How to Create an Email Marketing Strategy


Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for online businesses.

When a contact signs up for your email list, they’re opening the door for ongoing communication. They’re inviting your company into their inbox — allowing you to educate them about your products and services.

Email is one of the few marketing channels online businesses can use to build authentic connections with customers. And it often outperforms other marketing channels: Email is 40X more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined for customer acquisition.

Beyond just attracting new customers, though, email marketing also allows you to sell to them in a personalized way. Let’s dig into how you can start creating a solid email marketing strategy.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the longest-standing forms of digital marketing. It’s the process of sending targeted messages to your past, present, and potential customers.

It’s a great way to get customers more familiar with your business. As you build relationships with your contacts, you can use personalized emails to move them along their buying journey as well as turn one-time buyers into repeat customers.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool to grow your business.

Email for marketing strategy

Create an email for marketing strategy in 5 Steps

Creating an email marketing strategy may appear like a daunting task. You have to start an email list and figure out a way to bring contacts in. Then, of course, plan out what you’re actually going to send them.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but creating an email for marketing strategy is a lot simpler than you might think. 

Let me walk you through the process in just five steps. Use this email marketing strategy template to begin building your own.

Email marketing strategy

1. Choose Your Email Marketing Tools

The first step is to choose your email marketing automation tool. I personally recommend ActiveCampaign because it’s an easy-to-use, intuitive software that integrates well with other tools you might need down the line.

Your marketing automation tool will store all of your contact information and allow you to automate your email campaigns.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Knowing your audience is key to developing an effective email marketing strategy. You can create a buyer persona to fully identify your target customer: Map out their demographics, interests, and pain points.

Your audience will determine the types of email campaigns you’re sending. It’ll also determine the types of opt-ins you’ll create to entice contacts to subscribe to your list. Many marketers skip this important first step, and it’s the No. 1 reason why their marketing automations fail.

3. Create Your Opt-Ins

Your opt-ins are the consent forms you’ll use to convert readers into subscribers. Your opt-in could be a form asking readers to sign up for your newsletter, or it could be an offer for a free resource they’ll receive after signing up.

The latter is an efficient way to grow your list because you’re promising contacts free, valuable content in return. You could offer a downloadable template or ebook, for example, that speaks to a particular pain point.

4. Organize Your Contacts

Next, you’ll decide how you’ll want to organize your contacts. ActiveCampaign allows you to group contacts into different categories with “tags.”

This is called email segmentation. When you break your email list into sub-groups depending on people’s demographics or interests, you’re able to send them more personalized emails. Segmented email campaigns achieve 14.31% higher open rates than non-segmented campaigns, therefore increasing customer engagement.

For example, if a contact signs up for your list through an opt-in offering an e-book about email marketing strategy, you could add a “tag” that demonstrates they’re interested in the topic of email marketing.

ActiveCampaign lists are segmented with tags and custom fields.

5. Define Your Email Content

What kind of messages will you send to your email list to keep contacts engaged? A few of the most common email campaigns are newsletters, special offers, and automated emails meant to move contacts along their buying journey.

Your email content could include business updates, new blog posts, and industry news round-ups that you will create with the email templates available in your email software.

4 Communication Types That Help Segment Your Email List

When you’re first creating your email for marketing strategy, you will likely be sending emails to your entire list. These are called broadcast emails because they’re reaching a large group of people at the same time.

At a minimum, broadcast emails should be sent once a week to keep your contacts engaged. Ideally, you would begin to segment your list based on your contacts’ interactions with these weekly emails.

Again, a major benefit of email marketing is being able to personalize your customer emails. Personalized emails drive more engagement than general broadcast emails — and increasing customer engagement was the top goal for 58% of marketers surveyed by Instapage.

By stacking communication types on top of each other and allowing contacts to pick and choose their preferences, you will allow them to self-segment. You can use the following communication types to achieve this:

Email marketing strategy template

Weekly VIP Updates

These emails will link to high-value blog content, podcasts, categorized or published articles. The goal is to get contacts to open and click on them. The contacts who engage with these emails should be segmented into “weekly” and “engaged contacts.”

Email marketing strategy example

Monthly VIP Updates

Monthly email updates can include a summary of the top content for the month or a round-up of industry insights. The goal here is to get contacts to open and click on your emails. When they do, they’ll be catergorized as “monthly” and “engaged contacts.”

Email marketing strategy example

Special Offers and Promotions

These communications will contain an offer geared toward a small segment of your list to generate conversions. For example, it might be an upsell for contacts who didn’t purchase the first time around. These contacts would fall under those interested in “special offers and promotions.”

Email marketing template example

Customer-Only Communications

Customer-only emails should include high-value content tailored for existing customers, such as important course updates. The purpose here is to get contacts to open and click on your emails, or make a purchase if a special offer is sent. These contacts would be tagged under “customer-only communication.”

Email marketing template example

Still Find Email Marketing Overwhelming?

I get it. Email marketing can take a lot of time and effort. If email isn’t your strong suit, I’m here to help.

The Content Workflow Design Course helps you streamline your content marketing processes so that things like email marketing become simple, doable tasks.

My course will help you create a clear strategy for content management, develop team processes for managing content, and show you how to use a content management system to stay on top of it all.

Interested in learning more? Let’s chat!

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