How To Create A Email Marketing Calendar (+Templates & Best Practices)

Written by: Chris Donald
Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

 No matter how well you plan your email marketing campaigns, it gets chaotic. With different campaigns, segmented lists, and varying send times, keeping everything in order is difficult. But fret not! I will introduce you to your new best friend – the dynamic email marketing calendar.

Now, you may be thinking, “Another calendar? Really?” But this isn’t just any calendar. It is your go-to solution against inbox anarchy. This blog covers the process of creating and organizing a dynamic email marketing calendar. Let’s check it out.

What Is An Email Marketing Calendar?

An email marketing calendar visually represents your email marketing strategy. It is a living, breathing document that keeps you in the loop of all your email activities. This includes:

  • Details of the target audience
  • Content of the emails
  • Send times and campaign schedules
  • Targeted email services providers
  • Significance of email cadences

Thus, it helps you create a roadmap that details each step of your email marketing journey. The calendar ensures consistency, improves team collaboration, and significantly improves deliverability scores, keeping your campaign on track at all times.

What All You Should Add To Your Email Marketing Calendar?

A few key ingredients make up every successful email calendar. These include:

  • Campaign Name: This is your email campaign’s identifier – a simple way to understand the theme or purpose of the emails being sent.
  • Email Owner: Signifies the person who is responsible for the campaign. Having clear ownership ensures accountability and streamlines communication.
  • Status: Denotes if the campaign is in progress, scheduled, or completed. Keeping track of the status of each campaign helps track progress and identify potential bottlenecks.
  • Target Email List: This is where you specify which segment of your audience will receive the particular email. It helps tailor the content and timing to suit their specific preferences.
  • Send Time: Specifies when the email will hit your subscriber’s inbox, allowing you to optimize open rates and engagement.
  • Email Content: A brief overview of the content of the email. This could include the subject line, key ideas, and CTAs.
  • Goals: Whether boosting sales, nurturing leads, or increasing website traffic, specifying your goal will keep your campaigns focused and purposeful.
  • Metrics: (KPIs) to track could include open rates, click-through rates, conversions, etc. It will help measure the success of your campaigns and drive future strategies accordingly.
  • Visuals and Assets: Identify and track the visual elements and other digital assets necessary for the campaign.
  • Review and Feedback: Includes details of post-campaign analysis—lists down what worked, what didn’t, and any insights gained for future campaigns.

Email Marketing Calendar Templates To Get Started

Email Marketing Calendar Templates To Get Started (1)
We have created this google sheet that you can start using right away.

How To Create A Email Marketing Calendar

How to create a email marketing calendar

With the foundational knowledge, let’s dive into creating and organizing your calendar. Here are the key steps to follow:

1) Select The Right Tool

First, you must choose the right tools to bring your calendar to life. Spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel or more robust project management tools like Trello or Asana work well. Select a tool that fits your team’s workflow and is flexible enough to accommodate all email marketing needs.

2) Input Key Elements

Once you have your tools in place, the next step is to start populating your calendar with the essential elements we discussed earlier:

Key Element Description
Campaign Name Identifier of your email campaign.
Email Owner Person responsible for the campaign.
Status of Email Campaign Indicates if the campaign is in progress, scheduled, or completed.
Target Email List Segment of your audience that will receive the email.
Send Time The time when the email will be sent to the subscriber’s inbox.

Remember, such detailing is crucial. It provides a quick snapshot of your campaign at any given moment.

3) Determine Your Avatars

An ‘avatar’ is a detailed profile of your customer segments. To define them, you must focus on demographics, interests, buying behaviors, etc. Understanding your avatars will guide the rest of your email marketing strategy.

For instance, you’re a technology company that sells software solutions to different customer segments. Here’s what your avatars might look like:

Avatar Demographics Interests Buying Behaviors
Tech Enthusiast Age 18-30, Students or early professionals, Mixed gender Latest tech trends, Coding, Gaming Purchases during sales, Interested in new product launches
IT Professionals Age 25-45, IT job role, Mixed gender Productivity tools, Software updates, Industry news Consistent buyers, Value quality and customer support
Corporate Decision Makers Age 35-55, Managers or Executives, Mixed gender Business growth, Technology upgrades, Cost-effective solutions Strategic buyers, Value long-term benefits and ROI

4) Segment Your Audience

Next, match your avatars to your email lists. In practice, this is equivalent to segmenting your audience. Segmentation ensures that your emails hit the right inboxes, increasing your chances of engagement. 

For instance, the following table summarizes how you can use segmentation to your advantage for improved engagement:

Audience Segment Matching Avatar Specific Email Campaigns
Young Professionals Avatar 1 Career Development Webinar, New Product Announcements
Tech Enthusiasts Avatar 2 Tech Tips Newsletter, Exclusive Software Previews
Retirees Avatar 3 Health and Wellness Tips, Special Discounts

5) Determine Optimal Send Times

Send times can make or break your email campaign. Thus, it is vital to identify when your audience is most likely to open emails. Don’t forget to consider time zones if your audience is spread globally.

For example, data analysis might reveal the following optimal times for specific demographics:

Audience Segment Optimal Send Time
Young Professionals Tuesday 1 PM
Tech Enthusiasts Saturday 11 AM
Retirees Wednesday 10 AM

6) Add Goals and KPIs

In your calendar, add a column or section for your goals and KPIs. These could include targets for open rates, click-through rates, conversions, etc. It’s essential to have these in view as they’ll inform your strategy and measure success.

Email Campaign Goal Key Performance Indicators
Campaign 1 Increase website traffic Click-through rate
Campaign 2 Boost sales Conversion rate
Campaign 3 Nurture leads Open rate, click-through rate

7) Plan The Email Cadence

Email cadence dictates the frequency with which you send emails to subscribers. Plan this to maintain consistency and avoid overwhelming your audience. Remember, quality over quantity!

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
1 New Product Announcement Weekly Newsletter
2 Special Discount Offer Weekly Newsletter
3 Upcoming Event Invite Weekly Newsletter
4 Customer Success Story Weekly Newsletter

8) Ideal Subject Lines and Content

Start brainstorming compelling subject lines and engaging content for your email campaigns. Jot these down in your calendar to guide your copywriting process. Also, ensure each aligns with your brand voice and campaign goals.

Email Campaign Subject Line Content Highlight
New Product Announcement “Introducing Our Latest Innovation!” Details about the new product’s features and benefits.
Special Discount Offer “Exclusive Discount Just For You!” Announcement of the discount with promo code.
Weekly Newsletter “Your Weekly Dose of Inspiration” Curated content relevant to the audience.

9) Integrate Digital Assets

Whether it’s visuals, downloadable content, or links, digital assets are a big part of your email campaigns. Organize and track these in your calendar to ensure everything’s ready when it’s time to hit ‘send’.

Here is an example table that highlights how you can map critical assets to respective campaigns:

Email Campaign Visuals Links Other Assets
New Product Announcement Product images Landing page link Downloadable product brochure
Special Discount Offer Discount graphic Direct purchase link Promo code
Weekly Newsletter Thematic images Relevant blog posts Infographic

10) Reviewing and Updating

It is critical to treat your calendar as a living document. Regularly reviewing and updating it based on campaign performance, team feedback, and changing business goals will only boost engagement in the long term by weeding out bad strategies.

Email Campaign Initial Goal Actual Result Updates Needed
New Product Announcement 25% open rate 30% open rate None
Special Discount Offer 15% conversion rate 10% conversion rate Improve call-to-action
Weekly Newsletter 35% click-through rate 28% click-through rate Improve content relevance

11) Constant A/B Testing

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of constant A/B testing. Testing different elements of your emails (subject lines, send times, content, etc.) will help you identify what works best for your audience. Note these tests in your calendar to ensure you’re constantly improving and optimizing.

Email Element Variant A Variant B Winner
Subject Line “Save Money Now!” “Exclusive Discount Inside!” Variant B
Send Time Tuesday 1 PM Tuesday 3 PM Variant A
Content Product-focused Storytelling Variant B

Email Marketing Calendar Best Practices

Email Marketing Calendar best practices

Here are some email marketing calendar best practices you can follow to get the best results

1) Align Email Marketing Goals With Overall Business Objectives

Ensure that your email marketing efforts are not taking place in isolation. Instead, they must be closely tied to your broader business objectives. For instance, these may include boosting customer engagement, increasing product awareness, growing sales, or nurturing leads. Your email marketing efforts should take shape per the end goals of such objectives.

Steps To Align Your Email Marketing Goals With Your Overall Business Objectives:

Identify your business objectives: Start by clearly defining your overall business goals. They could range from boosting brand awareness to increasing revenue.

Define relevant email marketing goals: Next, determine how your email marketing can support these business objectives. For example, if your business goal is to increase product sales, an email marketing goal could be to grow your click-through rate.

Develop targeted email campaigns: Once your goals are defined, create email campaigns that aim to fulfill these goals. This might involve promotional campaigns, newsletters, or lead nurturing emails.

Measure and Adjust: Finally, track the success of your email campaigns in achieving these goals, and adjust your strategies as necessary.

Callout Box: Remember, aligning your email marketing goals with your business objectives ensures that all your marketing efforts are working towards a common goal.

This strategic alignment not only makes your email marketing more effective but also contributes to your company’s overall bottom line. Always keep the big picture in mind!

2) Use A Relevant Email Calendar Template

An email marketing calendar template serves as your roadmap for all email communications. It helps you plan, organize, and track all your email campaigns effectively. However, one size doesn’t fit all. Your chosen template should cater to your needs and align with your marketing strategy.

Steps To Implement :

  • Assess Your Needs: The first step is understanding your email marketing requirements. Do you send out daily newsletters? Weekly product updates? Or perhaps seasonal promotions? Your unique needs should guide your choice of template.
  • Research Templates: Spend time researching different templates. Some may offer advanced features like task assignment and real-time collaboration, while others might be simple spreadsheets.
  • Customize the Template: After selecting a template, customize it to fit your needs. You might want to add fields for the campaign name, target audience, send date, key performance indicators (KPIs), etc.
  • Implement and Adjust: Start using your chosen template and be open to making adjustments along the way. The best templates evolve with your changing needs and provide the proper support for your email marketing initiatives.

Callout Box: Keep in mind a well-chosen and customized email calendar template can significantly streamline your processes and improve your campaign’s efficiency. It’s more than a simple tool. It is the backbone of your email marketing strategy. Choose wisely, and don’t hesitate to refine it along the way.

3) Keep Your Calendar Updated At All Times

An up-to-date calendar ensures that all team members are on the same page and that there are no surprises or missed deadlines. An outdated or inaccurate calendar can lead to confusion, missed opportunities, and even harm your brand’s credibility.

Steps to ensure your email calendar is continually updated:

  • Assign Responsibility: Appoint a dedicated person or team responsible for keeping the calendar up-to-date. This accountability will ensure regular updates and checks.
  • Automate Updates: Where possible, integrate your email service provider with your calendar for automatic updates. This could include scheduling emails or updating campaign results.
  • Regular Reviews: Hold regular team reviews to discuss upcoming campaigns and verify the calendar details. This team-wide visibility promotes collaboration and helps catch any potential oversights.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Lastly, understand that changes are a part of any marketing strategy. Be prepared to make changes and adjustments to your calendar as needed.

Callout Box: Remember, a well-maintained calendar is the key to staying organized and on track with your campaigns. It’s a living document that needs consistent attention and updating. Consistent, small efforts here can go a long way to ensure the success of your email marketing efforts.

4) Create A Separate Calendar For Each Major Campaign

Each marketing campaign you run likely has unique goals, timelines, and target audiences. By creating a separate calendar for each, you can maintain a clear focus, ensure better organization, and prevent cross-campaign confusion.

Steps to create and manage separate calendars for each significant campaign:

  • Identify Major Campaigns: Start by identifying your major campaigns. These could be seasonal promotions, new product launches, or customer nurturing sequences.
  • Create Dedicated Calendars: For each identified campaign, create a separate calendar detailing the specific emails, send dates, and target segments.
  • Integrate with a Master Calendar: Also maintain a master calendar that provides a high-level view of all ongoing email marketing activities.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly review each calendar and make necessary adjustments based on campaign performance or changes in strategy.

Callout Box: Maintaining separate calendars for each major campaign allows you to be more focused and organized, ensuring no email goes out without a purpose. Meanwhile, a master calendar provides a bird’s-eye view to ensure consistency and avoid campaign conflicts. The key is to find the right balance that works for your team.

5) Make Your Calendar Accessible And Editable For Better Collaboration

Email marketing is a collaborative effort. By making your calendar accessible and editable by all teammates, you encourage a more transparent work environment. This leads to improved coordination, shared responsibility, and fewer errors.

Steps to make your calendar more collaborative:

  • Choose a Collaborative Platform: Select a platform that supports real-time collaboration, like Google Sheets, Trello, or Asana.
  • Set Access Levels: Grant access to relevant team members. However, manage access levels to maintain control and avoid any unintended changes.
  • Encourage Regular Updates: Make it a team policy to update the calendar regularly. This keeps everyone in sync and up-to-date with relevant activities.
  • Promote Transparency: Encourage team members to communicate changes or updates on the platform. This keeps everyone informed.

Callout Box: Remember, collaboration is the key to successful email marketing. By making your calendar accessible and editable, you’re promoting a collaborative culture that can result in more successful and efficient campaigns. After all, teamwork makes the dream work!

6) Use Color-Coding Extensively

Color-coding your calendar is a practical way to add clarity, reduce confusion, and make navigating easier. By assigning different colors to various campaigns, statuses, or email types, you can quickly get a bird’s eye view of everything.

Steps to color-code your email marketing calendar:

  • Differentiate Categories: Start by assigning different colors to different types of emails (e.g., newsletters, promotions), campaign statuses (e.g., draft, scheduled, sent), or even other teams.
  • Maintain Consistency: Be consistent with the color scheme you decide. The color should represent the same category across all your calendars and campaigns.
  • Create a Color Key: For easy reference, create a color key or legend. This will help all team members understand what each color signifies.
  • Avoid Overcomplication: While color-coding is helpful, don’t go overboard. Too many colors can become confusing and counterproductive. Stick to a practical number.

Callout Box: Remember, color-coding can be a game-changer for your calendar. It simplifies complex information, saves time, and aids in visual comprehension. So, grab that digital paintbrush and let your calendar be your canvas!

7) Plan For Holidays And Special Events

Holidays and special events are golden opportunities for email marketing. These occasions often mean higher open rates and increased engagement, as subscribers are more likely to respond to seasonal content. Planning for these in your  calendar ensures you don’t miss out on these key marketing moments.

Steps to plan for holidays and special events:

  • Identity Key Dates: Mark all essential holidays and special events relevant to your business.
  • Plan Special Campaigns: For each marked date, plan a unique email campaign. These could be holiday greetings, special offers, or themed content.
  • Start Early: Remember, subscribers may search for holiday deals or special event information well in advance. So, plan to send your emails early enough to cater to these early birds.
  • Monitor and Learn: After each holiday or special event, monitor the performance of your emails. Use these insights to improve your planning for the next occasion.

Callout Box: Keep in mind that holidays and special events are more than just dates on the calendar. They are unique opportunities to connect with your subscribers more personally. So, embrace the festive spirit and let it reflect in your email campaigns.

8) Keep An Eye On Your Competitors’ Email Strategies

Monitoring your competitors’ email strategies lets you gain insights into what works and doesn’t in your industry. It can inspire new ideas and help you avoid their mistakes.

Steps to track your competitors’ email strategies:

  • Subscribe to Their Emails: Subscribing to your competitors’ email lists gives you a firsthand look at their email strategies.
  • Analyze Their Content: Pay attention to the type of content they send. Note their tone, style, frequency of emails, subject lines, and calls to action.
  • Monitor Their Engagement: If possible, check how their audience engages with their emails. Search for social proof or expert insights.
  • Use Competitive Analysis Tools: Use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Mailcharts to get a more detailed analysis of your competitors’ email strategies.

Callout Box: Remember, keeping an eye on your competitors’ email strategies is not about copying what they do but learning and understanding the market better. Use the insights you gain to enhance your strategy and stand out from the crowd.

9) Implement A Consistent Branding Strategy And Editorial Style Guide

Consistency in branding and editorial style makes your emails instantly recognizable, increases trust, and enhances the overall subscriber experience.

Steps to implement a consistent branding strategy and editorial style guide in your emails:

  • Define Your Branding Elements: Determine your brand’s color scheme, logo placement, typography, and imagery guidelines.
  • Develop an Editorial Style Guide: Your style guide should detail your brand’s tone of voice, writing style, grammar and punctuation preferences, and industry-specific terminology guidelines.
  • Train Your Team: Make sure all team members contributing to email content are well-versed with your branding and style guidelines.
  • Review and Maintain Consistency: Regularly review your emails to ensure they adhere to your guidelines. Make necessary adjustments to maintain consistency.

Callout Box: Note that a consistent branding strategy and editorial style are fundamental to a successful email marketing campaign. They help you create a solid and cohesive brand image in the minds of your subscribers. So, make it a priority early on.

10) Keep A Backlog of Email Ideas For Last-Minute Changes

In the fast-paced world of email marketing, you often need to be flexible and adapt to last-minute changes. Keeping a backlog of email ideas can be a lifesaver in such situations. It ensures you always have a plan B ready, and you can respond quickly without compromising the quality of your content.

Steps to maintain a healthy backlog of email ideas:

  • Regular Brainstorming Sessions: Encourage regular brainstorming sessions with your team. This not only yields fresh ideas but also fosters a culture of innovation and creativity.
  • Keep an Idea Repository: Create a repository to store all your email ideas. This could be a shared document, a project management tool, or dedicated software.
  • Categorize Your Ideas: Organize your ideas by categories. For instance, promotional emails, seasonal greetings, educational content, etc. This will make it easier to find a suitable idea when needed.
  • Review and Update: Regularly review your idea backlog and update it with new ideas, and remove or revise outdated ones.

Callout Box: Remember, a backlog of email ideas is your safety net. It keeps you prepared and ensures your email strategy stays flexible and adaptable. So, keep those creative juices flowing and fill up that idea bank!

Summary

And there we have it! You’re now equipped with a deep understanding of what an email marketing calendar is, how to construct one, and some stellar best practices to guide you along the way. 

Remember, the key to a successful email marketing calendar lies in thoughtful planning, regular updates, and consistent review. It’s about balancing creativity and analytics, strategic thinking, and real-time adaptation. if you need help then check our email marketing management services

Don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak your strategies as you progress. After all, email marketing, like any other field, is about continuous learning and improvement. For more information you can contact us. we are one of the top email marketing companies in usa serving global clients.

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

Let Us Help Take You To The Next Level Of Email Marketing

Get in touch to start a conversation.

Get in touch
Multi-ESP Support

We support 50+ ESP vendors. Be it enterprise platforms such as SalesForce and Oracle Marketing Cloud or small and medium sized business platforms such as Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Aweber, and ActiveCampaign, we’ve got you covered.

Top