How to Organize An Effective Email Marketing Strategy (Template)

The Best Way to Organize an Effective Email Marketing Strategy 71

Email Marketing

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The Best Way to Organize an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Managing email marketing successfully isn’t easy – especially when you have multiple email initiatives going at once.

The value of email marketing is undeniable, so it’s not surprising that many departments within your organization want to leverage the platform. This results in lots of moving pieces to consider and many stakeholders to please. It also increases the chances of accidentally sending multiple emails to the same person in one day.

(Speaking from personal experience… the fallout of this isn’t pretty.)

Here are just a few pieces of the puzzle you have to consider…

  • Managing your ever-growing subscriber list.
  • Overseeing the design and copy of every email.
  • Scheduling delivery times.
  • A/B testing.
  • Analyzing results.

That’s just scratching the surface.

One thing is clear, if you’re going to be successful at email marketing, you need a well-planned marketing strategy in place.

One that clearly establishes goals, and lays out the roadmap to achieve them.

Something that can guide your team toward success.

And that’s exactly what you’ll get from this post.

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Download Your Email Marketing Strategy Template …

Before you continue reading, download your email marketing strategy template. This easy to use PowerPoint will help you document your plan and give the rest of your email team something to refer back to when they have questions.

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… Then Manage Email Marketing With CoSchedule

If you’re new to CoSchedule, it’s the only marketing suite to manage every facet of your marketing.

It even integrates with popular email marketing services giving you the ultimate visibility into your email strategy, so you’ll never send multiple emails to the same person in one day again.

With Email Marketing from CoSchedule, you can:

  • Seamlessly integrate with your favorite email marketing platform. Email platforms are powerful, and you’ve grown to know and love yours, so why give it up? CoSchedule integrates with many preferred platforms so your email marketing is no longer disjointed from the rest of your marketing initiatives.
  • Write click-worthy email subject lines…every time. CoSchedule’s awesome Email Subject Line Tester is built right in so you can optimize and perfect every subject line to drive more opens, more clicks, and more conversions.
  • Get full visibility into your ENTIRE marketing strategy. Disjointed marketing content (and constantly jumping from screen to screen) is the worst. With Email Marketing from CoSchedule, all your email campaigns live on your single marketing calendar, giving you ultimate visibility into your marketing strategy and individual initiatives.

Create Your Own Email Marketing Strategy in 11 Steps

Creating an email marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. The following eleven steps will help you plan your work and work your plan in no time.

Step One: Choose Your Tools

Finding the right tools is the first step in your strategy. A lot of these platforms are super powerful and can help you organize and send your emails at the drop of a hat.

Email Marketing Tools

Some common email marketing tools that you might consider using are:

This is a shortlist in a sea of other email tools you could use. Find the tool that fits your team based on what you want to accomplish with your email marketing.

Marketing Automation Tools

You might not want to stop at a simple email marketing tool. You may also consider adding a marketing automation tool to your list.

Marketing automation makes it easy for you to follow up with customers and send the right email at the right time to subscribers based on how they are interacting with your website. Some email marketing platforms have basic marketing automation features built-in like the option to send birthday email messages automatically, etc. It’s worth taking some time to figure out the depths of marketing automation you need and your bandwidth for maintaining automation initiatives. These activities can take a big chunk of time to manage.

Potential automation tools to add to your list are:

  • Autopilot: Autopilot makes it easy to plan out journeys and triggers that send your subscribers emails based on how they interact with your website.
  • Userfox: Userfox is a small email-focused automation tool that sends emails to subscribers based on events that you put into the system. Userfox was bought by the Adroll Group in 2014.
  • HubSpot: Hubspot doesn’t have as much email automation functionality as the other two on this list, but it is suited for companies who want to control multiple aspects from one tool.
  • Marketo: Is a powerful marketing automation tool that is most suitable for enterprise-level marketers.
  • Pardot: Is a full solution that helps marketers create meaningful connections, generate more pipeline, and empower sales to close more deals. The marketing automation option fits will if you use Salesforce as your CRM.

Once you have your tools, add them to the first slide in your email marketing strategy template:

Email Tool Selection

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Step Two: Identify Your Target Audience

Once you have your tools selected you to need to focus on building your email subscriber list.

The first step to build your email list is to identify your target audience.

As a refresher:

Your target audience is the ideal customer you want to attract to your product or service through your marketing efforts.

So how can you find your target audience?

First, answer the following questions:

  • Who are our current best customers?
  • What qualities do they have in common?
  • What problem are they experiencing that has our customers search for a solution like our product or service?
  • Why did they purchase our product or service?
  • What did we provide for our customers that our competition didn’t?

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Using those answers format, your target audience statement with the following template:

{Insert your company} creates content to attract {insert target audience} so they can {insert desired outcome} better.

Record your target audience demographics and statement in your template.

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Step Three: Create Tactics To Use To Get Your Audience To Opt-In To Your Email List

Now that you know who your target audience is you can begin to brainstorm tactics that will attract them and convince them to sign up and join your email list.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Give Them Something Valuable In Return

One of the most common ways to get your audience to join your email subscriber list is to gate content upgrades behind an opt-in form.

What is valuable to your customers?

A downloadable template or ebook that shows them how to solve a problem or answer a question they might be having.

If you gate something that doesn’t provide something of value you might end up losing that subscriber.

Example of an opt-in form.

Go For The Direct Ask

Another way to gain subscribers is to go for the direct ask. Explain to them why they should opt into your email list and entice them with personalized information like this pop up from Fargo 3D Printing.

Gathering information like this will also help you segment your list. (More on that in a bit):

Second example of an opt-in form

Here’s another pop-up example from Nanit encouraging visitors to signup for their newsletter. The company asks for the ages of the visitor’s children, which would indicate the company does some segmenting based on developmental stages of the child’s age.

Use the Header And Footer of Your Website

Another place you can put an email opt-in button is on your website’s header and footer.

Why not meet your audience halfway and make it easy to remind them that they can get more information about your products by joining your email list?

Take a look at this example from Ulta:

Opt in form example from Ulta


Here’s another example from Michael Hyatt:


And another from British Clothing Company, Boohoo.

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How To Segment Your Email List

We mentioned earlier in this section that you can segment your email list. What does that mean and how can that help you?

Here’s a quick and dirty email segmentation definition:

The process of grouping like individuals on an email list based on their behavior or characteristics to send specifically targeted emails that address that particular group of users needs or problems.

You can just blast out your emails to everyone on your list and hope that it resonates with someone and convince them to convert.

However, in today’s day in age, we can use data and information to go further and serve content to the right people at the right time to help guide them through your marketing funnel.

In fact, segmenting your list can have a positive effect on your email list. MailChimp conducted an internal study and found that segmented campaigns had:

  • 14.31% higher open rates.
  • 100.95% more clicks.
  • 9.37% lower unsubscribe rates than their non-segmented campaigns.

You can segment your list based on a variety of things, including:

  • Company size.
  • Location.
  • Activity on your website.
  • How long they’ve been on your email list.

In order to accurately segment your list, you need to gather this data about your customers when they first sign up. So add options for subscribers to choose from before they complete their sign up.

List potential ways your team will try and grow your email list in your template as well as your email list segments.

Email List Segments

Step Four: Choose the Types of Emails to Send

There are many different types of email that you can send to your list. You can choose one or change it up based on the various segments you have in your list.

Here are three different types of emails to get started with.


Newsletters are a popular email format. They come to your subscriber’s inbox at the same time at recurring intervals. They allow you to show them a variety of content and information your subscribers might have missed if they haven’t visited your website lately.

According to Hubspot, successful email newsletters contain 90% educational content and 10% product or promotional content.

The same post from Hubspot says newsletters should contain a single theme or idea. That way you can prevent yourself from randomly throwing content into your newsletter just to get it out there.

You might even send out different newsletters on different topics based on who you’re sending each newsletter to on your list.

So what does an excellent newsletter look like? Take this example from The Skimm:

Example of an email newsletter

Photo from Hubspot

The Skimm newsletter is specific in the fact that it rounds up the latest news from the day before and quickly summarizes it for readers. It provides the benefit of not having to read long news stories and allows subscribers to quickly catch up on the news from the day before.

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Here’s another awesome newsletter round-up from Spotify:


Airbnb also has a great newsletter that mixes both content and promotional elements.

Automated Drip Emails

Automated drip campaigns are emails that are sent to users based on their interactions with your website or content that is sent on a schedule to help move customers down your marketing funnel.

Once your subscriber takes action, emails are slowly dripped into their email inbox to help convince them to convert.

These emails change based on the action that your list members take. For example, say you had a subscriber who clicked on your product page, added things to their cart but didn’t make a purchase.

The automated emails could be sent to your subscriber that gently remind them to head back to their cart or learn more about their products.

Take a look at this example from DoggyLoot:Email from Doggy Loot

This is a great example because of the sense of urgency the copy creates. If your customer doesn’t buy these items now, they might miss out on them altogether.

Asos uses a similar tactic encouraging people not to forget about the items in their abandoned cart.

This video shows how to create a drip campaign in MailChimp:

Seasonal And Promotional Emails

We all know the holiday emails that end up in our inboxes each year. They contain all those great deals so you can get your shopping done and out of the way.

Seasonal and promotional emails are timed emails that help entice your readers to purchase from your website.

Here’s a typical example of a holiday promotional email:



Example of a seasonal email

Each email may vary and contain different, timely information that you want to get to your audience.

Here’s another promo email example from West Elm.

Here’s another promo email example from National Geographic that helps promote its Black Friday Sale.

In the strategy template, choose which types of emails you want to send to your email list and record it in your template.

Types of email content

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Step Five: Determine How Often To Send Your Emails

So you’ve sent some emails and your subscriber list is growing, but, your audience gets a lot of emails over the course of one day.

How can you ensure that your emails are being seen?

Well, sending them during the most strategic days and times can help.

According to ten different studies, the best times to send emails are:

The best times to send email are ...

Your best times will vary a bit depending on your subscribers, so experiment to see what times your audience is the most engaged.

You can’t just send your email at the best time; you also need to send it on the best day.

According to those same ten studies the best days to send email are:

The best days to send email are ...

Does this mean that these are the best days for your list? Not necessarily. Each audience is unique and may require a little testing to find your best day to send email.

To find your best times and days to send an email, try testing the following times:

Test email sending days and times.

Most important to remember is these are suggested times. Use the analytics in your email marketing platform to fine-tune your send times and understand what work best for your audience. Then record those winning times in your template.

Document your email schedule.

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Step Six: Set Goals For Your Emails

The next thing you need to do is set goals for your email marketing.

Goal setting is critical for your email marketing program because it gives each email you send a specific purpose. You need to know where your heading before you can strategize a route to get there.

Setting strategic goals helps you show your boss and other stakeholders in your organization that your email marketing strategy is having the right effect on your bottom line.

So how do you create a solid email marketing goal? By ensuring, they’re S.M.A.R.T or:

Setting SMART Goals

Each goal you create should be specific to your campaign and measurable, so you have a way to track your results. Make sure that they’re ambitious, but not so high they’re impossible to reach.

Every goal should be relevant to the campaign it’s created for.

In other words, you don’t necessarily want to track the number of purchases an email drove if it isn’t directly selling something.

For example, a promo email’s goal could be total sales attributed to said email, while a simple newsletter could be CTR on an article included.

Plus each goal needs to be time-bound, meaning you should meet your goal within a set time limit.

So what kind of goals can you set for your email marketing program?

  • Increasing click-through rates. Click through rates mean that your audience has read you email and follow through to click the link to your website which could increase your conversions.
  • Increasing your ROI. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you see on average, a $44 dollar return. You could set goals to help increase your average ROI.
  • Increasing your open rates: An unopened email is about as effective as an unsent one. Trying to increase your open rates is a solid goal to set for your email marketing strategy.
  • Increasing the number of subscribers: The more people you can reach with your emails the better. Set a series of goals that help increase your total subscribers.

Use the following template to create each one of your goals:

By {insert day, month, year}, the {insert your organization’s name} marketing team will reach {insert number} {insert metric} every {insert time frame}.

Enter those goals into your template:

Document your email marketing goals

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Step Seven: Determine How You’re Going To Craft Your Content

You have your email types selected, and your goals are complete, next you need to write email copy that encourages your reader to take action. The following categories will help ensure that your copywriters create content that makes your next email stand out.

What Writing Style Does Your Team Use

Emails can be written in all sorts of formats and styles. Depending on what type of email you’re creating you could have larger blocks of text or a list of links email readers can click on.

Take CoSchedule for example. We approach our email copy by writing single-sentence paragraphs:

This format makes skimming plain-text email easy.

Optimizing For Mobile Readers

Another essential part of crafting your email content is to make sure that it is optimized for viewing across multiple devices.

The fact is, 55% of emails are read on mobile devices, which means your copy should transfer easily from

According to CopyBlogger, there are ten ways you can ensure that your emails are mobile friendly. They are:

  1. Create short subject lines.
  2. Use a single column template.
  3. Keep your email under 600px wide.
  4. Use a large font size (between 13 to 14 pixels is recommended).
  5. Display small images.
  6. Provide a distinct call to action.
  7. Don’t make your CTA an image. If you do use an image add ALT text that tells a person what the image is if it doesn’t load.
  8. Avoid menu bars.
  9. Don’t stack links.
  10. Test on multiple devices.

Personalizing Your Email Content

Another way to create killer email copy is by finding ways to personalize your emails to your subscribers. We’re not just talking about inserting their names at the beginning of the copy.

According to Campaign Monitor emails with personalized subject lines receive 26% more opens than those that don’t.

Not to mention, according to DMA, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of revenue.

So what can you do to personalize your emails?

  1. Include their name in your subject line.
  2. Address them directly in your email.
  3. Add in previous purchase information or items they may have recently looked at.

Writing A Better Subject Line

Speaking of personalizing your subject lines, did you know that there’s a surefire way to write better subject lines?

CoSchedule’s Email Subject Line Tester is so easy to use. First, enter your subject line and click Score My Subject Line:

Try the Email Subject Line Tester

After that our tool will score your subject line on a variety of different factors and offer suggestions for improvement:

Keep trying different combinations until you find the perfect subject line for your next email.

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Step Eight: Set Up A/B Tests

A/B testing is an essential part of your email marketing strategy.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a series of tests that allow email marketing teams to swap out different parts of their email, like a subject line, to see what kinds of copy performs best with their audience.

You can A/B test a lot of different parts of your email including:

  • Your subject line (this is probably the most popular option).
  • Calls to Action
  • Testimonials
  • Images
  • Headlines
  • Specific Offers

Depending on the type of email tool you’re using, you may be able to A/B test some aspects of your email over others. MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and Hubspot are just a few of the programs that allow you to A/B test parts of your emails.

Decide which parts of your email you’d like to A/B test and record them in your template.

What will you A/B test?

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Step Nine: Record Your Results And Adjust According to Performance

The last step in your email marketing strategy will be to record your results and adjust based on the feedback you’ve gathered.

Each email marketing platform should contain its own set of analytics that you can gather your data from.

You can look for and record results on:

  • Email opens: How many emails were opened vs. the number of emails that were sent.
  • Email deliveries: How many emails from your send list were delivered.
  • Unsubscribers: How many people unsubscribed from your email list?
  • New subscribers: How many new subscribers have you gained?
  • Click through rates: How many people clicked on the links in your email?
  • A/B test results: What version of your A/B test won out?
  • ROI: How much revenue has your email generated compared to how much you’ve spent?
  • The time they spent with the email open: How long did a subscriber spend looking at your email?
  • Email bounces: How many emails reached an inbox but were bounced back unopened?

How To Manage Your Email With CoSchedule

Once you have your strategy in place, you can move on to your execution. However, you have a lot of work to do, which can quickly become disorganized.

Our new email integration allows you to plan, create and send your emails at the best times and days for your audience.

Managing your email schedule is easy. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Go to your Integrations settings page.

Step 2: Find your email service provider in the integrations catalog.

Email integrations in the catalog.

Step 3: Next, select a date on your calendar, and click Email Marketing.

Step 4: Add a title to your campaign, and create your email content.

Your email will then deliver at your specified date and time. Pretty slick, huh?

You can also set up a filtered view of your calendar just to see your email activities, so you know exactly what emails are going out and when.

Choose “create new saved view” on the left-side menu.

Next, name your saved view and add a filter category.


Choose “Type” or “Email Service Accounts” in the drop-down menu.


Then add all your email content types or email service accounts that are connected.


Now you have a custom view of all your email messaging, who is responsible for it, and when they are going live.

It’s a marketing project manager’s dream come true, really.

Go Create Your Own Email Strategy

With the information that you have and your strategy template in hand, you can create your own email marketing strategy. Now you can set goals, plan ahead and create a strategy that helps boost the bottom line of your business.

If you’re looking to create more than just your email marketing strategy, check out the following posts:

This blog post was originally published on April 23, 2018. It was updated and republished on June 13, 2019.

About the Author

Breonna was a Content Writer for CoSchedule. Her specialities include social media marketing, content strategy and blogging.

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Did you know organized marketers are 397% more likely to report success?

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Organize your marketing with CoSchedule’s Marketing Calendar.

Plan content and automate publishing to save tons of time now.

Did you know organized marketers are 397% more likely to report success?

Start your 14-day trial to get organized with CoSchedule today.

Did you know organized marketers are 397% more likely to report success?

Schedule a demo to get organized with CoSchedule today.

Did you know agile marketers are 252% more likely to report success?

Learn how to get started with CoSchedule’s guide to agile marketing.

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