How to create an Ecommerce email marketing calendar

Written By Nuno Sancha

Email marketing monthly calendar is a tricky one for many people. I always had a certain level of resentment for marketers that seemed to have everything planned – every day of their calendar – because I could prepare some things, but others were out of my control.

Then I found out that it was the same for other marketers as well, there are a bunch of things that you can plan, but others you will have to fit as they come up. The secret to creating an email marketing calendar is: to use the information you already know and then leave some space on the calendar for things that might pop up.

Calendar

Email marketing calendar – the things you know

As I said before, when you sit down to plan your emails for the month, you need to start with a list of available events for that month.

Holidays

Holidays are a great starting point. You already know the day and month of all holidays for the entire year; if not, you can consult a calendar and check if there are any holidays in the month you plan to send your emails.

For example: if you are creating an email marketing calendar for May, you have three holidays – Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, and Memorial Day.

This means that you can prepare emails for these holidays. Depending on the frequency that you usually send emails announcing promotions, I would say that you already have six emails to send – I am presuming two emails each.

Things about your brand/business

If someone should have excellent knowledge of your business, that person should be you. Then, use that knowledge in your favor. What exciting things will happen that month that you think your customers will be thrilled to know?

New product launch – announcing a new product is always exciting for the company. If it is something your customers have been waiting for with enthusiasm, it will undoubtedly have a spot on your calendar.

Back in stock – speaking of products, they don't need to be a novelty for your customers to want to know about them. For example, let's say you have a best-seller out of stock; if the product returns to supply in a specific month, create a slot for it in your email marketing calendar.

How often and when should I send emails?

I believe that Monday and Fridays are two days of the week that you should avoid sending emails. The logic behind it is simple: on Mondays people are re-starting their week – they take the day to plan the rest of their week and they tend to keep up with everything that was left to be done from last week.

On Fridays, people are dealing with deadlines or simply in weekend mode, they might not be in the right frame of mind to stop and read your emails.

But this is just an opinion. There is a saying: in God we trust, all the others must bring data.

So a better way to know this is using the data you already have – your ESP analytics/report. Or, if you are just starting to send emails and don't possess enough data, you can look for your industry benchmark.

But how about the frequency? Some companies will send ten emails a week, others much less than that, it depends on how your list takes it. Start with once a week, for consistency at least, then keep increasing the frequency until you reach a point where you see that things may be starting to get out of hand.

What should I send?

This is the thing most people struggle with, what to send in their emails. The brand and business announcement should be straightforward – an image of the product, a body copy announcing the novelty, or the return to the stock of a particular product.

The same thing with the holidays; if you are running a promotion, you will need an image of the product. If you plan to give a deal on the entire store with a holiday theme, you can Google for "{name of the holiday} email marketing" and see what will come up.

Or you can use two of my favorite tools to look for email inspirations:

Really Good Emails:

Really Good Emails - Memorial Day

Mailcharts:

Mailcharts - Memorial Day

And find out what other brands did for the same holiday last year. The subject line they used, the image, the copy, the type of promotion… you name it.

Your own inbox:

Email Inbox

I am sure that you are subscribed to other businesses' newsletters – especially in ecommerce – you can go to your own inbox, search for emails from businesses that you think are doing a great job with their email marketing content and get inspiration from them.

Final thoughts

Creating an email marketing calendar for your ecommerce business is not rocket science, you start with the events that you already know will happen that month, like announcements from your brand and holidays.

And reserve some days for things that you have no control over, external things, and then you have a whole month planned.

After that, you just have to figure out the when and what to send. There are enormous studies and examples online that you can use to inform your tests and to get inspiration from too.

That's it. Now you know an easy way to create your email marketing calendar for any given month.