You’ve already done so much to make your email marketing campaign smart and effective. Now take a minute to write a timeline for creating each email newsletter. Add deadlines in your calendar for when each step should happen in order for you to send your campaign on time. This is the final step in preparing for a successful email marketing campaign.

Your timeline and steps will vary, depending on your industry, type of content and calendar.

Here’s an example email marketing timeline:

DAY 1: Jot down the topics you want to include in your newsletter and some ideas for pictures to include.

DAY 2: Write out what you want to say about each topic, and pull the pictures you want to use into one folder on your computer. (Make sure you have permission to use the photos—don’t just grab something from Google images.)

DAY 3: Sign into your email marketing program and create your email campaign. Read over it a few times looking for any grammatical errors or typos. You should also send a test email of your campaign to yourself and a friend or colleague who could read over the email and check for errors and typos.

DAY 4: Send your campaign

Now you’ve outlined the steps in creating your newsletter and you know how much time you need. With that information, go back to your calendar and jot down the date you’ll send your campaign and the date you’ll start working on the campaign.

Don’t forget to take holidays into account when sketching out your newsletter deadlines. You may want to send out an exclusive offer before a holiday like Valentines Day to encourage your readers to purchase a Valentine’s gift from your site. Or you may want to avoid sending near a holiday if you’re sending industry news when businesses are likely to be closed.

Here are MMP’s and Just Bulbs’ timelines for their email-marketing plans.

MMP’S Timeline for November

Day 1:
Topics to cover in Nov. campaign:

  • Industry updates
  • Ignition lands Olympics campaign, Home Depot looking for new agency
  • Reaching moms through Twitter and Facebook
  • More moms are using social networks. Are they interacting with your brand?
  • Going green
  • The more companies that jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon, the more discerning customers become. If you want the benefits of “going green,” you’ve got to prove it.

Determine Images to use:

  • A mom at a computer
  • Green campaigns
  • Ignition and Home Depot logos

DAY 2:
Write a summary for each campaign topic and include links to full stories on research sites, purchase rights to images on iStockphoto.

DAY 3:
Create campaign in email marketing program and send test to agency’s proofing department to proofread.

DAY 4:
Make corrections found by proofing department, send campaign.

Just Bulbs’ Timeline for November

DAY 1:
Determine Thanksgiving special offer, gather product reviews and product photos.

  • Special offer: 25% off all Christmas light bulb products for newsletter subscribers only
  • Product review: Gerson vs. Vickerman—which brand is best for your outdoor holiday light needs

Product images: request from webmaster

  • Show images of each holiday light gallery
  • Icicle lights
  • Mini lights
  • Net lights
  • Novelty lights

DAY 2:
Prepare to send test email.
Receive product images from webmaster
Input all content (text and images) for Thanksgiving newsletter into email marketing program

DAY 3:
Send test email of newsletter to John and Sara for proofing.

DAY 4:
Send campaign