I’ve worked with a lot of organizations that have been sending email marketing campaigns for a long time (10+ years), but often, no one has ever stepped back and asked why they are sending certain types of emails, nor have they revisited their overall strategy.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of email marketing, such as creating targeted segments, engaging designs, and effective deliverability tactics.

While these things are all important, there should be a strategy which guides the type of emails you send, how often you send them and who you send them to. All too often, brands haven’t thought about the complete lifecycle of their subscribers and simply treat everyone the same.

If this sounds familiar, you can own your email strategy like a boss by following the 4 steps in this post.

1. Create a mission statement for your email program

Your first step in owning your email strategy should be to create a mission statement which outlines the core purpose of email marketing for your organization.

Whether it’s to generate revenue, nurture leads, educate, or retain customers, it should be very clear in your head — and everyone else’s — what the purpose of your email marketing is and isn’t. With the purpose defined you can use your mission statement to help carry out the next three steps.

2. Set SMART objectives and track them

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely, but have set SMART objectives for your email marketing?

Because you have already created your mission statement, you can now align your objectives with it and what you want your subscribers to do. Then you can ensure you’ve set up ways to track performance against these objectives.

All too often I meet email marketers who are too focused on tracking and improving basic email-related metrics, such as opens and clicks, that they forget about the other metrics that drive the business like conversions, average order value (AOV), total sales and leads generated. These metrics are easy to track and measure with our Google Analytics integration.

3. Develop a comprehensive contact plan

A contact plan is a useful way of mapping out the sequential order of the emails that you want to send, your segmentation and frequency.

Think of it as the who, what and where of your email strategy. It’s important to ask yourself and your marketing team why you send certain types of emails and to think critically about what provides the most value for your subscribers during this process.

I find it easiest to map out this type of plan on a whiteboard first. Start at the very beginning of your funnel and keep in mind that you may have several different funnels for different types of customers or products, so make sure that you clearly define who you’re creating each contact plan for.

email marketing contact plan


Depending on your business model you might begin with lead nurture emails or a welcome program. The idea is to map out the sequential order of emails in your current program and then expand and improve from there.

4. Present your strategy and get buy-in

To get internal buy-in from management and other people within your organization, it’s imperative to include them in your strategy and planning process.

It may be most effective to start with the basics, and hold an educational training session on email marketing best practices and concepts for any internal stakeholders or people who aren’t familiar. These are oftentimes the people that request irrelevant, untimely campaigns to be sent at short notice. Providing them some basic knowledge can be important for getting them onboard with your new strategy.

You should now be ready to present your contact plan to the entire business. Be sure to clearly outline your new mission statement, your objectives, how it will be tracked and how the new contact plan is going to help you achieve results.

Completing these 4 steps is important to chart a new course in owning your email strategy like a boss.

Wrap up

It’s easy to sit back and go with the status quo, but it’s much more rewarding to go back to the drawing board and own your email strategy so you can reap the rewards of increased ROI and results.

  • Stephan Hovnanian

    excellent advice, Andrew. Doing the work up front can make your program so much more effective long-term.

  • Jessie Russell

    I found this article a really great starting point when starting a communication review for our business. Great way to put the process in perspective before getting started.

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