Email Marketing Plan: 11 Tips for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is still one of the preferred mediums of communication between business and clients, its fast and effective and can be used in any professional setting, advantages of using email marketing as a marketing medium are:

  • You can be able to send targeted messes to a targeted group of individuals interested in your products or services. Emailing allows businesses to group their customers in various segments, allowing email marketing to offer targeted communication.
  • Emails can be timed based on customer behaviors, you can send an autoresponder in case you are not available to answer the emails your customers are sending to you, you can also set a trigger to an email based on various factors such as visits to a website, and more. Email allows marketing automation at its very best.
  • Emails allow the personalization of messages based on what’s relevant to them.

Email marketing has so many benefits compared to other mediums of advertisements such as television advertisements, display advertisements, or social media.

One of the tips towards creative and engaging email marketing campaign is to group your contacts according to what’s they are interested in, the beauty of email marketing is that once you have an intelligent customer profile, you only need to send a few emails ad achieve better results at a more reduced cost.

Having an email marketing plan in place allows you to attract and target the right prospective clients.

Planning your email campaign helps align your email messages to be engaging and creative to increase your brand awareness, suggested marketing, brand loyalty, and increased sales. Email marketing plan allows you to have a cheap marketing medium, by leveraging the free available tools and delivering positive advertisement campaigns that convert.

benefits of email marketing pie chart

The following is a no-nonsense guide towards creating an email marketing plan that works in the modern business environment.

A marketing plan serves to outline and communicate the strategic goals of a business. Before you embark on any marketing plan, you need to answer some important questions. First, what is your business? What do you plan to market? What are the services you offer? What is the target market for your products or services? Who are your competitors? What is the competition doing, and what is your strategy to beat them? What are the marketing channels you are using? What are you going to spend your marketing budget on? What is your strategy to grow your business? What are your objectives?

1. Funnel planning.

When planning your email marketing funnel, you have to first understand your customers purchasing behaviors, planning an email marketing funnel allows you to match your customers purchasing behaviors with your marketing strategies and tactics. An email marketing funnel allows you to invest money and time with confidence and allows prospecting customers to move through your funnel until they take action.

The primary goal of an email marketing funnel is to allow people to move through your email marketing funnel and maximize the number of people who enter the funnel without overpaying for people who don’t make it to the end of the funnel or take the final action.

An email marketing funnel is divided into three stages, the top funnel, the middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel as seen in the infographic below:

email marketing funnel infographics
Email marketing funnel

Top of the funnel.

When planning your email marketing funnel, you need to understand the top of the funnel is used to raise awareness of your products or services, you should attract the highest number of prospective customers who don’t realize they have a problem or a need at this stage.

Middle of the funnel.

At the middle funnel, the group from the top funnel has narrowed down, at this stage, the people here have discovered their needs and are currently researching for products and services that can satisfy their needs. In this section, they are currently on a discovery f the best products and services.

Bottom of the funnel.

Prospecting clients at the bottom of the funnel are ready to take action and make purchases, it’s upon you to communicate to them and convince them to act, by calling you or purchasing your products. At this stage communication is key towards conversion, you should determine the best communication channel to use based on your customer profile.

2. What is the law on email marketing?

The law on email marketing is that people or businesses should seek permission from email owners before sending a bunch of emails to them, this means before sending any emails you should first seek permission from your consumers.

It’s very tempting to buy a targeted email list when starting a business, but you might be risking your marketing efforts for the following reasons; the first reason is you will be breaking the law, secondly your action as an email marketer you chance of your messages getting into people emails inboxes will be limited.

The most important email marketing regulation you should know as an email marketer is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.


The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 regulates all emails with consumer interests in form of commercial advertisement or promotion of products or services, this is the act all businesses should adhere to when emailing consumers in the United States, every country has its own rules.

The following are some of the messaging rules you should follow when working on your email marketing plan:

  • Your email headline should not be false or misleading.
  • Your subject of the email should address the nature of the email.
  • You should disclose in the email the nature of the email whether it’s an advert or a promotion.
  • You should include the physical location of your business.
  • Your email should have an easy option to unsubscribe if the recipient wants to opt-out.

If your email marketing plan involves hiring an email marketer, you should be responsible for making sure they adhere to the CAN-SPAM-ACT of 2003. Both you and the email marketing agency would be held responsible for breaking this law, you should have a proper monitoring method in place to monitor the activities of the email marketing agency.

3. Email marketing campaign tools

You also need to plan for your email marketing campaign tools on your email marketing plan, there are five factors to consider when looking for the best tool for your startup or existing business, they include email list management, message design, and setup, delivery options, email messages management, support and account administrations.

Factors to consider when choosing an email marketing tool.

  • When choosing an email campaign tool, you need to make sure it’s able to collect email contacts from your subscribers, legally and identify who the contact belongs to for an easier user experience and targeting. This will allow you to send targeted emails legally and appropriately. The list of features to look for are opt-in forms, contact management, and contacts grouping/segmentation.
  • Email design and setups is another factor you should consider when choosing an email provider, you should make sure your email provider offers options to create visually appealing messages that appeal to the client, visual images and designs allows you to customize your emails based on your brand, there are several factors to consider such as availability of templates, customization features, automation and ability to set up campaigns.
  • Email marketing personalization, testing, previews, and deliverability are some of the factors you should consider when choosing an email service provider for your business.  You should choose an email marketing provider that gives you an easy option to personalize and deliver your emails in a dynamic campaign that aligns with your email marketing plan.
  • Your email marketing should also offer options such as bulk editing, other marketing strategies integration such as social media, CRM functionalities, and performance tracking and reports.
  • Its important that customers support be of very high quality, email marketing campaigns are very time-sensitive and if anything happens to your email marketing tool you would need available support.

You want to choose an email tool that is flexible and allows you to grow, when working on your email marketing plan, have a list of all the email service providers and narrow them down using the factors mentioned.

4. Email marketing funnel strategy

The next steps on your email marketing plan involve creating simple or complex email marketing funnels depending on your email marketing goals, and an email marketing funnel allows you to channel your prospecting customers through your overall funnel.

There are three email marketing funnels based on your goals:

  • To acquire customer leads.
  • To nurture prospecting customers over time.
  • To convert prospects into leads.

Email marketing funnel strategies depend on the goals of your email marketing plan, do you need to acquire more clients, nurture prospecting clients or convert prospect clients? These are some of the determining factors to consider in your email marketing plan when looking for the best email marketing funnel strategy.

the customer buying cycle infographics

Highlighted below are some of the email marketing strategies:

Acquisition email marketing strategy.

Your acquisition email marketing strategy should be of very low risk since the audience position is at the top, the primary goal of the acquisition email marketing strategy is to acquire as many emails as possible, this target group doesn’t know anything about your products or services.

Nurturing email marketing strategy.

The main objective of the nurturing email marketing strategy is to build a relationship with your prospecting clients, this can take days, weeks, or months, the primary purpose is nurturing you’re your prospecting clients to convert to the bottom of the funnel through lead nurturing.

Conversion email marketing strategy.

The conversion email marketing strategy’s main goal is to motivate your email recipients to convert and purchase your products or services, it may also include acting on a call to action. Often conversion email marketing is supported with other sales support strategies such as phone calls or video calls.

5. How do I get an email list for marketing?

When working on your email marketing plan you need to identify ways on building your email list, email marketing doesn’t work without building a list of email contacts of people interested in your products and services. If you have already an email list from previous clients, that’s fine, you will also need to nurture these clients to be repeat clients, this means you have a good head start.

There are five steps towards getting an email list for marketing:

  • Developing relevant opt-in offers.
  • Creating online opt-in forms.
  • Driving targeted traffic to your online opt-in forms.
  • Showing offers to your prospecting clients.
  • Improving conversion of your opt-in forms.

Before creating opt-in forms you should make sure your website looks professional to build credibility, then create an email list by developing relevant offers on your website, creating attractive and converting opt-in forms, followed by targeted traffic drive to the opt-in form through showing them offers they can’t resist, and finally monitoring your results.

Creating opt-in forms doesn’t deliver results instantly, if your conversion is less than expected, it’s always a good idea to audit your marketing efforts see why visitors are not using the opt-in form, and strategically increase or change your marketing efforts.

Another tip is to avoid using obstructive opt-in forms, or other forms of opt-in forms that could block your content Google can penalize your website for having such kinds of opt-in forms, they include floating headers or footers opt-in forms, slide-in opt-in forms, and full-screen opt-in forms.

6. How do you make an email list with a lead magnet?

Email lists with lead magnets can be used to acquire customers, through targeted marketing that attracts prospects through digital content such as eBooks, checklists workbooks, tutorials, etc., your lead magnet should attract value to your targeted customers.

Your lead magnet should also nurture your prospects by providing useful information that your prospect finds important, your lead magnet should also be able to convert your client, sales lead magnets have one goal – convert leads at the bottom of the funnel into buying customers.

Factors to consider when choosing a lead magnet for your email marketing plan:

  • Your lead magnet should solve a specific problem.
  • Your lead magnet should be relevant.
  • Your lead magnet should be result-oriented.
  • Your lead magnet should offer high perceived value.
  • Your lead magnet should be easily accessible.
  • Your lead magnet should be self-promotional.

Steps to creating a successful email lead magnet.

When creating lead magnets for your email marketing plan, you should consider creating lead magnets for all parts of your email marketing funnel, they should be able to pull clients from the top of the funnel to the middle or from the middle of the funnel to the bottom funnel where they take action of your marketing campaign.

The following are the steps to creating a lead magnet funnel:

  1. Choose your lead magnet.
  2. Create your lead magnet.
  3. Design your landing page and opt-in forms.
  4. Set up email automation to deliver your lead magnet.
  5. Promote your lead magnet.
  6. Track and monitor your results.

On your email marketing plan, you now have a lead magnet, a landing page, and an opt-in form, The next step involves using these tools towards creating an email marketing funnel that is automated to generate leads.

7. Email marketing sales funnel

For a successful email marketing campaign consider the following key factors on your sales funnel.

how to use email marketing funnel

Factors to consider when planning email marketing sales funnel.

  • The timing of your email is a very important part of your sales funnel, email marketing relies on reminding and engaging people to persuade them to take action, email automation helps a lot when it comes to email timing. It’s recommended to set an automated email every two days, it is also a good idea to inside the appropriate time to send the emails based on your respondent’s time zone. An example of an email timing schedule is shown below:
Message NumberDay SentTime Sent
Acquisition email 1110:00am
Nurturing email 1310:00am
Nurturing email 2510:00am
Nurturing email 31010:00am
Conversion email 11410:00am
  • The next factor to consider when creating a sales funnel is the offer, you should create an offer that is extremely useful to your prospects. When planning your email marketing campaign, you should take time to research your client’s needs. You should start by researching your prospect’s problems and offer them a solution.
  • Your business email subject line is the most important part of your marketing sales funnel, your subject line should be short and to the point, the best subject lines pick the curiosity of the readers, and also should match the expectations of your readers to increase brand credibility.
  • When writing your emails, you should consider using shorter messages which are more effective than longer messages. Writing emails based on your email list segments is effective and offers a higher result than sending generic emails.
  • You should always follow up your emails with a conversion email, don’t abandon your prospects after the campaign is over, instead, continue nurturing your email list they might turn to be return clients, or you might consider having another email marketing campaign and having an engaged email list will increase your chances of conversions.

8. How do I manage the email database?

Email list management can increase your conversion by up to 15%, this is done through customer profiling and segmenting your email list based on your prospect’s behaviors.

Segmenting works if you have enough data to group your email list, outlined below is how you can get customers’ data to use on your email management.

  • The first place to get information regarding your prospects is through your email opt-in form, its important to note that you should not ask for too much information or your opt-in form will be disregarded.
  • When customers purchase products and services from your website, they can leave important information such as their email, address, names, and birth date, this data is good to form demographic profiling of your prospects.
  • The products purchased by your prospects can also give a clue on the behaviors and interests of your prospects, tracking customers’ behaviors and connecting this information to your email profile is one way that can help you profile your prospects.
  • Pages visited by your prospects can give you a clue of your prospect’s interests for a more targeted sales email marketing, this is important when using it in the nurturing stages of your email marketing campaigns.
  • Lead magnets such as webinars attended, information requested are some of the lead magnets you can use to profile your prospect clients for email management and segmentation.

Segmenting based on users’ behaviors gives the best conversion rates when working on your email marketing campaigns since you can send targeted emails to your prospects.

9. How do I create an autoresponder in an email?

Autoresponders are informational or promotional messes focused on single-purpose prospects’ conversions, they are normally sent after an action is performed by a prospective client.

To develop an autoresponder on your email marketing plan you need first to identify all the actions available in your sales funnel, and leverage the opportunities available using an autoresponder.

Autoresponders react to specific actions, interactions with your platforms, and responses. In your autoresponder, there are various offers you can send in your autoresponder emails.

The following are some of the autoresponders offers to consider:

  • If a prospect purchases one product you can send an autoresponder pitching a related product or service, the autoresponder is automatically sent after check out. The message of an autoresponder, in this case, should be simple and contain a brief description and visual graphics, you can consider using words such as “you might be interested in”, “don’t forget” etc.
  • An autoresponder can also be used to upsell a product or a service, immediately after check out, you can send an autoresponder pitching the next available version of a product or service. For example, after a customer pays for a monthly subscription to a gym you can send an autoresponder pitching for a yearly subscription.
  • Autoresponders are also used to request reviews from your clients, reviews are very important in marketing, you can leverage the power of an autoresponder to pitch for a client to leave a review for your products or services.
  • Businesses can also use autoresponders to request social media sharing to their families and friends, suggested impulse buying works wonders, it’s very easy at that moment for a converted client to share the products and services to their families and friends.

You can use autoresponders on different trigger points in your email marketing campaign. It’s also important to monitor your autoresponders and It’s determined which ones are working for your marketing campaign.

10. How do you analyze email performance?

Your email marketing provider will offer some valuable data that you can use to monitor your email marketing campaign, you can also connect your email marketing tool with google analytics and track messages clickthrough rates and other analytical features.

Email marketing key performance indicatorsOpens in a new tab. include:

  • One of the email marketing tracking metrics is the number of emails sent and the number of emails opened, many factors can influence the rate of open emails such as the time the email was delivered. The open rate of emails is a useful metric that enables you to track the trend of your email marketing campaigns. If the open rate of your email is high, it’s a good sign that your marketing strategies align well with the subscriber list.
Email Performance, By Time of Day
  • If you email you can include links to your lead generations, and use a tracker to track the clickthrough rate of the links sent through your email marketing campaign. Using clickthrough rate you can get the number of emails received by your prospects. The clickthrough rate enables you to understand if your email marketing campaign is resonating well with your recipients.
  • You can also monitor the traffic to your remail platforms on the days you send the emails, this will enable you to know if your email campaigns are converting. Creating unique tracking URLs or using analytical tools to understand the source of your traffic is one of the strategies to track and monitor your email marketing campaign.
  • Sales conversion is the goal of an email marketing campaign, you can monitor the conversion rate in terms of sales to know if your marketing campaign is working. You can then use this information to track the return on investment of your email marketing campaign. The return on investment of email marketing is calculated by subtracting the cost of your email marketing by the total revenue generated during the campaign and dividing the results by the total cost of the email campaign, and finally multiplying the results by 100.

James Ndungu

James is a one-on-one business consultant who helps CEOs, executives, and solopreneurs build their personal and professional branding.

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