Planning an Email Strategy


Have the content and scheduling in place for the best results.   

By Stacey Zable


As with any aspect of marketing, emails need forethought and the right timing to get the responses small businesses desire. An email sequence is something that can be pre-planned and be ready to execute depending on where the prospect or client is in the sales cycle.  

From Stranger to Spender

“An automated sequence is what helps you generate that know, like, and trust factor with your clients, and takes you from a stranger in their inbox to someone they want to spend money with, someone they want to engage with, someone they want to build a long term relationship with,” says Abbi Perets, a professional copywriter and founder of Successful Freelance Mom

Perets adds that “an overall email marketing strategy is also critical.” She continues: “You want people to go on a very specific journey when they come into your world. You want them to learn about certain things at certain times, and you want to meet them where they are in their journey.” 

Email communication strategist Ashley K. DeLuca, founder and CEO of Ashley K. Deluca, also stresses the need to having a plan in place.  

“You can keep it simple, but intentionality is key here,” she says. “Nothing is more confusing than receiving emails for something you already purchased or getting emails that are not relevant. This gives us the ability to set-up evergreen systems that allow you to move people through a journey from the first time you meet to retention and beyond.”

Lucky Number Seven

Emails to clients are not a one-and-done type of marketing. According to Damon Petite, Director of Product Marketing for Mailchimp, a marketing platform for small businesses, “studies have shown that consumers need to see a message up to seven times before converting.” He adds: “Getting the engagement you want from your emails requires knowing how to send the right messages at the right time. If you go too long without sending communications to customers, they may not keep your brand in mind as readily as they would if they were receiving personalized and targeted emails regularly.” 

Build it and They Will Come 

Before you can send the email sequence, you need to have an email list. Petite stresses that businesses should not buy lists. “You can’t trust the quality of those lists and your content may appear to be spam, which will impact your delivery rates,” he says. 

Instead have a content plan and use pop-up forms. “Useful content on your site is one of the top ways to add value before you ask someone for their email address,” he says. “Every visitor to your site is a prospective new customer. Make sure you have engaging (but not annoying) points where you can grab their attention and their contact information.” 

Brandon Olson, an educator with AWeber which offers digital marketing products for small businesses, says “to build an email list, you first need a strong incentive that is grounded in the needs or desires of your audience.” 

Olson adds that the incentive should not only be an opt-in form on your website, but also should be shared on your social media channels, encouraging people to sign-up. 

“Building an email list is about knowing where your potential customers are hanging out, and providing value in those spaces,” says Perets. “You need to be visible, and you need to be showing up as a person and providing real value for people. They need a reason to sign up for your list, and ‘get my weekly newsletter’ is not going to do it. How many weekly newsletters do you read?” 

Perets, for example, helps clients create free email courses for their customers. “Teach them something specific and relevant over email, and you have a real reason to be in their inbox and build that relationship.”