Want to make the most out of your email marketing strategy?
The first step is often getting the timing right with an email editorial calendar.
Sending emails at the right moments, at the correct frequency, makes a huge difference to how your customers feel about you. If you send your emails too often, you risk annoying your clients and chasing them away from your business. Send messages at the wrong time, or not often enough, and your customers will miss your content and forget about you.
An editorial calendar is the tool that modern email marketing teams use to stay ahead of the curve.
Today, we’re going to show you how you can create your own effective editorial calendar.
Why Use an Email Editorial Calendar?
Email editorial calendars allow you to categorize your content according to its purpose, plan their objectives, and choose sending times of frequencies that make sense. Rather than simply sending messages on an ad-hoc basis, you organise your content flow based on things like seasonality, and timing. The result is:
- Better content flow: An email editorial calendar allows you to determine when you should be sending different promotions and messages out to get the best response from your audience. This improves your chances of nurturing leads into buyers.
- Improved team management: If you need help from graphic designers, content creators and other pros in your team, an editorial calendar will help to keep everyone on the same page. This means you’re less likely to have to run around arranging things at last minute.
- Stronger responses to regular events: While some of your emails will need to be off-the-cuff, since you can’t predict everything that might happen in your world, some things happen every year. Seasonal sales and events are things you can plan far in advance. This means that you can start getting the word out about upcoming sales before they happen and improve your chances of audience engagement.
The more you plan your email solutions in advance, the more time you’re going to have during these campaigns to pay attention to things like customer response rates and conversions too. This could mean that you make more intelligent real-time decisions about marketing.
How to Create Your Email Calendar
Now you know why an email calendar is important, let’s look at how you can create one.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are different kinds of emails. Some of the messages you send, like transactional emails informing someone about their purchase, or business announcements, aren’t really suitable for advanced planning.
Your editorial email calendar is there to give you a general idea of what your email schedule is going to look like. You can then fill in the gaps with the other ad-hoc content you need.
Step 1: Define a Timescale
First, decide what you’re going to accomplish with your calendar. Often, it’s best to plan a few months of email marketing campaigns at once, rather than an entire year. This gives you more flexibility to adjust to changes in the marketplace. Plus, it means that you can take the information you get from your email campaigns and use it to improve future strategies.
Decide what kind of time scale makes sense for your company. Some brands will simply fill their editorial calendar for one month at a time, focusing on one specific promotion at a time. This makes sense if a lot of your emails are based on what’s happening in the moment.
Decide on the major points in your calendar when you need to generate hype. For instance, if you want to create excitement about a sale that starts at the beginning of a month, you’ll need to start promoting the month before.
Step 2: Define Your Audiences
You should have your email list already split into segments based on a range of factors, like their buying preferences, location, and other details. Look at your audiences and ask yourself how the email calendar may need to adapt for each segment.
For instance, if you give your customers the option to choose what kind of content they receive from you, you may have a group of people who only want to receive promotional emails about sales. If that’s the case, you can simply duplicate your standard content calendar for this group and remove anything that isn’t promotional content.
If you’re creating different content for your audience based on their location or gender, think about how you can plan for this in advance. For instance, could you have one sales promotion email that showcases men’s shoes, and another that showcases women’s shoes, for different groups? Just because you’re planning your campaigns in advance doesn’t mean you can slack on personalization.
Step 3: Choose Your Content
Now that you know what your scope is and who your audience is, you can begin to choose the content that’s most suitable for your customers. The idea here should be to focus heavily on the content that generates the most attention from your target audience. You can find which kinds of messages your segments respond best to by checking the analytics within your email marketing software.
If one segment in your audience responds best to content about your latest products, think about how you can generate excitement about a new line, or collection.
You might start with an email that covers all the new products that you’re introducing this month, and then follow up with some additional content to generate excitement. For instance, maybe you could showcase some new blogs on how to use the products you’re highlighting?
At the end of the month, or in a couple of months’ time you can offer a discount or deal to people who have already showed interest in your new line, making it more likely that they’ll come back and make that final conversion.
Step 4: Assign Responsibilities
Part of the benefit of having an editorial calendar is that it helps to keep all of your employees on track. With that in mind, you’ll need to ensure that everyone involved in this campaign knows their job, and their deadlines. Start by thinking about who you need help from to create the campaign. If you’re creating a visual email showcasing your products, you need your brand photographer and graphic designer to work together long before the email is due.
If you have a copywriter on hand to help with writing content that’s going to convert your audience, they’ll need to see the graphical content, so they can build words around it. There still needs to be time left over after they’re done for editors and experts to take a closer look at the email and make sure there are no mistakes.
If possible, it might be a good idea to have a marketing manager, or someone similar on hand who can go over all of your content before it goes out through your email marketing software. Once everything has been double-checked and approved, they can arrange the content stream through your email automation service.
Step 5: Track Results
Finally, with an editorial calendar, you open more time up in your schedule to really optimize and enhance your emails. When everyone knows what they’re doing, and when they should be doing it, you should notice that your email campaigns begin to run more smoothly. You might even be able to plan multiple campaigns in advance, so you can spend more of your marketing time on other things, like creating content to share through your emails.
Another bonus of having a content calendar, is that it allows you to get everything set up within your email marketing solution, so you can conduct tests and learn from your campaigns. Make sure that you have the right analytics solutions in place to keep a close eye on how people are responding to your messages.
You might decide to A/B test different cadences when it comes to figuring out how often to send emails, or how quickly to send one after another. When you have a proper plan in place, its much easier to conduct these tests in a way that isn’t going to disrupt your business.
An editorial email calendar is a valuable tool in your email marketing strategy. Just like any kind of planning solution, it allows you to get one step ahead of your customers, so you can help to nurture them throughout their buying journey.
As you continue to use your editorial calendars to plan, schedule and promote content, you should also notice that you discover new ways to optimize your time. You might find a way to align your social media and email content calendars, so that you can promote social competitions in your emails. Or you could link your content marketing calendar to your email schedule, so you can build campaigns around newly released infographics, case studies, and blogs.
Good luck planning a stronger content strategy.