Create an email marketing plan / calendar

1. In a simple slide or document, write down the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that your email marketing campaign will be responsible for achieving, including what metrics should be attained, by what date.

Be sure these goals align with what your Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Executive Offer, and Chief Financial Officer expect from your marketing department. For example, email marketing should nurture 5% of inbound leads or at least 50 users to a free trial, by end of the year.

2. Confirm or request approval from your department head or executive leadership, on your goals and KPIs.

3. Use a spreadsheet template to create a calendar for each month of the year OR each week or day, with larger spaces if you plan to send more frequently.

Alternatively, use a calendar planning tool like DivvyHQ or the calendar tool insight in emfluence Marketing Platform.

4. Type your annual goals at the top of the document, or monthly goals at the top of each month.

5. Plot your company's large events, planned sales, and product launches in the calendar, as well as blog topics by season, and any known social media or brand campaigns.

6. Plot dates for your email marketing campaigns based on the important dates and content in the calendar.

For example, schedule monthly newsletters the week of new product launches or new blog content, or plan to send event invites 1-2 months before an event.

7. Make notes on which audiences or segments should receive which campaigns, in the same line as the scheduled email.

For example, if your inactive audience only receives one email a month and your engaged audience receives 4-5, you can mark the send that is planned for your engaged audience, based on what is likely to be the strongest campaign.

8. If necessary, write on your calendar when you plan to run A/B tests.

For example, if you want to test a day of week for a sales email, choose a sales email that might work to run a 7-way split test, and mark it as your target for the test.

9. Mark down internal due dates on the calendar like days that content will be due, and when proofs are due to your team or supervisor for review.

If you have a larger team where design is kicked off separately from content, mark kickoff dates far enough in advance to hit your deadlines.

10. If you collaborate with your social media team on your overarching content strategy, add their posting topics, content, and dates to this same calendar to align go-live dates.