How to Plan your Email Marketing Promotions
It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions. If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
One of the absolute surefire ways to make more money in your business is by mailing your list great stuff … MORE OFTEN.
Sure, you'll lose some people, but those people aren't your eager customers who want your stuff – and want to buy it NOW. (Or at least hear from you and have the option to connect – and maybe buy something, too!)
The problem is that, if you don't plan your email promotions, you'll let this slide. Unfortunately. Trust me, I know. I slip up on occasions, too.
When I slip up and don't mail often enough, I notice two things –
- My income starts to dip a bit.
- I start to get emails and notes on Facebook, asking if I'm ok. 🙂
So, yes, please plan your promos in advance, even if you just have a piece of paper where you sketch them out.
This week I asked our panel of experts to weigh in on this question…
How do you plan your email marketing / list promotions?
Terry Dean of My Marketing Coach says:
This is actually pretty simple. Every major autoresponder has features to schedule emails and promotions in advance. Currently my lists are primarily in Aweber and 1SC.
Even when not traveling, I still usually schedule at least a week in advance. It's part of my “batching” I do. I've found the most effective way for me to work is to schedule several hours on a project and just work on that. So I'll write several emails at once. Then have them all loaded at once into the system for queuing.
Since I use 1Shoppingcart we can set discounts using the coupon system and those coupons can be set to expire at a set time. So everything can be done in advance including giving a limited time discount on a product. I've done as much as a month in advance this way for emails and promotions. It gets it off your plate where you're not thinking about it. Of course WordPress allows you to schedule your blog posts in exactly the same way.
I'd love to tell you I'm super organized and have everything scheduled for months in advance, but it wouldn't be true.
I do plan out my primary autoresponder sequences like this.
When putting up a new autoresponder, I'll mind map out the overall strategy, story, and content that is shared. Mind mapping helps me get all the information out including what the target market's primary problems are, the barriers they have to cross to reach their goals, and the objections they will have to purchasing from me.
The initial email sequence is planned out, and often written close together over just a few days. Pieces are moved back and forth between the emails to get them all in a nice flow, especially for the first 30 days.
When it comes to ongoing broadcasts, my reality is they are rarely planned more than a couple of weeks in advance. I have a journal of stories and notes about topics I want to cover in the future. On Friday mornings, I'll go through the journal and plan at least the next week's emails. Sometimes I'm able to put together emails for a couple of weeks in advance.
There have been multiple times someone has asked me to promote for them, but they still hadn't provided swipes or notes about their offer by the Friday before their promotion. In those cases, they're replaced by something else. The most successful promotions are those planned a couple of weeks out so all the content leading up to them can be focused on the subject. When I'm going to be away, I'll plan and write a few weeks in advance.
The best performers for me are very limited term specials such as a discount or additional bonuses only available for 24 to 72 hours total, but I don't like doing those more often than about every two weeks max.
Terry Dean is pretty awesome! Check out his stuff at – My Marketing Coach.
Kristen Eckstein of Self Publish on Demand says:
My team and I use a single Excel spreadsheet located in a team DropBox folder. This spreadsheet has a calendar for promotions and newsletter schedule in separate worksheets. I have a list of promotional items in the newsletter worksheet, and my amazing Online Business Manager synced those fields to the promotions calendar worksheet so when I update one, the other populates simultaneously. My OBM (Online Business Manager) monitors the spreadsheet each week and lets me know when I need to go update the newsletter content, since I try to schedule posts and videos out in advance.
Some promotions require much lengthier copy, so within that same folder in DropBox we also have a folder for copy. Each MS Word document containing copy is labeled to match the title in the promotions calendar spreadsheet so it's easy for my VA to find, place in Aweber, and roll out to my list. My Aweber account is linked to Facebook and Twitter, and Twitter is fed to LinkedIn, so I can literally get messages sent everywhere at once through one simple gateway.
Kristen is my Book Coach. Check out her program at Self Publish on Demand
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Organize Your Online Business says:
I use a paper calendar (printed in Word from WinCalendar.com) for planning. On the digital copy I put in all of my training sessions, travel schedule and time off. Then I print it and “take it to lunch” where I do my thinking.
If I have advance notice of an affiliate promotion I'll schedule it on the calendar. Otherwise, I'll promote if there is time when I hear about it. But I think a lot of marketers miss out on leveraging their affiliates because they don't give advance notice of promotions coming up.
I try to have two focus products of the month, one for the first two weeks of the month, the second for the second half of the month. During that focus period I will write 3-5 articles/blog posts on that product, then email my list pointing them toward those. I'll try to record one or two videos on the product.
I'm trying to not create any new products, but when I do, I generally plan those one or two months in advance. Then build up to their launch with specific dates on the calendar.
Email marketing is a flexible area (unless you're out of town and have pre-scheduled all of your messages), so I don't plan to mail daily. That leaves me space to work in an extra message here and there. Plus I have a year-long sequence that goes out every Monday – because I rarely mail on Mondays. (No scientific reason. I just don't get in gear that early in the week.)
Let Jeanette help you organize your business with her free tips -> Organize Your Online Business
Alice Seba of Step-by-Step PLR Guides says:
Email marketing is the main part of what I do in my business, so it's a central focus for me in my planning and work week. And it's funny, because it is basically what I do for a living (with the help of others to fill in all the important tasks that make my business a whole), I find it hard to explain how I plan it. At least it's hard to explain in a paragraph or two, but let me see if I can do it.
Each month, I plan the informational topics we'll be covering, the products we'll be releasing and create a promotion plan around that. Content and product promotions are generally tightly related as I want my audience to be as informed about and as interested as possible in what we have for sale. So each month, a basic plan is put together with rough dates for everything.
Then each week, I write a more detailed plan of which emails will go out which days to which lists and which segments of those lists. I will often write all the emails for a week in one day, so that it's out of the way as much as possible. I also finds this helps me keep a nice flow going between each email that a subscriber will receive.
A few important things:
– I always try to give a heads up about stuff that is coming up, so my subscribers will be ready and excited when it happens.
– I always follow up on stuff. Sometimes multiple times and try add a bit more value each time I send a reminder.
– I try to target my emails as much as possible. I have set up a customized system in Amember, where I can include and EXCLUDE certain people and buyers of certain products from emails. This allows me to really pinpoint people's interest, make special offers to people who haven't yet taken action and so forth.
– Customers are key. Opt-in subscribers are great, but customers are people who are proven to want your stuff. They always get special treatment, special offers, coupon codes and so forth.
Everyone will come up with their own system, but it's important that they pay special attention to email. People often lose sight of this as they see the web going more “social”, but trust me, email is social and it CONVERTS.
Alice has some really cool visual step-by-step PLR here -> Step-by-Step PLR Guides
Shannon Cherry of Quick Tweaks for More Profit says:
Check out Shannon's Cool program (and get a special discount here: Quick Tweaks for More Profit
Lain Ehmann of Business Love Potion says:
I would love to say that I'm more organized than I am. But I've found that if I work too far out in the future, I actually lose the opportunity to take advantage of “surprises.” And in the internet world, there always seem to be surprises!
My calendar is driven heavily by several large, regularly scheduled events, and then I work backwards from those. Then I try to leave room to add those “surprises” I mentioned earlier. I don't like to send too many promo emails simultaneously, even for really great offers, so I often have to let opportunities go by for fear of over-promoting and burning out my list.
It's a constant juggling act. But since there aren't many really great affiliate offers in my main industry, it allows me to focus on my own products and events and really build those up.
Nancy Marmolejo of Viva Visibility Blog says:
In my business, we have a master calendar with all the promotions scheduled to go out. I can't tell you how valuable this is, because I used to verbally agree to things without double checking and we'd end up in email promo hell. Mostly it was me promoting so many people that my own promos got shadowed. That was a costly mistake, and fortunately something far in the past.
The general rule of thumb is that during a launch for one of my programs or products, we don't promote anyone else. That means saying no to speaking gigs and some juicy looking JV offers. But at the end of the day, I want my list to remember me and my business, not the 20 other businesses I put in front of them.
We've adopted a “2 is Enough” rule, where I can do 2 external promotions in a non-launch month. That number works for my business.
I have an ezine that goes out once a week, some people get a blog summary sent to them, and of course the occasional promo.
Connie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Secrets Explained says:
I travel quite a bit these days, so it becomes crucial to my business for me to maintain a dynamic – as opposed to a static – marketing calendar at all times. I know which promotions will be time sensitive well in advance, and add those in for the day or days I will be letting my list know about them. Then I go ahead and write the emails and save them in my folder according to the date. Later on I add them to the que, in case I want or need to make some changes to the copy.
If I will be flying one day and not near my computer, I go ahead and write those emails as well. I then que them up to go out on a specific day and time so I know my people will receive them while I am on the road or in the air.
The remainder of my emails are written ‘live'. This means that each day when I wake up and go to my computer I write a personal email about what is going on in my life and how it relates to what I am doing in my business. These emails always get the best response, and I believe that is due to the fact that they seem more natural and personal to my readers.
Be a fly on the wall as Connie coaches her student to 10K per month -> Get to 10K Coaching
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Wow. As usual, my friend shared more than I had expected. Thank you all.
Here's my philosophy.
My goal is to email my customers and leads something of value (content, offer, etc) a minimum of three times per week. I send more if I think of (or find) something cool to share above and beyond that.
The ONLY way that I can successfully do that is if I plan ahead. However, I'm pretty low tech about my methodology.
Leads and Customers.
I use old fashioned pen and paper. I write the days of the week and fill in the blanks. For instance, most Thursdays, I know I will be mailing about Expert Briefs. That helps me to have an excuse each week to mail. I can mail about the blog post alone or tie it into a reminder about another offer. Either way, I know that I have that one day per week ready to rock and roll. So then it's a matter of filling in the other days.
If I'm traveling, I'll write my messages and schedule them in advance. If I'm home, I may get a day ahead, but I really like the personalization of writing them and then hitting the send button. It just feels more genuine to me. Like writing to a friend.
I like to also email my affiliates weekly, but no less than monthly. Again, it helps to plan in advance what I'm releasing or if I am going to run any specials – and that gives me something to mail to my affiliates. And, if all else fails, I can whip up a quick little tool or piece of content that they can use to promote me. (This is what I sent them today: 101 Blog Title Ideas) You'll see a lot of those pieces of content also posted here in the “Free Content for Your Blog Friday” section.
I don't have a specific fancy method to my madness. I just make sure to prioritize my lists towards the top of all of my business activities. Everything else has to wait.
So, how about you? What do you do to plan your mailings?
Also, would you be interested in a course about list profits? I've been thinking that it would be fun to put one together. So, let me know what you think.
Well, my friends, I am off for the day. (After I mail my lists about this post…)
Hugs and appreciate you much.
Thanks for reading.
PS. If you want to know what mailing system I use… it's this one:
I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.
Christine BradySeptember 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm
When I saw this email pop up in my inbox, I knew it would be a good one 🙂
It’s interesting to hear the differing methods to email marketing – I wish I could be as planned as Terry Dean, but unfortunately, I fly by the seat of my pants most times –
Well, sometimes it sure does seem like it – I do mail every Tuesday without fail because that’s my newsletter day. That’s about the only mailing that’s planned though.
The rest of my near daily emails are, as Connie said, about my personal life and how it relates to business.
After reading these responses though, a little more organization and planning on my part would probably be a good idea 🙂
Have a great day!