Successful email marketing
is all about consistency and delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. How do you keep all your email content scheduled and organized effectively in order to meet these expectations?
The answer? An email marketing calendar.
Your calendar is an essential tool for planning, scheduling, and organizing your content and delivery dates to keep your strategy on track–your entire email strategy and execution
Plus, getting organized is highly correlated with marketing success
Download Your Email Marketing Bundle
Download our email marketing bundle for easy email campaign organization. This Excel spreadsheet provides a bird's eye view for you and your team. You also get a bonus newsletter calendar template for year-round content sharing and other useful email marketing templates.
Create Your Email Marketing Calendar With Simple Software
With CoSchedule's forever-free Marketing Calendar
software, you can:
Get full visibility into your ENTIRE marketing strategy.
- Seamlessly integrate with your favorite email marketing platform. Easily connect your preferred email platform to CoSchedule Marketing Calendar with just a couple of clicks.
- Write click-worthy email subject lines every time. Use CoSchedule Marketing Calendar’s exclusive Email Subject Line Tester to optimize and perfect every subject line to drive more clicks and conversions.
With email marketing, it’s easy to see how your email campaigns relate to the rest of your marketing strategy
and quickly make adjustments if necessary.
What Is An Email Marketing Calendar?
For effective email marketing, plan ahead and utilize email marketing calendars to streamline project management and meet deadlines. Without proactive planning, you risk being overwhelmed by approaching deadlines and limited project windows.
Email Marketing Calendar Definition:
Email Marketing Calendar Definition:
An email marketing calendar is a framework that helps marketers plan, organize, schedule, and execute email projects. It provides a single source of truth for one-off emails, recurring email programs, email campaigns, event email marketing, email marketing automation, and all other email marketing projects.
How To Create An Email Marketing Calendar
Step 1: Determine Campaign Owner
The first thing you need to identify is who owns each campaign. This person is the contact for every aspect of a campaign and ensures it goes off without a hitch.
Step 2: Determine Email Topics, Themes, & Seasonality
Before you begin planning your campaign, decide what topics your emails will cover.
It’s also important to identify which season this campaign topic/theme is associated with.
That’s the beauty of using an email marketing calendar; you can plan everything.
By planning ahead, you can show your team when they can expect to be working on many emails and adjust their workload to accommodate them.
Step 3: Establish An Email Sending Cadence
Sending the perfect amount of emails to your audience can be a slippery slope. Start with these basic email delivery schedules for different types of content you might need to promote.
Thursday is the number one day to send out your emails in 2023.
Step 4: Identify Campaign Email Segment & Consider Your Suppression List
You don’t want to blast your emails to every person on your list because not all of your subscribers are in the same phase of your marketing funnel
How can you do all of this? Begin building your list by providing them with something of value that they can download in exchange for their email
Segmenting your subscribers allows you to get specific and send targeted messages at the right time to the right subscribers. The goal: send the right message at the right time.
There are many different ways you can segment your list. In fact, Hubspot has 30 of them
listed to help you get started.
Once you identify who you are sending your emails to, you may need to determine who you are not sending your emails to. Build your email list
and add any excluded segments to your calendar template.
Step 5: Clarify The Goal Of Your Email Campaign
Setting goals touches every single part of your marketing, including your emails. These goals help define the purpose of sending your email in the first place.
Each goal you create for your email campaigns should be S.M.A.R.T:
Step 6: Write Your Email Subject Lines
can be a bit of a pain to write, but it doesn’t have to be.
CoSchedule has a free tool to make it easy to write great subject lines with Email Subject Line Tester
Hit Score My Subject Line,
and the tester will show you ways to improve your subject line:
For further feedback on your subject lines try the AI-powered subject line generator.
Step 7: Plan Your Email Content
Next, determine which content you'll share in each email.
Each piece of content should include a link, article, product, or another piece of content you'll place in the email. This doesn't need to be the exact email copy you'll write, just the items the email will promote.
One of the last elements to record in your email marketing calendar are links to graphics and videos that have been created for each email in your campaign.
Each image and video should be linked to your calendar so it is easily accessible by the campaign owner.
Step 8: Determine The Dates & Times Each Email Will Send
This is an essential element to establish in your email marketing calendar because it allows your marketing team to determine when they need to start working on an email to make sure it gets done on time.
Firstly, it’s important to be aware of the best times to send emails. Discover dates and times that are recommended, according to ten studies
Now that’s not to say these are the times and days to send your emails on. You’ll need to experiment and see which days and times your audience prefers or is the most active.
Once you have the days and times determined for each of your email sends, you can work backward to determine when your team needs to start working on the campaign to get it done on time.
You may even add extra buffer days in case the work gets off course.
Equipped with that information, you can select publish dates and times that maximize each email you send. Record your publish date times on your calendar.
Step 9: Know The Status Of Each Campaign
Your email marketing calendar should show the status of each of your email marketing campaigns. That way, you can see what’s coming up, what’s staged and ready to send, and what your team is working on next.
Break down the status of your campaign into three sections:
- New: This new campaign has recently been added to your calendar. No one on your email marketing team has touched this campaign.
- In Progress: Your email team is working on content, graphics, and more for this email. Once they are complete, they will move on to the project owner for final review.
- Completed: At this point, the email has been designed, the subject lines are written, and the project owner is confident this email is ready to be sent to the identified list.
Update the status of each of your campaigns regularly in your template.
Step 10: Choose The Perfect Subject Line
After you have sent your campaign, identify which of the two subject lines you created won the A/B test.
Most email service providers allow you to A/B test your subject lines within the platform. Based on how each subject line performs, your email platform will take the winning subject line and send it out to the rest of your list.
What To Include On Your Email Marketing Calendar
Newsletters are a great way to keep your contacts informed about critical updates or new products/services in your industry. They can also be used as a way to share company news or drum up excitement about your next event. According to email statistics
, customers generally want to hear from you more than once a month.
With that in mind, aim for 2-4 newsletters a month.
Popular retail promotions should always have a spot on your email marketing calendar. Planning will help you execute successful campaigns while leaving you enough time to evaluate the strategy and make any necessary adjustments.
Plan on testing email length, colors, featured products, and subject lines to maximize performance.
3. Events & Holidays
Do you regularly host online or in-person events, webinars, or podcasts? Depending on the event's size, provide 1-12 weeks advance notice to your contacts about these events. Holidays are a golden opportunity to send themed emails that engage your subscribers. It’s a must to add them to your calendar.
In the emails, include registration information such as ticket fees, location, registration link, speakers, and more. Also, add testimonials from past attendees for credibility.
Having an email audience at hand for a launch can set the tone for demand and excitement around your new product or service. Use email to announce the launch, but then also schedule 3-5 updates on its development process and offer early adopters a chance to be recognized for their involvement.
6. Automated Email Marketing
Finally, automated email marketing campaigns can be your lead gen secret weapon. Did you know automated welcome emails contribute the highest percentage of sales
? They allow you to collect subscribers, reach out to them, and engage or convert them at the right time.
Creating an automated plan can get daunting, so it’s important to consult your email marketing calendar and figure out segmentation and timing.
How To Organize All Of Your Email Sends With One Email Marketing Calendar
Handling all your marketing is easiest with a tool designed
to organize all of your email marketing in one place.
The spreadsheet email marketing calendar templates we provide in this piece are a good start. But if you’d like to up your game, consider the following process we suggest as a best practice.
Let’s turn your blank slate into an email marketing calendar
by first adding email newsletters.
Newsletters typically have regular sending cadences, such as weekly or monthly. With CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you can create a recurring project for newsletters like this:
You’ll notice you can set clear expectations to ensure newsletters always go out as desired:
- The task workflow automatically assigns ownership to a team member you choose with a specific due date so you may hold them accountable for completing their work.
- The newsletter can also be scheduled to send at a specific time, such as noon in this case.
- This newsletter will also repeat on Mondays forever and will automatically add itself to your email calendar four weeks in advance of the send date, so you’ll always be about a month ahead of schedule.
Now your calendar contains email newsletters (no more blank slate)!
This makes it simple to organize all email sends in one place so you can show stakeholders what is going out and when.
How To Organize Email Marketing Campaigns With Your Calendar
Let’s add promotions, launches, and events that may be connected to your marketing campaign.
With CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you will create Marketing Campaigns that begin and end on the dates the campaign runs.
Within your campaign, you can add emails on the calendar dates on which you will send them, including recurring newsletters, and planned webinars.
CoSchedule Marketing Suite empowers you to keep a complete view of all of your marketing in one calendar.
How To Use Your Marketing Calendar To Avoid Emailing Your Audience Too Often
Marketers may send multiple emails every day by targeting the right message to the right person at the right time. This is a best practice that prevents overwhelming audiences which may spike unsubscribe rates.
With CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you may customize segments with any internal language that is helpful for segmentation, such as personas and funnel stages:
When you do this for all emails, you may use your calendar to see at a glance when a specific audience segment may be getting too many emails.
CoSchedule Marketing Suite integrates with a variety of email marketing platforms
When you implement CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you will gain a dedicated marketing success manager whose goal is to help you organize your marketing—including emails. They’ll help you set up your email marketing calendar, in addition to helping you organize all of your other marketing, so you can focus on kicking ass.
Learn more about CoSchedule Marketing Suite.
Start Using Your Email Marketing Calendar To Get Organized
Now that you have the tools and knowledge to improve your email calendar for everyday marketing, try out your newfound skills in your marketing newsletter. Master newsletter organization with the tips you've learned today, and continue learning how to get the rest of your marketing bearings in order.
Soon, you'll be the master of marketing calendars.
Ready. Set. Organize!
This post was originally published on April 18, 2018. It was updated on December 30, 2021, and again on December 1, 2022. Ben Sailer, Peyton Muldoon, and Nathan Ellering contributed writing to this post.
This post was originally published on April 18, 2018. It was updated in December 2021; in December 2022; in July 2023. Ben Sailer, Peyton Muldoon, Nathan Ellering, and Paige Nordstrom contributed writing to this post.