Computers and TechnologyDigital Marketing

9 Steps on How to create E-Mail Marketing Calendar

1. Wrap up What you’ve Been Doing

First, did you have any content goals or ideas from last year that you didn’t get to? Decide if they are still relevant, and start your new list with these ideas if so.

2. Evaluate Your Efforts

Evaluate your content. Hopefully, you’re monitoring performance regularly, but if you haven’t been then look at the past six months overall. If you send email newsletters, how did they do? Which topics got the best click-through and open rates? If you write blog posts, which ones got the most traffic? With social media, which posts got the most engagement – shares, likes or comments? Note which topics or techniques you want to carry over into next year.

We’ve found that the most successful content for our customers was timely (related to an upcoming holiday such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day) or helped people in a concrete way (campaigns that highlighted ways to save money were particularly popular).

3. Decide on Your Priorities and Goals

You may want to grow sales by 30 percent. Or gain 200 new customers next year. Whatever your goals are, ask yourself: how can your content help you achieve those goals?

4. Commit to a Schedule

Once you’ve decided what your priorities are, decide what schedule you can reasonably commit to. We’ve found the most success with regularly scheduled email newsletter campaigns for our customers. Two per month is the sweet spot for us, but your publishing schedule will be influenced by your industry and your audience.

Decide what’s sustainable for you: once a week, every other week, or even once a month. Whatever the case is, stick to it.

5. Look at Your Calendar

Now that you know what you can commit to, start scheduling your content for specific days on your calendar. Then you’ll be able to determine how many ideas you’ll need to come up with for the month, quarter or year, depending on how far in advance you want to plan.

Start looking for your own notable dates. Do you have a business anniversary or special event you want to celebrate? Do you have a seasonal sale or offer? Add these to your calendar. You may also want to include general holidays or seasonal ideas if they make sense for your business. For instance, a general contractor could share advice on weatherproofing before winter. A real estate agent might write a newsletter with top spring cleaning tips. Make sure you’re spending most of your time delivering helpful content marketing, not simple self-promotion.

6. Schedule Everything

Start with your publish or send date. Once you have that date, work backward so you know when you need to start. Make sure you give yourself enough time for creation, review, and testing. Testing includes checking images and links, and confirming your content appears the way you want it to across various platforms and email clients.

Also plan around any holidays, birthdays or vacation time when you won’t be working. You’ll need to create and schedule content ahead of time for these cases.

7. Fill in the Gaps

Once you’ve filled in all of your personal, seasonal and holiday ideas for the next year, see how many topics you still need. Hopefully, you have an ongoing idea file, but if not, take a few minutes and brainstorm topics you want to write about, questions your clients always ask you or trends in your industry. Continue until you have enough ideas for your calendar.

Additionally, if you don’t have an idea file, start one. It’s always helpful to have backup ideas in case something doesn’t work out.

8. Add in Social

Whatever formats your primary content takes, you should publicize it on social media. When you’re researching your topic, you will likely run across multiple sources that you don’t use in the content itself. Save them!

9. Make Measuring and Adjusting Part of Your Process

Measurement can be scheduled just like content. You may evaluate your content weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever time frame works for you. Just make sure that you are looking at your efforts regularly, analyzing what’s working and adjusting as necessary.

As a result, you might see that some kinds of content are working really well for you. You may want to then include similar content in the future, replacing other topics. Or, the opposite might be true and you may need to adjust by taking out certain kinds of content. Or you may not be publishing frequently enough, causing a drop in engagement.

If you’re scheduling your content monthly or quarterly, you’ll also need regular times to plan for future topics and publication schedules.

By following these steps, especially regularly evaluating your efforts, you’ll write the best content possible, satisfy your readers and have a rich marketing calendar planned in advance.

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