Often I hear from new marketers that email marketing seems to be a bit overwhelming. There are many little details to get right and they have to be done in a rush so it seems like you never get things complete.

Most often you start dropping things off your checklist and then the worst thing of all happens… you get into a routine and stop growing and expanding your email skills to reach higher results.

If this feels like you, this blog post can help. There are three main things you want to focus on to bring order to your email marketing campaigns… and in turn get the best results you can.

Set up an Editorial Calendar

The first tool you need to get your email campaigns under control is an editorial calendar.   An editorial calendar is simply a plan which shows you which emails are planned to go out on which day.

The easiest way to set this up is to use a simple calendar system that can display one month at a time.

Place your emails on the calendar on the dates you plan on sending them.  You’ll get three big benefits from doing it this way. First, you’ll find you can plan your email campaigns in advance of any events, promotions, marketing initiatives and give yourself time to send effective emails.

Second, you’ll see if there are any conflicts with other things or if a long weekend is right in the middle of a key campaign.

Third, you’ll be able to know that if an email is planned for this coming Thursday you should be getting, copy, design, and testing done the day before, giving you some breathing room in case things change – as they sometimes will.

This simple tool gives you more control over your email and it won’t feel rushed or fragmented any longer.

Create a Set of Email Metrics

Probably the best thing you can do to give yourself some stability to your email campaigns is to truly step back and decide why you are malling in the first place.  Are you looking to convert more new leads or are you looking to generate revenue from current customers?  Hopefully,  you’re not trying to do both with the same email!  Don’t worry, that’s a common problem.

Decide what you expect from your email campaigns in advance and you’ll suddenly find yourself becoming more focused on a specific measurable outcome and not what color the banner design should be.

By keeping your email metrics in your mind you’ll waste less time on those non-essential things and you’ll spend more time on the important things… the ones that meet your metrics.

This is also a great way to get others on board with your email campaigns when you work as part of a team or in a larger organization.

Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog

Sometimes a dose of common sense can go a long way to keeping you on track.

Here’s a simple example of what I mean.

Let’s say you notice your unsubscribe rate is moving between .03 and .06% in your mailing reports.  You know that a lower number is better and you become obsessed with the notion that you don’t want people unsubscribing from your messages.  So you start spending time changing your mailings to get a lower unsubscribe rate.  In reality, you’re measuring the difference between 3 and 6 people on a 10,000 name mailing – 3 people.

In the meantime you have open rates that vary between 12% and 24%.  On a mailing of 10,000 names that means 1,200 or 2,400 people opened your message.

THAT is the statistic which is more important and getting more mailings to the 24% level would be a good way to improve your results.

That’s an example of the tail (unsubscribes) wagging the dog (open rate).

Step back from your email marketing processes by adding these three principles and you’ll not only feel more in control of your email campaigns but you’ll actually get getter results from being focused on the right things.