You know you want to do some email marketing, but you’re not sure where to start. You think you might need a “Plan of Action,” but that sounds complicated and time consuming. Let’s face it: You’re too darn busy to spend hours and hours developing an email- marketing plan. This series is for you.

You’re smart to explore email marketing for your business. Your competitors certainly are! AdSherpa says that in 2011, over 67% of organizations plan to increase their spending on email marketing in 2012 (pdf). That’s because they know that next to a well-optimized website, a well-informed and well-built email subscriber list is the best tool for increasing sales.

That’s why you should have a clear plan for your email marketing campaign before you start. An email-marketing plan is easy to put together—we’ll take you through all the steps. We’ve included two fictional case studies. We’ll look at how these sample companies might complete each step in the planning process. Let’s meet them:

Mastermind Marketing Professionals (MMP)

MMP is a well-known marketing group with an impressive portfolio of clients.
MMP is considered an industry leader, and they want to keep it that way.
MMP would love to be considered THE industry leader.


Just Bulbs

Just Bulbs is an online resource for all things light bulb.
They started out as a small retail store but spent the last five years positioning themselves as an international light bulb e-commerce store.



Before you start putting together email campaigns, you probably want to define your audience. Once you get a good idea of the folks reading your newsletters, it’ll be easier to decide what you want to say to them.

Who do you want to be the primary readers of your email campaigns? Industry leaders and peers? Current and potential customers or donors? Family and friends?

Once you define the group or groups you want to send to, you may even want to jot down a few bullet points to help define them a littlemore. Maybe a few key words that describe the people in the group and what the group will want to get out of your campaign. This will help you keep your newsletter content relevant to that group, and ultimately help ensure the success of your email marketing.

MMP wants their email communication to reach industry leaders and peers. They plan to use their email newsletters to help them gain even more recognition in their industry.

Marketing industry leaders and peers:

  • Looking for information about the hottest marketing trends and what the next hot trend will be
  • Interested in market trends gathered from in-depth consumer research
  • Interested in industry news and gossip

Just Bulbs wants to reach current customers to keep them informed of sales, special offers and new products. So:

Current Just Bulbs customers:

  • Want product information and reviews—which bulbs are the best?
  • Want to know about the newest niche light bulbs on the market
  • Want access to special offers and sales
Who do you want to reach with your email marketing campaign? Identify at least three different targets for an email campaign, and choose one to begin with.