Mar 30, 2007

Tip: Create An Email Newsletter Editorial Calendar

Okay, how many of you actually have time to send email newsletters on a very regular, consistent basis? How many of you just send whenever you have time, and when you do, it’s a struggle to think of what to say? I bet a lot of you are in the 2nd group.

Here’s an idea for you. Setup an editorial calendar for your email newsletter. 

Christopher Knight has some good guidelines over at Email Universe, but you can also just keep things really simple…

Just open up your Outlook or Apple calendar program. Think about how
your business performs throughout the year. Do you have seasonal peaks
and valleys, where some email newsletters might help? Real estate
agents can send "spring cleaning" tips to their clients in March (here’s a nice example). We
know a power generator dealer who sends hurricane preparation emails
and checklists around July. Car dealers could send
"prep your car for winter" tips in the fall. If Mothers Day is huge for your restaurant, send a newsletter a few weeks in advance, with a reminder to "make your reservations now."

If you sell software, you probably have a launch schedule for a new product or feature that you could plan around with survey campaigns, teaser campaigns, launch campaigns, and followup campaigns.

Whatever. Plan your content for the year, and set little
deadline reminders to beep at you.

For my own MonkeyWrench and MailChimp newsletters, I usually have some
idea of what I want in my emails 2 or 3 months in advance (well, at least the main stories and themes). I go ahead
and setup drafts for those campaigns in MailChimp. Throughout the weeks before each campaign, I usually come
across an interesting article or idea that supports my own content, so I’ll login to MailChimp and add
some quick blurbs or a link into my campaign for later. Otherwise, I’ll forget.

Hint: if you sell email marketing as a service to your clients, sitting down with them and planning an editorial calendar based on their seasonal sales and schedule would probably make you look very professional. Way better than scrambling every month or quarter to blast out a half-baked email at the last minute.

Credits: I got this idea while perusing Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days at the local bookstore. The book had a section on "setting up a marketing calendar" and thought it would be a nice trick for our small business clients who use MailChimp. The book’s got a lot of other nice ideas that small business owners might want to try. Two opposable thumbs up!