How To Plan An Email Marketing Campaign

email marketing campaign
In this guide we'll show you exactly how to plan an email marketing campaign in 7 steps.

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Here’s everything you need to know in order to start an email marketing campaign, as well as the best email marketing tools to use.

In this guide…

Why consider an email marketing campaign?

Are you looking to amplify your business, grow your brand recognition and gain repeat customers? If so, an email marketing campaign is exactly what you need. The rise of companies using digital marketing strategies has skyrocketed in the last ten years, and it’s not hard to see why!

how to plan an email marketing campaign
Image: SmartInsights

Every day 3.9 billion people across the planet log on to check their emails, and that number is expected to rise to more than 4.3 billion by 2023. Compared to other marketing strategies, email marketing may be one of the most powerful tools a business can use to put its brand out there.

If you are looking to increase sales, engage with your clients, or increase brand awareness, you should consider setting up an email marketing campaign. If you’re a newcomer to this type of marketing strategy don’t fear, we have put together this easy to use guide, containing the best email marketing tips, to help you build a successful marketing campaign.

What is email marketing?

Email Marketing is the process by which businesses and brands use emails to promote new products, services, and news about their operations. Think of it as like receiving a promotional pamphlet in the post, delivered to your inbox.

Companies will normally collect a list of email addresses from customers or subscribed clients, create content that is tailored to their clients, pack that in an email (with a call to action), and send it out to their mailing lists.

5 benefits of email marketing 

If you’re a business owner, you’ll constantly be on the lookout for new clients and opportunities to grow your business. There are 5 main benefits to email marketing. They are:

  1. Increasing sales.
  2. Increasing traffic to your website.
  3. Promoting your brand name out to a wider audience.
  4. Engaging with your community.
  5. Getting feedback on your services.

Yet people forget how important it is to engage with their clients or prospects and get feedback on their services or products. By sending emails directly to people who have signed up to your mailing list or have previously bought from your store, you are directly interacting with your customers and can use this tool to collect insights from your audience about their consumer experience.

Ultimately helping you improve your business.

Why you should be doing email marketing

By sending out exciting and eye-catching content to your followers, you can vastly increase the amount of exposure to your brand. This is a can be difficult to get right, as your emails have to stand out against the flood of other mail going into your target’s inbox.

73% of millennials say they’d prefer businesses to communicate with them via email, according to HubSpot. So, how to plan an email marketing campaign…

How to plan an email marketing campaign – 7 steps

Step 1: Clients

To start, you’ll need to identify the goals of your strategy. Do you want more sales? Are you looking to gain insights on your consumer’s journey? Once you have established your goals, you can focus on the key question of any marketing campaign which is, who is your target audience?

Normally your target audience is clients who have bought from you before, or prospects that have expressed an interest in using your products or services. To start reaching your client’s inbox, you need to get permission.

Remember GDPR? It’s illegal in the UK to direct-market to anyone’s inbox without their consent. So, you have to get prospective recipients to give their permission to receive marking information before you start adding them to your mailing list. One way to do this is to post ‘call-to-actions’ on your website.

For example, if you run a travel blog, at the end of each post, get people to sign up to your mailing list and offer them some sort of value proposition or a lead magnet to encourage them to sign-up. Many marketers offer their clients freebies, like a cheat sheet of resources, a free webinar, or a discount code. 

Signing-up to your email list could grant a website visitor access to exclusive content, insights, industry news or product offers. For now though, when offering a value proposition, keep in mind who your customer is, and offer them something that is going to create interest. 

Step 2: Pick an email marketing campaign service

When considering how to plan an email marketing campaign, it’s important to choose the right tool. You don’t want to have to use excel or an outdated email folder, if that can be avoided. 

Email marketing services can help you create highly engaging email content, send automated and personalised emails to a large audience, and segment your mailing list into small groups. Plus a good service provider will give you the ability to track and see how your email marketing campaign is performing.

Click here to compare email marketing services.

Step 3: Segment your mailing list

One of the most important things to do when looking at how to plan an email marketing campaign is to use your email tool provider to segment your mailing list and build content-specific email campaigns, tailored for each group.

For example, you might build a more detailed and comprehensive email for users who are frequent customers of your site, but for newer customers, you may send them a more basic introductory email to introduce them to the services you offer. As the emails each group will be more relevant to them, this will result in a higher open rate and greater engagement. 

Step 4: Write killer subject lines

Subject lines are so important as they are the first thing a subscriber will see in their inbox. It’s crucial you write compelling subject lines so you grab their attention immediately and encourage them to open the email. 

Remember you’re competing with – potentially – dozens of different commercial emails each day, all competing for that persons’ attention. Be different. 35% of email recipients open an email simply because of its subject line, according to Convince&Convert.

Keep your subject heading short and snappy, under 60 characters.

Step 5: Create an eye-catching design

How well designed your emails are, is proportionate to how many leads you will gain from your email marketing campaign. It is critical to create an eye-catching design that will engage the recipient and encourage them to take action. 

The best emails will use a vertical layout, keeping the email looking clean and fresh, and avoiding too many images. Using sites like Mailchimp or SendinBlue, you can pick from their database of templates and then use their drag and drop feature to create the email. 

Step 6: Get personal with your content

Email marketers only have around 3 seconds to catch their reader’s attention, according to Movable Ink. That’s not a lot of time, so you need to be creative, but personalise the content of your email to grab your audience’s attention straight away.

You want to align your subject line with the content of your email. Use your email marketing service to create an eye-catching email, with content that will build trust with your readers. You want to present yourself as an authority in your industry.

Make sure you keep content concise and targeted to the audience, as readers get easily bored when there is too much text. Plus, write in a way that speaks to the person directly, as if you’ve met before. Add some humour, tell a story.

Humanising your emails puts the reader in a more trusting mindset that you’re not just another automated email trying to sell them something. Give value to the reader. Our top tip: Use power words to build greater engagement in your email copy.

Words like freeinstantly and new are 3 examples of persuasive power words that can create action among your readers.

Step 7: Add a call to action

email marketing campaign call to action
Image: MailerLite

You’ve created and sent the perfect email. Your target reader opens it and reads it. What do you want them to do next? This is your opportunity to direct the reader to a landing page on your website, your social media, or to buy a product.

Keep call to actions simple and easy to follow. To achieve maximum engagement, make sure your call to actions are personalised to provide them with benefits they need, plus there is no harm in displaying them in large boxes on your email, making them easy to find.

Extra tips – how to plan an email marketing campaign

Optimise your emails for mobile use

45% of all email opens happen on a mobile device, according to, so you need to make sure that your email content looks good and is functional on a mobile phone or tablet.

As most people use their smartphones more than their computers, you have more chance of engaging someone on their mobile device, so make sure your campaigns are optimised for all platforms!

Test your email marketing campaign & measure performance

Testing your emails and analysing the performance will provide you with better insights on how to improve your marketing strategy. Most email marketing services will provide you with data insight tools to help you measure which emails are performing the best.

Use email automation to schedule your emails

To keep up engagement with your subscribers, you need to send them emails on a fairly regular basis to ensure that they are constantly aware of what you’re doing. Don’t send too many though! This can become an annoyance for your clients.

The best email marketing tools will build a set schedule of emails, which they will sequence to be sent to their mailing list after, for example, a specific product launch. The perks of having an automated schedule of emails mean that your subscribers will never experience a blackout, where they won’t hear from you.

This means you can constantly build greater relationships and develop new leads with your community. Plan out how far apart you want your emails to be sent and mix your emails up so that not all are offering a quick sell, but some are offering value or information to your subscribers to help you build a better relationship with them.

You can plan out your automation sequences using your email marketing service provider who will schedule your emails for you and will deliver them in time with your plans. For example, you could try building an online course subscription that will email your subscribers once a month with their next lessons.

Need some inspiration?

When it comes to your email marketing campaign it is sometimes hard to strike a winning formula. That’s why it is often great to look out for what other brands are doing.

Take a look at some examples of some of the top email marketing campaigns on the web right now. One of our favorite emails on this list is SweetGreen’s “summer is going strong” campaign.

The design is clean and has some eye-watering photos of their latest menu on it. Plus, the copy is short and snappy using motivational words like “up-your game.”

This alongside their large call to action button stating “taste the summer” shows great examples of how the brand is using power words to engage with their call to action, and get you to go eat their food. HubSpot has a range of free email marketing templates, you can download for free, to help you kick start your email marketing campaign!

Email marketing FAQs

Should I send marketing emails weekly?

Depending on the content of those emails, yes. It’s good to keep clients in touch with your brand and what you’re doing. On average, email marketers send out about 3 emails per week, but remember to mix those emails up as a combination of value and sales emails to keep your subscribers engaged in your brand!

When is the best time to schedule my emails for?

Again this depends on who your target audience is. For example, if you’re a suit tailor, you may want to target city workers commuting to work on the 8:30 AM train. You’ll need to do your market research to find out the best time to target your subscribers.

Should I buy an email list?


Firstly, those subscribed to that list haven’t consented to hear from you so this could present a GDPR issue. Secondly, these people are not tailored to your brand and will probably have little interest in your services.

You need to build a mailing list with people you can target as actual leads, that have an interest or a need for your brand.

Email marketing campaign conclusion

Compared with other marketing sources, email marketing can drive the most conversions, even ahead of social media. It is one of the best ways of providing your site with greater traffic and increased sales.

But what’s more important is that it can help you build greater relationships with your customers, enabling you to tailor your services to better meet their needs, thus improving your business, increasing your sales, and amplifying your brand’s image.

Click here to compare email marketing services. 

Did this email marketing campaign guide help you? If so please recommend DigitalSupermarket.

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