Email Marketing: How to Build an Effective Strategy for Your Company | Brooke Milo | Skillshare

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Email Marketing: How to Build an Effective Strategy for Your Company

teacher avatar Brooke Milo, Founder, NGNG Agency

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Defining Your Goals


    • 3.

      Collaborating with Other Teams


    • 4.

      Building a Timeline


    • 5.

      Sourcing Your Visual Inspiration


    • 6.

      Building a Creative Brief


    • 7.

      Linking and Scheduling


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Build an effective email marketing strategy around your campaign or product launch with NGNG Marketing Agency founder and creative director, Brooke Milo!

As one of the key parts of any marketing strategy, email marketing can be intimidating for even the most seasoned marketing professionals. But, it doesn’t have to be! Join Brooke as she walks you through her process for executing an email marketing strategy to achieve amazing results for your team and have fun along the way! 

Together with Brooke, you will:

  • Define your campaign goals
  • Identify the teams you’ll need to work with and the information you’ll need to gather 
  • Build out an email marketing calendar and timeline 
  • Create the creative briefs that lead to the execution of your email 
  • Learn how to link and schedule each email 

Whether you’re an email marketing manager that wants to freshen up your skills or a content strategist that is just learning the ropes of email marketing, this class is for you!


This class is designed to welcome students of all levels.

Meet Your Teacher

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Brooke Milo

Founder, NGNG Agency


Brooke Milo is the founder of NGNG Agency, a creative agency that helps small and large businesses alike drive considerable growth through powerful creative and digital marketing. Her clients have included global sneaker brands P448 & PS821, founded by former CEO of Stuart Weitzman, Menin Hospitality, home to top hotels and bars in Miami Beach, as well as Navaderm, an elite dermatology management firm operating practices throughout NYC with world-renowned dermatologists often attracting celebrity patients. Before devoting her work full-time to NGNG Agency, Brooke served on Stuart Weitzman’s global marketing team behind the scenes of its unique worldwide marketing campaigns and events. Brooke is now taking NGNG agency to the next level with her most recent launch, NGNG collective, ... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: What I love most about what I do is that every day is different. Each brand and client that I work with presents a unique challenge and allows me to use my creativity to create something that's never been done before. I'm Brooke Milo, Founder and Creative Director at NGNG Agency. NGNG stands for NoGutsNoGlory. We are a boutique creative agency with big capabilities. We do absolutely everything from branding and initial brand concepting to social media management, web design, influencer campaigns, events, and more. Today's class is about how to build an effective email marketing strategy around your campaign or product launch. This class is for email marketing managers that want to freshen up their skills or if you're part of a marketing team and you're a content strategist or social media manager and you want to expand into email marketing to diversify the way you communicate with your audience, this class is for you. I got into marketing really early on. Growing up in fashion and retail, I knew that communicating with your customers in unique ways, through different forms of marketing, was the best way to generate buzz around your brand. Email marketing is one of the very important parts of the entire marketing machine. I wanted to teach this class so that you can have the skills needed to help your marketing team execute an email strategy and achieve amazing results. The one thing I want students to take away from this class is that email marketing doesn't have to be hard, it can actually be really fun when you have the right processes in place. We'll start with defining our goals and figuring out what teams you need to work with and what information you need to get, and then go through the process of building out our email marketing calendar and timeline. We'll build out the creative briefs that will lead to the execution of the emails. Then we'll go to the process of linking and scheduling each one so you can just sit back, relax, and watch the results. At the end of this class, I would love for you to upload your email marketing strategy into the projects gallery so that I can take a look. Throughout the entire course, I have links to each of the templates for the lesson so you can upload those as well. You can ask me any questions in the discussion section. I'm happy to provide feedback. Let's get started. 2. Defining Your Goals: This lesson is all about defining your goals for your email marketing. As marketers, setting goals is extremely important. We need to make sure that everything we do has a purpose and is directly trackable. A typical goal for email marketing, of course, is to drive sales and conversions. However, there are many other reasons why you may want to communicate with your customers via email. For example, you may be interested in increasing app downloads, inviting customers to a store event, communicating something new, or launching something exclusively. Finding your exact goals will help you decide exactly how many emails to send, how to segment your list, and your communication style for those emails. To get us started with defining our goals, I will walk you through an example from a project that I recently worked on for a sneaker company. Let's just call it Sneakers X. In your goal-setting worksheet, we can see all of the questions that I have asked, which will help get you started and thinking about who your target audience is, when what your goals are. The first question is to list your top three objectives for the email strategy. In this example, we are introducing and communicating a new collection for the sneaker brand, increasing visits and awareness for their new physical retail space, and inviting customers to specific events, and converting customers by having them purchase the new collection. Those are our top three objectives, and when we later build out the strategy, we will reference these to make sure that we are successfully accomplishing each of those objectives. The next question is focusing on who your target audience is. Defining your target audience is extremely important because it will affect the way you communicate and the visuals that you have in your emails. I created some questions just to get you started, but you can really add to these and fill in as many questions as you want. But for the sake of this example, we are focusing on 20-30 year olds, young, free-spirited, but also hardworking people that are on the go. These people live in metropolitan areas, and they are a bit artistic. They enjoy reading, writing, watching new films, but also value wellness and staying active. They work in fashion, hospitality, tech, or entertainment; very specific I know, but that's just to get you thinking about who this person is, and they clearly are artistic and like to work in jobs that are fun. They can be on their feet on the go, and they live in metropolitan areas like New York City, LA, or Miami. With that in mind, the last question is about the top three values that you want communicated to your audience. This is important because of course, in the email communications, you want to make sure that these are words that you hit on and consistently have as part of all of your communication. Those top three values are; quality and craftsmanship of the sneakers, forward-thinking design, and that life is not meant to be taken so seriously. That's just one of their slogans. We want to make sure that we think about that later on. One tactic that I find really helpful in this scenario is looking at your company's historical data if it's available to you. With that data you can analyze all their goals in the past, that you've tried to hit when launching campaigns or launching a new product. If so, you may want to repeat those goals or just add to them. If you're starting from scratch, of course, that's okay too, but looking at the historical data is always super-helpful. Now you will give it a try. I've created a version of this goal-setting worksheet for you in the class resources, and you can go ahead and fill it out. 3. Collaborating with Other Teams: In this lesson, we are going to be focusing on collaborating with teams. Collaborating with teams is extremely important because we need to essentially gather all the information from multiple places in order to have an effective email marketing strategy. If you work in a larger organization, you will likely have to collaborate with a lot of teams and a lot of different people. But if you work within a smaller organization, you may just be working with one or two people or you may even be doing it all yourself. Our goal here is to gather all the important information we need, like launch dates, product information and messaging points regarding the collection or product that is being launched. Collaboration is key throughout this process because we're going to be communicating on important product launches. We need to work with the right teams to gather all that information and make sure that we actually have the products to sell at the right dates and the right messaging points. Jumping into our previous example, I will now show you how I collaborate with teams with a super simple worksheet that I created to start gathering all the information we need. On this example, you can see on the left-hand column, I have started by listing out all the information that is needed for this e-mail. We have the important dates regarding the launch. Those are going to be important because of course, we will start to build our timeline around those dates. Next, we have the product details and product photography, which will be needed for actually executing the e-mails themselves and designing them. Then we have our messaging points. Those points will be utilized by the copywriter or yourself if you're writing the copy to make sure that we incorporate them in the e-mails later on. For this specific example, we were doing a lot of events in store, so we have event details when those events are going to be and what they are. Then in the middle column, you can see that I have listed out which teams I'm going to get this information from so that I can set the meetings with them and ask them the right questions. In this example you can see I collaborated with the marketing team to gather those important dates and the messaging points for the products launch. I worked with the e-commerce team to gather the product details and product photography so that that can be referenced in the e-mail design. I collaborated with the events team to learn about all the events that were taking place that we would be communicating on via e-mail. In the right-hand column, I listed out all of this information just so that we can have it all here in one place. As you can see, we have all the dates. We have the messaging points which are that they were launching the model 01 collection, which is made from luxury recycled materials and then the dates for the event. These are all important things that we're going to want to make sure are incorporated in the e-mails. I've created the sheet for you to use in the class resources section so that you can fill it out, gather all the information you need and then have it all in one place. 4. Building a Timeline: Now that we've defined our goals and gathered all the important information we need, we can begin to build out our timeline. Our timeline is comprised of what we will be sending and when we will be sending it. The things that I like to include are teaser e-mails to start to get your customers excited about what you're launching., the launch e-mails on the day of the actual launch and the follow-up e-mails to continually refresh your customers minds about what you just launched. Basically what you're going to do is start with your launch date, we'll just mark it down as x and then we're going to build around it. Going back in time from the launch date, we're going to want to fill in about two to three teaser e-mails. You will go ahead and mark those down before the launch, teaser and teaser. The frequency of the e-mails that you send will depend on how many e-mails your company historically sense. Of course, if you want to send more teaser e-mails, you can do more, if you want to send less because you don't communicate with your customers that often, that's definitely okay. However, I know that customers need to see things at least 2-3 times before they even start to pay attention. I like to incorporate at least 2-3 teaser e-mails. In this example, I'm going to include three. The teaser e-mails should start anywhere from around one month to two weeks before the launch. I like to keep it a little bit closer to the launch itself when it's fresh in the customer's minds. I'm going to mark down that around two weeks will be our first teaser e-mail. After that, you can go to the other half of this diagram where we will fill in the follow-up e-mails. The purpose of the follow-up e-mails is essentially to just keep reminding customers what you just launched, why it's important, teaching them how to use it, and basically just communicating about the launch itself in new fun and engaging ways to ultimately convert them. I'm going to go ahead and fill in six follow-up emails- which will be spread out over the course of several weeks for this strategy. Now that we've drawn out our strategy of essentially how many e-mails we want to be sending and the types of e-mails that we want to send, we can begin to put them into the marketing calendar. This is an important part of building out your strategy because it basically tells us when we're going to be sending these e-mails and exactly what we're going to be building within the e-mails so that later on when we create our creative briefs, we have exactly the deliverables that we need all lined out for us here in the calendar. It also will help you later on when you go to schedule your e-mails because you'll know exactly which day you'll be sending which e-mail. In reference to our earlier example of sneaker company's X, what we're going to do is put in all the data from our previous lesson of when the inventory is delivering, when the pre-sale is happening etc and we're going to combine it with our strategy that we just drew out. Just like we did in the strategy, we can start with the initial launch e-mail because everything is going to work around that. Our launch is happening on September 1st and you can see in the calendar, I have that written down here. On this day, we know that we're going to be sending a launch e-mail. Working backwards from there, you can see that I filled in teaser e-mails happening three times before the actual launch. We're going to do a teaser e-mail when the collection goes on pre-order. Then we're going to do another teaser e-mail around one week before the launch and then one more teaser e-mail that will be a 24-hour countdown to really get customers excited. Moving down from there, we fill in all of our collection follow-up e-mails. As you can see, a few days after the launch, we have an e-mail set for September 3rd to remind customers again and then on September 6th, September 8th, September 10th and September 13th. I personally like to have just one or two days in-between e-mails so that we don't annoy your customers, but we want to make sure that we're keeping it fresh in their minds as much as possible. Now you can go ahead and do this one yourself. You'll start with drawing out the strategy which will include the launch date and how many teaser e-mails you want to send and how many follow-up e-mails you want to send. Once you have that visual laid out for you, you will go over to the marketing calendar template and start to add in exact dates for when those e-mails will be sent. 5. Sourcing Your Visual Inspiration: Now that we have our goals and timeline in place, we can begin to source a visual inspiration for what these emails will actually look like. Perhaps your company has been sending emails for a very long time and you have a lot of templates already to work with. However, I honestly prefer to always source new inspiration, especially when there's a new product or a campaign launch just to keep the visuals fresh. It's always nice to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and making sure that you're hitting those design trends. What we're going do now is begin to source inspiration. There are two websites that I like to use, and You can also use Pinterest. But the two websites that I just mentioned are really great because they're specifically about email marketing. You can explore all different types of emails on those sites. Here you can see On this site, you can explore tons of different emails that are actually sent out by real brands. You can categorize by the type of email that is sent and the industry that they're in to help you refine your search a little bit. On, this one works very similarly. There isn't as many capabilities in terms of categorizing the emails, but you can still explore by the type of industry. What I like to do is basically explore through here, I definitely like to categorize by the type of industry. In this case, it will be footwear or fashion or parallel to make sure that I'm looking at emails that are relevant to the types of emails that I'm going to be sending. Basically, what we want to do is gather around 5-10 examples that will be used as a visual inspiration to handoff to the designer when they go to design our emails that we're going to be requesting. I pulled this example from Girlfriend Collective, which is a sustainable apparel company. This is a teaser email that they send. As you can see, there's a huge title that says, "On The Way," letting their customers know that something exciting is about to launch. There is a call to action and see what's coming. Then as you scroll down, you can preview the collection that's going to be launching. I love this email because it's very clear exactly that the collection that they're going to be launching, there is a way to preview the collection and start to get excited about it. They have clear just calls to action so that people can add their names to the list if they want and shop it when it does launch. This one's really interesting because it doesn't give any information at all. It just has a huge date, which I think is really cool. It's of just a fun example of a way to tease your audience and give them a hint that something big is about to happen. Following those examples, I have examples for the launch email itself. As you can see, here's a great launch email from hype sneakers. They have all their new sneakers showcased on the email. It says that there are new drops and the date that it is launching. Then they have links to directly shop all of these sneakers. This is a really great example. More so than anything else with the visual inspiration that we're pulling, we're looking at the structure of the email so that you can reference it to the designer. For example, here, the structure is that you have this amazing menu at the top. Then you have a very large image, typically it'll be a campaign image, a very large title, and then a small blurb below explaining essentially the body of the email. Then below that, you have product links. It's just good to learn new and different ways to structure your emails, and this is helpful to explain to the designer how it should look. I'll share one more example with you, a follow-up email from another sneaker brand. This one explains what the brand recommends for you to purchase. You think that you've launched a campaign, you've launched a new product, and now you want to follow up with them in unique ways. I love this content that we see here where they're saying that they recommend some of the new styles. Of course, you always want to push your new styles, and then showcasing just more campaign imagery in this email. This is a really good example of that. Your action now will be to pull 5-10 different examples of visual inspiration that you can use in your creative brief later on. Feel free to use both of these sites or Pinterest if you'd like, and save them for your creative briefs that we're going to build in our next lesson. 6. Building a Creative Brief: We now have our goals, our calendar, all of our information, and our inspiration for these emails and we are ready to start building out the creative briefs. Effectively communicating on an email creative brief is extremely important because it will ensure that the creative team can execute an amazing email. The creative brief template that I created for you is separated into two parts. The top portion includes all the technical details like when the email is going to be sent, when it's due, when the creative is due and when the copy is due, and that portion is going to be for you to fill out as the marketer. The bottom portion is going to include all of the creative information. In here you can include links to the products, what they look like, their product images, the product descriptions, and additional technical details regarding the messaging that you want for the email. In this portion, the copy team or copywriter that you work with will fill in all of the copy that will be at the email, including the subject line, header, body, and CTAs. Once all this information is filled out, you can add in your inspiration to the bottom of the email for how you want the layout of the design to look. Then your designer can execute the emails using this brief and referencing all of the information that you have in it. For Sneakers X, I'm going to show you an example of how I built out a creative brief for their launch email. At the top of this sheet, you can see we've included all of the technical information regarding the email itself. The title of the email is the model 01 collection launch. That's not going to be used in the email, that's just for the team to reference. Then you can see the email purpose, here you can really get in depth about as much information as you need to include. The purpose of this email is to announce the launch of the collection, including all the product features and collection messaging points. I made the copy due date August 16th and the design due date August 23rd because we want to send this email out on September 1st when the collection is launching. Depending on how your team works, you may schedule and plan emails six months in advance, but I know from first-hand experience it doesn't always happen that way. In this case, we're only giving ourselves a week to review the design of this email and make any changes before the collection launches. At the bottom of this sheet, you can see I've left room for the creative team to add in all of their information. That first person would be the copywriter. If this is you or someone on your team, you will pass this along to them so that they can fill in all of the copy that's going to be going in this email including the subject line, the sub header, the header for the email, the sub header within the email, the body copy, and the CTAs. You can also include a section for the products themselves. As the marketer, you can write in here any names of the products that you want mentioned in the email and images. We have all that information listed here in the product section and then here's where we would add our campaign images that need to be used for this email. At the bottom, I've added in some of our inspiration from earlier, so that the designer can reference this when they're designing the email. This creative brief is used to design one email only. Once you've got through one of these, you will fill in the creative brief for every other email that you want designed. One brief per email. 7. Linking and Scheduling: Now that our creative briefs are completed and our emails are designed and ready to go, we will go through the process of linking and scheduling. Linking and scheduling happens in your email platform software. In today's example, I'm going to use Klaviyo, but any email platform software is good. Essentially what we're going to do is move our creative over from the drafts template section over to the campaigns and get that campaign ready to be sent. That involves adding in the subject's line, the email that you want this campaign to come from, and the sub-header, as well as going through the email creative itself and linking each portion of the creative to the section of your website that you want it to go. This is extremely important because ensuring that you have the right links in place in this email is going to make sure that your customers can purchase those items and learn more about them. Finally, we will go through the process of scheduling those emails out so that they get sent on the exact date and time that you want them to be sent. In our example from Sneakers X, I'm going to go through the Klaviyo site and show you how we will actually link and schedule this email after it's been designed. What you'll want to do is start from the Campaigns section over here. For the sake of this example, I'm using Klaviyo because it is one of the top used email marketing platforms. But Mailchimp and other email platforms also have very similar user faces. So the process should be pretty similar. Once you're in the Campaign section, you will click on the email that you want to send. In this example, we're focusing on the Model 01 Launch for Sneakers X. I'm going to go ahead and click on that email. Here, you start to input all the information needed to send this email out, including the name which is only visible to you. This section is not consumer facing, so you don't need to think about it too much. You'll want to add in the recipients of who is this email being sent to. Remember when we talked earlier about setting our goals and who our target audience was, you may have tons of different customer segmentations. If this is a product launch that's only specific to one type of customer, you can segment it out here by selecting that audience. For the sake of this example, I'm just going to send it to our new subscribers which we have selected right here. You can also choose to add a segment that you don't want your email to go to. For example, if you're targeting customers and maybe they've already purchased this product, you want to exclude them since they've already bought it and you don't want to keep bothering them. You can select that option here. Then you can also select to skip recently emailed profiles. This is just a setting to make sure that again, you're not bombarding your customers or sending them too many emails. Down below, you can add tracking parameters which helps you to track the success of this email in Google Analytics. I always check, yes. If you'd like, you can add custom tracking parameters, which basically just includes adding specific tracking points so that you know what came from this email. Once that's all set, you can go into the content of the email itself. On this page, you will see some technical details about the email, such as the subject line, the preview text, the sender name, and the sender email address. We're going to go ahead and fill that in. Your subject line and preview text should come from your copywriter and it should be in the brief that you had completed earlier. The sender name should be your brand name, of course. The sender email address is typically a generic email address that your brand uses to send emails from, such as or Once this portion is filled out, we can go into the actual email and begin linking. The way you'll do that is by clicking "Edit Email" in this top right corner. As you can see here, I have one of Klaviyo's just generic examples for us to use. I hope that your email is better than this one. But it should be branded. It should have your brand logo at the top and be beautifully designed since you filled out that awesome creative brief. In this portion, we will begin to link everything. In this top section, you can see we have a menu that we want each of these copy sections to be directly linkable. You will add in the URL for each section. For the men's section, we would link it to, for example. You're going to go ahead and do that for each of these sections and then save it. It's really important to know that we want our products links and the links that are in this email to be as specific as possible. You never want to drive your customers to a homepage where they need to do the extra legwork of trying to figure out where to go to purchase your product. You want to make it super, super easy for them. The more specific, the better. Your cover image or campaign image should link directly to a page that features the collection or product you're talking about. As you can see here, I just wrote We continue that with basically every single section of this email. Once that is all set, you can start to test this email. Testing is one of the most important parts of this process. The last thing you want to do is send out an email and then it links to the wrong page. There's a couple of ways that you can do that within Klaviyo. You will go over to this Preview button on the left-hand side. You can preview the email directly in Klaviyo and also send it to yourself as an email. I recommend the second option because if you send it to yourself as an email, you can test this email on mobile and desktop, which I highly recommend. Most shoppers these days are shopping from their phones. You want to make sure that your design looks really good, not only on the desktop, but also on a mobile phone. You will click "Send as an email", type your email into this section, and then press "Preview Now". Voila, an email gets sent to you and you can test it on your phone and on your computer. Once you receive the email, go ahead and click through each of those sections and just double-check that every section links to the correct place that you want it to go. Once that's done, you will hit "Save". You're basically all set. At the bottom here, you can create an AB test if you want to test different subject lines and things like that. But for the sake of this example, we're just going to go ahead and continue to review. This takes us to the scheduling portion of the platform. In the scheduling portion, we can review all the details that we put in earlier to make sure that everything looks good. We see our list is correct, our subject line looks good. Just double-check everything. You have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. This is super important because it's legally required that all of your emails have an option for your customers to unsubscribe. If a customer doesn't want to get emails from you, they need to have the option to opt out of those emails. Once that is ready to go, you can click "Schedule" or "Send", and schedule your email. A lot of email marketing platforms have options for you to schedule your send time and test, which send times are the best. If we want to schedule this email for September 10th, for example, because September 1st already passed, we can go ahead and click the date and then click the send time. I'm going to do gradual send over hours because this is a new Klaviyo account and I want to test out which send time is the best one. Once that is done, you can go ahead and click "Schedule". Now you're all set. Your campaign is ready to go. If you want to see when it's sending, you can always go back to your Campaign section and it will be here. Right underneath the email, you can see it says scheduled for September 10th, 2021 at 1:00 PM to new subscribers. Once you have all of your emails ready to go, you will want to go through this process for each and every one of those emails and schedule them all out. Then when you go to this page, you can see your full strategy launch with executed emails ready to go. Now, give it a shot yourself, schedule and link all of your emails. Feel free to ask me any questions in the discussion section. Once that's done, you can just sit back and watch the results. 8. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking my class today. I hope that you learned how to create an effective email marketing strategy and use all of the tips and tactics that we went through with your team. I look forward to seeing your project and your strategies in the projects gallery and hope to see you again soon.