It makes it easier to make it synergize with your other marketing channels and find new opportunities to engage your target audience.
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