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Marketing - 9 min READ

9 Easy steps for crafting an effective email marketing calendar

How a calendar helps organize your email marketing strategy

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Copper Staff

Contributors from members of the Copper team

A guest blog by growth hacker Skirmantas Venckus of, an email marketing provider

Email marketing is estimated to bring in a mind-boggling $10 billion (USD) in 2023. What’s more, in a survey, close to 50% of marketers reported a 2X improvement in their email ROI (return on investment) over time, which is a testament to its high conversion rates.

So, the value of email marketing is clear, but is there a way for your business to take the leap into high-conversion email marketing without hiring expensive consultants — or completely changing your current marketing email practices?

Yep — and we’ll show you how.

It all comes down to designing an email marketing calendar that makes your life easier, and can help your business become more profitable.

The logic is this: Email marketing campaigns that are organized and strategic are more likely to succeed than those based on the latest email marketing tricks and hacks.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a high-performance email marketing calendar to help you get on top of your email marketing game while spending far less time and resources.

Let's get the ball rolling.

The benefits of an email marketing calendar

In a way, designing an email calendar is about planning ahead toward your marketing goals. Here are some reasons why your email marketing team should consider creating one:

  • Establish a consistent email schedule and professional cadence
  • Improve organization and planning of email campaigns
  • Assist in accurate estimation of marketing efforts and resource allocation
  • Help with better tracking and analysis of campaign performance
  • Support sending of targeted messages to segments
  • Ensure you don’t miss out on key dates or face avoidable last-minute surprises
  • Boost customer engagement, satisfaction and retention through personalized emails
  • Increase brand affinity and trust by delivering consistently valuable content over time
  • Reduce the probability of your target audience getting oversaturated or underwhelmed by your sending volume
  • Establish a consistent email cadence and brand presence, helping improve opens, clicks, and overall sales.

Creating an email marketing calendar helps you plan ahead and stay prepared, in turn making your email campaigns more effective by giving you a bird's eye view into everything that might affect them.

9 Easy steps for creating an effective email content calendar

Developing an effective email calendar has more to do with devising a crystal-clear email marketing strategy than it has to do with the latest email marketing calendar template.

Whether your marketing plan involves gearing up for a new product launch or preparing for seasonal sales campaigns at scale, here’s a step-by-step approach for planning email campaigns that deliver:

1 - Establish clear campaign goals and objectives

Define specific business outcomes and targets you wish to achieve through your email marketing campaign.

This is essential since it will be a compass for your email marketing efforts, providing much-needed focus. Clear objectives help not only guide your overall email marketing strategy but also shape the direction of your messaging and help you measure the success of your email campaigns.

For example, the objective of an ecommerce store could be increasing online sales of a new product by 40% through targeted email promotions within the next quarter.

3 tips for better campaign goals:

  1. Make your goals specific and measurable. Clearly decide what you want from your email campaigns, whether it's driving traffic to your landing pages, nurturing leads, boosting customer engagement, or driving sales.
  2. Align with overall business goals. Clearly connect your email marketing goals to your larger business objectives to ensure a synchronous and cohesive approach.
  3. Set realistic targets. Ensure your goals are attainable within the decided timeframe. Setting realistic targets increases motivation and helps avoid disappointment and low morale.

Remember, establishing clear objectives is the foundation for a successful email marketing strategy.

2 - Define target audience and segments

Most email marketing tools allow you to create “segments,” or groups of email subscribers that share specific characteristics, preferences or other qualities or traits.

Identify the subset of people from your list that you’d like to target and communicate with. This will involve customer research surrounding your target audience’s preferences, demographics, behaviors and more to arrive at different customer personas.

Think of a customer persona as a unique customer profile of your target audience who is interested in your product or service for a particular reason or to solve a certain problem. The next step is to tailor both your offer and messaging to resonate with them specifically.

This step is crucial because it allows you to personalize and target your emails, delivering more meaningful content that your recipients are interested in, and in turn contributing to increased engagement and conversions.

For example, a construction company could create three segments, prospects, current customers, and vendors, and target each with separate messaging, making it highly relevant to each subgroup.

3 tips for more targeted marketing:

  1. Conduct market research. Learn everything you can about your audience through market research, competitor analysis, customer feedback and analytics.
  2. Segment your audience. Divide your email list into smaller segments based on commonalities, like company size, industry and more.
  3. Develop buyer personas. Create detailed profiles of your target audience segments, including their demographics, buying habits, preferences and more.

Defining your target audience for a particular segment is key to delivering personalized and relevant content that actually engages them, helping drive conversions and build long-lasting relationships.

3 - Identify key metrics for measuring success

To stay on top of your email campaigns and ensure that everything is on track toward predefined campaign goals, it’s critical to know which performance metrics to monitor and optimize.

Monitoring these metrics will give you insights into the ongoing performance of your campaign, enabling you to understand audience engagement and optimize and improve your overall email marketing strategy based on data.

For instance, your sales campaigns will likely be measured by the amount of revenue generated via emails, while other campaigns may need you to adopt a combination of metrics such as open, click-through, and conversion rates.

3 tips for better metrics:

  1. Define relevant metrics based on email type. For instance, measure revenue generated for sales campaigns and engagement metrics like opens and replies for nurturing sequences.
  2. Set benchmarks. Choose realistic target numbers for your metrics based on past performance, along with realistic timelines.
  3. Use email analytics tools. Most email marketing software lets you set and monitor your chosen KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) accurately. This way, you can easily evaluate the success of your campaigns and identify areas for optimization.

Maintaining a close eye on your numbers will prevent you from deviating from your main goals for each campaign.

4 - Determine content frequency and cadence

Next up, don’t skip establishing a preferred frequency for your email communications. Frequency means how often you’ll send emails to contacts (leads, customers, partners) who have agreed to hear from your business.

Cadence refers to when it will happen. For example, your product updates email newsletter that goes out every Monday afternoon at 3 PM pacific time without fail will establish a predictable and regular communication schedule.

Striking the right balance between engaging your audience and avoiding email fatigue will likely lead to above-average engagement.

3 tips for better engagement:

  1. Know your audience's preferences. Consider factors like expectations, engagement patterns and feedback to determine the frequency that works best for your audience.
  2. Test. Test. Test. Explore different content frequencies and cadences and analyze the results. Monitor metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates to determine the optimal frequency.
  3. Ensure the highest quality. Only deliver email content worth your audience’s time. Even if you’re emailing them daily, make sure it’s information they’ll find valuable and relevant.

The right email frequency can keep your audience engaged and interested without overwhelming them or making them click the unsubscribe button.

5 - Plan compelling content

Your email content is inarguably the most important part of the equation. By brainstorming ideas, crafting impactful messages, and organizing your marketing content to align with the buyer’s journey of your customers, you can hugely impact your campaigns' success.

Getting this bit right is important since compelling messaging is what will grab the recipient’s attention right off the bat and nudge them to engage with your emails. Well-written copy will ultimately motivate your readers to take action.

For example, if you run a media company for small business owners, your email content plan could include a series of informative emails surrounding business tips, free resources, and invitations to upcoming virtual events. Each email would focus on a specific topic, but they would all fall under your niche.

3 tips when planning content:

  1. Mix up your emails. Make sure not to fatigue your subscribers with too many similar sales campaigns by mixing up your promotional emails with informational ones.
  2. Consider branded templates. Use pre-existing email marketing templates, or opt for a drag-and-drop, no-code email design tool to create your own custom branded email designs that are as high-converting as they are on point with your brand’s visual identity.
  3. Optimize use of advanced delivery features. For instance, many email marketing tools allow you to automatically resend your emails to those subscribers who didn’t open the first email. Use these features to help increase the impact of your campaigns.

Spend as much time as you deem necessary at this stage, since a well-planned content strategy for your email campaigns is more than half the battle.

6 - Make every date count: Incorporate important dates

Much of marketing involves staying relevant.

Be it essential dates, events, milestones, or even national and state holidays, ensure that your email campaigns speak to all of the occasions that are important to your audience.

Align your content, promotions, and offers with relevant dates to maximize engagement opportunities and leverage seasonal sales boosts. By factoring these special dates into your plan, you can create a targeted and time-sensitive campaign that resonates with the audience’s interests and needs.

For example, you could launch your Black Friday sale a week in advance using early bird offers in the form of deals and discounts.

3 tips for better holiday marketing:

  1. Plan ahead. Determine critical dates, holidays, and events that your target audience cares about, and in the calendar view, map these dates out. This allows you sufficient time to create and schedule content.
  2. Tailor content and messaging. Instead of sending out generically-worded sales emails, customize your emails to the specific date or event through messaging, themes, imagery and more, to help grab your audiences’ attention.
  3. Drum up exclusive promotions. Use exclusive discounts, special offers or limited-time promotions to motivate subscribers to act.

Including essential dates in your email marketing campaigns can increase engagement, conversions and results.

7 - Create and schedule email content

This is the point when you actually come up with engaging and relevant messaging, choose the creatives, design the email layouts, finalize the call-to-action (CTA) elements, and nail down any other details for your campaign.

Creating compelling content helps move your subscribers towards the right action, while scheduling ensures that these emails are sent out strategically, maximizing their impact and relevance.

3 tips for creating irresistible content:

  1. Craft persuasive email subject lines. Use psychological triggers like curiosity, hidden benefits, scarcity and urgency to come up with a subject line that makes opening the email hard to resist.
  2. Use personalization. Use first names or any other custom data, like their location or buying history, to make your email sound like it was written only for them. This makes the content feel more relevant and tailored to the recipient’s specific needs and interests.
  3. Incorporate storytelling. Consider using storytelling frameworks to share relevant stories, professional experiences, daily life anecdotes and more to form a personal bond and deepen your connection with the audience.

Highly effective email marketing calendars tend to be content-driven. Make sure that you also create email campaigns that prioritize quality content.

8 - Track and analyze email campaign performance

This is the phase when you monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. It involves collecting and analyzing campaign data like open, click-through, conversion, bounce and unsubscribe rates to determine whether your emails engage recipients, drive desired actions, and achieve overall campaign objectives.

Tracking and analyzing data allows email marketers to identify areas for improvement. By analyzing which subject lines, content, designs or call-to-action copy resonate with their audience, you can optimize future campaigns accordingly.

3 tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your tracking and analysis efforts:

  1. Use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters and tagging. By appending unique UTM parameters and tags to the links in your emails, you can track the source and medium of the traffic in your web analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics).
  2. Perform A/B testing. Test variations of subject lines, email designs, call-to-action buttons or content to identify what resonates best with your audience.
  3. Analyze email client and device data. Understanding which email clients and devices your audience uses can help you optimize your designs and layouts to ensure compatibility and a positive user experience.

Tracking and recording email campaign performance is an ongoing process, so make sure you create a repeatable process and continually adapt your strategies based on the insights you gain.

9 - Review and optimize your email calendar

In this final step, it’s time to evaluate your existing email calendar, assess its performance, and make adjustments to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency.

When planning and scheduling emails during a final review of your email calendar, consider factors like:

  • Seasonal trends
  • Types of content that resonate best with your audience
  • Timing of product or feature launches
  • Promotion periods
  • Customer feedback

For example, say a software company noticed a decrease in open and click-through rates during a specific month. Upon reviewing the full list of emails sent during those weeks, they discover that they sent too many promotional emails during that period, resulting in email fatigue among subscribers.

Using this insight, the company optimizes their email calendar by reducing promotional emails and focusing on valuable content. Consequently, campaign performance improves with higher open rates and click-through rates.

3 top tips for optimizing your email calendar:

  1. Analyze historical data. Identify patterns, trends and successful strategies in your past email campaigns. Check open rates, click-through rates, conversions and unsubscribe rates. Understanding what worked well in the past informs your decisions for optimizing your email calendar now.
  2. Consider subscriber preferences. Segment your subscribers by preferences, behaviors and demographics. Knowing the different segments of your audience allows you to deliver relevant and valuable content to each group. Personalization will help you increase conversions and engagement .
  3. Test and experiment. Test different elements of your email campaigns, including send times, subject lines, content formats and calls-to-action. Optimize your email calendar over time by testing different strategies and adjusting based on the data.

It doesn’t matter which of the popular email marketing calendar templates you use, whether it’s Google Sheets or a third-party software; we simply recommend using a tool that’s flexible and adaptable.

Getting started with email calendars

Just like having a social media content calendar to help you plan out your social media posts is integral to your content marketing strategy, having a well-optimized email marketing calendar is a must for churning out high-performance email campaigns.

An optimized email marketing calendar involves:

  • Strategic planning. Ensures that your emails are well-coordinated with other marketing efforts.
  • Consistent communication. Nurtures relationships and keeps your brand top of mind.
  • Improved efficiency. Enables better utilization of limited resources.
  • Content relevance. Increases engagement by aligning with customer interests.
  • Data-driven optimization. Maximizes performance while minimizing efforts.

An optimized email marketing calendar is vital for effective email marketing and a must for businesses prioritizing excellent experiences for prospects and customers.

About the author: Skirmantas Venckus is a writer by day and reader by night. He hates talking about himself in third person. He is also the growth hacker at – the email marketing provider that is focused on user-friendliness, affordability and utility.

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