Successful B2C email marketing requires planning. This article will cover the necessary components of an effective email marketing plan. We’ll discuss the following elements of B2C email marketing strategy:
- Why you need an email marketing strategy
- Critical strategic components to include
- How to develop an email marketing plan
- How to execute on your plan
Launching an email campaign without a plan is like taking a trip without a map. It will take much longer to get where you’re going if you get there at all. In fact, depending on just how little planning takes place, it could be more like taking a trip without knowing where you’re going.
It’s easy for a marketing team to spend a lot of time and money on email marketing without seeing results. Then, it will be difficult for them to determine what went wrong because, in a way, nothing went wrong. They decided to launch an email marketing campaign and they succeeded.
Really they wanted to do more than just launch a campaign, but since the target wasn’t clear the campaign missed the mark.
This email marketing strategy guide is designed to be your GPS. We’ll help you determine where you’re going and how to get there so that you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.
Before we break down the components of a successful B2C email marketing strategy, let’s consider what the word “strategy” really means. After all, it would be difficult to use a map without knowing what a map is.
Strictly speaking, strategies are developed at the organizational level. Taking a broader view, product- or market-level plans could also be considered strategies. But even then, a plan that narrowly addresses the goals and implementation of a single marketing tactic is technically not strategic.
Then, a tactical plan lays out all of the tactics you’ll use to meet strategic goals. Finally, a project plan details how each tactic will be executed.
There are four components to an email marketing strategy: a situation analysis, goals, objectives, and tactics. If you can’t fit them all on one page, you’re probably overthinking it.
- Goals. What will the long-term outcome of your email marketing strategy be if it’s successful?
- Objectives. How will your email marketing program reach that outcome? In other words, what targets do your email marketing campaigns need to hit to make the strategy a success?
- Tactics. What email marketing actions will hit those targets? What audience segments will you target? What messaging will you send each audience? What offers will you send?
Generally, a strategy will have more elements than this, but those elements are irrelevant to a B2C email marketing strategy. For example, you don’t need a vision statement for an email marketing program.
But your email marketing strategy should be aligned with the overall strategy of your organization. In other words, the success of your strategy should drive the success of your company. If your strategy can succeed without making progress on any company-wide objectives, then you should revise it.
Your strategy will primarily depend on your departmental and organizational goals, but there are a few things that every email marketing strategy needs to address.
- Email acquisition. How will you build your email list? There is a wide range of B2C lead generation tactics available. Consider options like lead magnets, website visitor identification, pop-up forms, email retargeting, and offering incentives for new subscribers.
- Email engagement. How will you get subscribers to engage with your emails? One of the most effective ways to do that is through personalization. The types of content you share, how you format it, and when you send it are also important considerations.
- Audience segmentation. Successful email marketing campaigns are personalized and highly relevant to their recipients. Decide what characteristics you’ll use to segment your audience and what campaigns will resonate with each group.
- Content. What sort of content will you share and how will you share it? For example, you might share informational content in a newsletter or a monthly offer exclusive to your email subscribers.
The key to the successful execution of an email marketing strategy is a project plan. Your email marketing plan will:
- Make sure everyone is on the same page
- Hold team members accountable for their responsibilities
- Ensure that your team actually does what it sets out to do
An email marketing plan is what separates your B2C email marketing strategy from a piece of paper in the trash. It differs from a strategic or tactical plan in four ways that make it much more valuable to marketers.
- It will be detailed. A project plan includes all of the details needed to see a project through to the end.
- It will be actionable. The details included in a project plan make it actionable. Everyone will know what to do and when.
- It will be results-driven. Ultimately, all plans should be focused on achieving certain outcomes, but a project plan focuses on the short-term.
- It will be adaptable. Since it focuses on the short-term, a project plan is easy to adapt in response to market feedback and changes in circumstances.
Your email marketing plan should include:
- Key performance indicators. What email engagement metrics (or other results) will you track?
- Short-term objectives. Based on those KPIs, what targets do you need to hit this quarter to drive the success of your overall strategy?
- Tasks. What needs to be done to hit those targets?
- Sub-tasks. What actions are required to complete those tasks?
- Start dates. When will each task begin?
- End dates. When should each task be completed?
- Who’s responsible? Who owns each task and sub-task? One person should own the overall task, but different people may be responsible for each sub-task. It’s the responsibility of the task owner to ensure that each sub-task is completed so that the task can be completed on schedule.
This plan shouldn’t live in a static document. Use Google Sheets or cloud-based project management software like Airtable or Monday so each member of your team can update their progress. That way everyone can see what’s going on and you can review critical items and roadblocks during your meetings.
Airtable has a template designed for email marketing projects that you can adjust to suit your purposes. There’s also a project tracker template for Google Sheets. Each task owner should be empowered to take the steps necessary to ensure the task’s completion. There should be a process they can follow to handle roadblocks.
Sometimes certain elements of your strategy might not work out the way you planned. Sometimes you’ll find that the whole strategy ends up taking you in the wrong direction. As your team executes tasks and reports on the results, you can update your strategy to course-correct.
Strategic planning and tactical execution are equally important. Developing a solid email marketing strategy will make sure your department’s efforts are aligned with the overall A comprehensive email marketing plan will make sure everyone on your team knows what needs to be done and that their efforts are contributing to your company’s success.