Email Marketing Plan Overview

Recently I was asked to write an email marketing plan for someone who’s client was a “non-techie” and it needed to be only an overview of how it would go together. I decided to share the overview with you, in case you don’t have one already. I’ve made some minor changes to keep it more generic, but it’s pretty much all there. This is a “tried and true” model. Your success with it depends on many factors, but the model itself works.

Now before we begin, I know many of you will claim that “social media” is the be-all-end-all of all things marketing, but it’s not. It’s an important part of any marketing toolkit, but it is not the only tool. An email marketing plan is what I was asked for, an email marketing plan is what I gave them.

Always give the customer what they want, not what you want.

So without further ado, here’s a basic email marketing plan:

THE most important part of a marketing plan

The most important part of any marketing plan is deciding on how to keep in touch with the people whom you know to be interested in what you have to say. In the case of a blog or any other kind of website, this is often best accomplished through an email list.

In order to get people to sign up for your list you need to offer something of value. The offer can be either free, or at a very low cost (anywhere from $1.00 to no more than $10.00).

Here are our recommendations:

Create, or obtain, something of value to give away.

This doesn’t have to be very complex, something as simple as “10 Tips for Purchasing Antique Quilts” or “3 Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Used Car”. The topic isn’t really important as long as it is relevant to your site and offers to be something of value to the readers.

Alternatively, rather than giving them a report or an ebook to download, you could take your offering and break it up into parts and make it a limited email series. In the examples above your “10 Tips” would become 10 emails with each tip being one email. This gives you 10 emails and it also becomes the offering. Similarly, the “3 Tips” would become 3 emails.

Give it to people in exchange for their email address.

This provides you with a list of people you can contact on a regular basis whom you already know are interested in the information you offer. They enter their email, you give them whatever it is you were offering.

This is best done with an autoresponder service (an email service). We recommend either Aweber or GetResponse. We’ve used both and they tend to be similar in price and features.

Update: For a cheaper entry point, check out Feedblitz

There is one advantage to selling your offer for a very low cost over giving it away free: your email list fills up with people who are known to be willing to spend money as opposed to those who are only “tire kickers”.

There is no “right or wrong” when it comes to offering a freebie over selling a very low cost offering, it’s really up to you as to how you want to do it.

Write to your list regularly.

Frequency, though important, isn’t as important as consistency. If you are going to write once a week, make sure you write every week. If you’re going to write once a month, write every month. The people on your list will adapt to expect your emails at regular intervals.

If you only provide information “once in a while” then people will most likely not think of you when they need the services or products that you provide, or worse, they may forget about you altogether and mark your email as SPAM and too many of those can get you into trouble with your autoresponder service.

Write informative information.

Your emails can be short or they can be long, but they should be useful and/or interesting. For example, “10 Tips for Keeping Your Lawn Weed Free”.  and “How I Accidentally Killed My Neighbor’s Lawn” are both fine for the home and garden topic. It should be pretty obvious that you don’t need to do a “list” of tips for every email, it’s just an easy example to use.

If you’re doing commercial real estate for example, your emails could be about the latest tax changes or regulation changes that affect commercial property. The emails don’t have to be directly about your topic. As long as your email is related to your topic you can write about it. So with my commercial real estate example, if you have a topic that applies to both residential and commercial real estate, then it’s a valid topic.

An occasional “off topic” email, such as announcing the birth of a grandchild for example, is usually okay provided the off-topic emails only happen once in a while.

In Summary

Like I said, it was an overview for someone who isn’t a techie, and doesn’t want to be. Have your topic, get or create your offering, set up an autoresponder, write consistently and make sure they are relevant and useful emails.

– Jeffery

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