The Ideal Email Marketing Workflow (Emily Ryan)

Emily Ryan

When you see an email come into your inbox, you might not realize the work that has gone into creating that simple email. Even if it’s a simple graphic, some text, and a button, there is usually an entire workflow that has been followed to get to that end result of landing in the inbox.

When creating an email marketing campaign, having a clear process to follow each time will ensure your emails meet all best practices and are free of the dreaded typo or bad links.

This is one of the things I really love about email: it’s a very cut and dry process each time, with a start and a finish.

The ideal steps that we will cover for sending a successful email campaign are:

  • Planning

  • Design

  • Formatting

  • Testing

  • Scheduling

  • Reporting

The ideal email marketing workflow follows these steps:

1. Identify your target audience for this email

Before you even begin to think about the design of your email, you must first determine who your target audience is for this specific campaign.

What exact segment of your subscribers should this go to: your entire audience, or a specific group/tag within that audience? Maybe a certain age range or location, or those with certain interests?

When you know exactly who you want to target with your campaign, the more successful it will be.

2. Determine the goal for your email campaign

After you know who you need to reach, you should determine your ultimate goal with that campaign. Know that it doesn’t have to be to sell something. Your goal could be to simply deliver great content or get people to click and read your latest blog. The goal could be to get them to register for an event or simply to educate them on a topic.

Choose a goal and keep that in mind during the entire process of creating your campaign. If you know you want people to click and register for an event, then you entire email needs to be focused on that specific action.

3. Create the content

When you have a clear audience and goal in mind, then creating your content will come a lot easier. Again, keep your end goal in mind.

For example, if you want people to register for an upcoming event, your content would consist of:

  • Banner image at the top to promote the event

  • A few details about the event

  • A button for people to register

You can lay your content out in whatever makes sense to you—on a notepad, in a Google Doc, or even in a spreadsheet.

The best email are simple emails.

It’s important to keep your content simple. Don’t try to do too much with each email. Keep it to one main idea and one call-to-action.

And the best thing you can do it create content that is interesting, useful, valuable…even fun. Great content will keep your subscribers coming back.

4. Create your email template or design

With your audience and content in mind, you can now create your email design/template.

In most ESPs, you can select a basic template to work from. You should consider the main goal of your email and design your layout with that in mind—keeping the most important information up at the top if you can.

A reminder that people spend 10 seconds, on average, reading an email, so keep it as simple as possible.

5. Format your email

Once you have your email template ready, you can take your content and format the text and images into your layout.

Formatting your email consists of making sure your email reads well and that are fonts and colors are consistent.

Formatting your email properly for mobile devices is also important. Most people are viewing their emails on their phone, so always keep that in mind when you format your text, viewing the mobile and desktop previews equally.

6. Test your email

This might be the most important step of all, and why it’s important to have a workflow.

Testing your email ensures that your email will render correctly on different devices such as phones and iPads and will also ensure your email works correctly: that all links go to the correct pages, that images load quickly, and that your email is accessible to all. Testing also allows you to fix the dreaded typo or incorrect subject line.

It’s best to create your own QA checklist of everything you need to double-check before sending (such as links, spelling, image alt text, etc.). Having a simple checklist for this step is a great idea.

TIP: Send your tests to a few different people and have them view on their mobile devices. You’ll find that others catch things you might have overlooked.

7. Schedule your email

Once you have tested your email and all works properly, then schedule your email. Keep in mind the ideal send time for YOUR subscribers/audience. Try to think about when your audience for this email would most likely open this campaign. Then schedule away!

8. Review the stats

Now, probably the most important step comes AFTER you’ve sent your campaign.

The best way to measure if your email was successful is to dig into the stats and the reporting. Look to see how many people opened your email and what percentage (average open rate is 20%). See how many people clicked your links and what links they clicked on. Notice if there were bounced emails or unsubscribes. All of these things will help you determine if you need to make adjustments for your next campaign.

If you’re not looking at the stats after each email, you’re missing a key opportunity to learn more about what your audience likes.

Lastly, If you follow these eight steps, you’ll not only have an effective email campaign, but you’ll most likely have a much higher ROI. Following a simple workflow or process makes things a lot easier and ensures you’re sending emails that convert!

Emily Ryan @emily_emails
Obsessed with email.

Tell Us Below:

Do you have a process for your email marketing?