How to Create Your Strategic Email Marketing Plan

Every email that gets sent must be part of an overall marketing plan.  Think about your  marketing plan in terms of an expanded law of reciprocity.  The basic law of reciprocity says “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”  Another version says “Whatever you give will be given back to you in equal measure…good and bad.”  And one other reciprocity quote, often applied to business is “Value given for value received.”

The expanded version that I think helps you develop a good marketing plan…your email marketing strategy included…is more like this: “Give everything with great passion and joy, and provide the opportunity for others to share.” 

When you have a product or service, care deeply about it.  Learn all you can about it, and find others who share your passion.  Promote others as well as yourself, and create competition if none exists.  Be generous in all that you do.  The law of reciprocity says “what goes around, comes around.”  The expanded law says not to worry about from where, or when.  When you keep providing opportunities, your opportunity will appear. 

Consider your unique value proposition.  Many marketers believe this means pitting yourself against your competition…sometimes against your friends.  That, however, is a lie, or a mistaken perception.  If you examine your product or service carefully, you can undoubtedly find something different about it.  And, if you can’t find something different about it…create it.  Maybe it’s your shortened delivery time (think Dominoes…30 minutes or less or its free); maybe it’s your superior quality (think Whole Foods), or perhaps it’s the image of poppin’ fresh (think Pillsbury Doughboy); there is always a way to distinguish yourself from others.  You have a unique value proposition.  If you don’t already know what it is, search until you discover it or create it.

Develop your marketing plan around your unique value proposition. What passion…what joy…what relief from fear, need, or frustration will your end user get?  How can you share it?

Clarify your intent.  To begin with, you’ll want a core concept…a single sentence that communicates to the prospect or customer that your product or service has a certain value that he or she must have… that they cannot get anywhere else. 

When you’re ready to design your e-mail campaign, do the following 3 things:

Define Your Purpose:  What is the intent of  your email campaign?  What do you want it to accomplish?  This is the goal that all e-mails will be centered around.

Identify Your Audience:  How big is your audience, how segmented…how many different target markets are you writing for?  For example, if you have  a catalogue store with a huge variety of tools and small equipment, the email you send to your customers in Miami, Florida wouldn’t (normally) be a description of the superior snowblower that would be of great benefit in a Montana mountain town, with its back-saving features and cold-weather starter.  Instead,  you might be describing the  ultra-quiet, lightweight blower that quickly and efficiently removes beach sand from patios and decks. 

Develop Your Strategy:  How can you position your company with every offer?  While you may desire to provide tons of detail to support every aspect of your unique value proposition, focus on the one core concept that sets you apart.  Even when you know your prospects and customers have more than sufficient cognitive ability to process and make a fully considered decision about the relative value your product or service can deliver, most simply don’t have time.   Therefore, they will normally focus on a single, reliable feature.  When your core concept is clearly set (think “You’re in good hands with Allstate” ) your strategy is to positively exploit their reliance and compliance.  Without extra words, without confusing or unnecessary information, and without any fraudulent intent.

The expanded law of reciprocity begins and ends with giving.  Design your strategic email marketing plan to share your passion and joy with your prospects to fill their needs, or relieve their fears and frustrations by giving the best value available anywhere.  Period.

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