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Planning Your Email Marketing for 2020?

If you’re ready to rock it in 2020 and have your best year ever, I’m giving you allllll my secrets when it comes to how I plan out my launches, my emails and my income for the upcoming year.

Rather listen then read this post? This post is based of episode #121 of the Inbox Besties PodcastListen on iTunes| Stitcher | Spotify

Planning your email marketing for the year used to be so overwhelming for me … I mean, how are you even supposed to know what you’re going to want to talk about six months from now, right?  Well, once I got it figured out, not only is it a whole lot easier than I thought it was, I actually look forward to planning out my emails and marketing for the year.

You want to give yourself a bit of time, maybe even a couple of days, to focus on 2020 and create a solid game plan that you can stick to (and be excited about!).  This is the overall system I use.  It’s simple, effective and easy to implement too.

There are three phases to creating your plans for 2020:

  • Dreaming & deciding
  • Reworking & evaluating
  • Planning for the future

First things first, before I give away all my productivity secrets, I want to remind you to get personal with your list.  These are your people.  Your tribe.  Your area of influence.  Whatever you want to call it.  Remember that there is a real person looking forward to your emails with goals and dreams (and piles of laundry) of their own.

I get super-real with my email list.  Emails are so personal and I share and get intimate and my people respond to that.  They want to know what’s going on in my life and what’s happening behind the scenes and I let them in on it.

Planning Your Email Marketing for 2020? If you’re ready to rock it in 2020 and have your best year ever, I’m giving you allllll my secrets when it comes to how I plan out my launches, my emails and my income for the upcoming year. #inboxbesties #emailmarketing #katedoster

Phase 1: Dreaming & Deciding

When you’re planning your marketing for the year, you want to start off by thinking of your business as a whole.  How do you want it to look?  How do you want it to feel?  What are your words for the year?

When choosing a word of the year, pick a word or phrase that applies to every aspect of your life from your business to your personal, to your what you wear, what you eat, what you do with your spare time… what’s one word or phrase that encompasses that essense of how you want 2020 to be for you?

My word for 2019 was “abundance” and I planned every month out to focus on bringing more abundance into my life.  That meant an abundance of time with my family, an abundance of personal growth, an abundance income in my business, and an abundance of students in Love Your List.

Next, take time to brainstorm what your big goals and projects are for the upcoming year. For me, 2020 is going to be about writing a book, getting published on Amazon, creating a YouTube channel, launching Love Your List, and at least one speaking gig.

Write it all down, whatever your big goals are.  You’re only brainstorming at this point so have fun with it!  You want to get it all out of your head and onto paper because you want to make sure that you’re planning your email marketing in a way that is relevant to those big goals.

In phase two, you’re going to make sure your welcome series leads your list towards your goals.  For me, that means that I need to make sure that my email marketing includes sending people to my Instagram because growing my Instagram is a goal for me right now.

Phase 2: Reworking & Evaluating

When you’re planning your email marketing, the first thing you want to look at is your email list.  Keep in mind the ABC’s of email marketing: Attract, Bond & Convert.

You want to make sure that you’re attracting the right people first  of all.  Then, do a good job bonding with them and showing them that you are the person who can help them reach their goals with steps to help them along the way.  Once you’ve done that, you can convert them by asking them to follow you on Instagram or asking them to put down some cash to buy your products or to share your freebie with a friend.

Once you’ve taken a look at who you want to attract, you want to make sure that your freebies are serving you and your goals.  Take a good honest look at what you’ve got and ask yourself if you need to get rid of them or rework them to fit your goals. Are you still talking to the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  Your business changes and grows.  This is the time to reevaluate and make sure that your messaging speaks to the people that you want to attract.

I took an objective look at my own freebies and had to ask myself if they are attracting the right type of person for me now that my business has evolved.

For example, my freebies are attracting people who are brand-spankin’ new to email marketing and Love Your List is suited for someone who is more intermediate to advanced.  What am I doing in the interim to educate my list?  Do I want to create a beginner’s “stepping stone” course at a lower price point to prepare my audience for Love Your List?  Do I need to create different content so I’m attracting people who are already at the intermediate stage?

This is the evaluating stage where you identify the gaps in your email marketing before you rework it.

The next thing you want to evaluate is your freebie and what happens once someone signs up for it.  Do you have freebies that lead towards a paid product or affilate sale?  Is your email series leading them towards a paid product or service?

For me Trelloing for Traffic, especially this time of year, is a money-maker.  Trello is what I use to run my business.  It has all of my workflows, it’s how I stay organized and how I manage my team.  No matter what project management system you use, you have to find something to contain your brain and for me, it’s Trello so I created a course around it.

Right now, I don’t have a strong enough freebie leading to Trelloing for Traffic. The only freebie leading to it is a Facebook Trello board and it needs to be updated or revamped entirely.  Although Trelloing for Traffic does well, I could be doing a better job with content trails to lead peple to it.

It’s vitally important that you take a look at your freebies but this only works if you know what the goals are that you are working towards.

The next aspect of planning your email marketing for 2020 is to look at your tech. Is your tech serving you?  Are things working the way they should?  Are your opt-in pages converting?  Are your thank you pages doing what they are supposed to do?

For myself, I saw that my tech isn’t serving me when it comes to analytics.  In 2020, part of my marketing plan is paid traffic. Of course, you always want to know your numbers but when you’re paying for traffic, it’s even more important to know what your most profitable freebies and posts are.

I’m adding Pinterest ads to my stable in 2020 so I need to know what blog posts actually lead people down a trail to get on my email list and then convert to a paid offer.  I’m looking at Convert Kit’s opt-in forms because they have built-in analytics right there on the platform.  That way, I can look at a glance and know right away which opt-in forms are converting the best and then send traffic down the right path.

Convert Kit has built in analytics right on the platform.  I need to know what opt-in forms are converting the best so I can send traffic down the right path and with Convert Kit’s analytics, I can tell at a glance which posts to send my traffic to.  If you’re considering Convert Kit, you can try them out for free at

planning your email marketing kate doster inbox besties podcast

When evaluating your tech, also look at what you can let go of.  Maybe you’ve outgrown a software or it’s become outdated.  Your business is constantly growing and evolving so that means what you relied on a year or two ago is now gathering digital dust and costing you money in the meantime.  This is a great time of year to cancel subscriptions, ditch old apps and reconsider memberships that you no longer need.

While you’re reworking and evaulating, don’t forget about the legal aspects of your business.  A big change last year was the big GDPR law coming into effect.  If you’re not sure what that means for you, I recommend checking out Inbox Besties Episode 109 with Miriam Tsaturyan where she covers GDPR in-depth and helps you get compliant.

Once you’ve evaluated your email marketing, your tech and your legal, it’s time to move on to reworking. 

Take a look at your most popular and profitable freebies, welcome series and funnels.  What is in store for your list once they sign up for your freebie?  What do you need to do to revamp your funnel?

This doesn’t mean you have to start over from scratch.  In fact, you may only need to make a couple of tweaks to make sure your messaging is in alignment to your marketing goals for this year.  You’ve grown in your business.  What you wrote in 2019 might not reflect your business and it’s goals for 2020.  If one of your goals is to grow your Instagram, you just need to go back through your emails and make sure that promoting your Instagram is baked into your welcome series.

If you’re not sure what to include in your welcome series or if you want to start over with a clean slate, I’ve got you covered.  The Email Marketing Fairy has 50+ word-for-word templates to get you going in the right direction.  There’s also Inbox Besties Episode 93 where I talk about exactly what you need to include in your welcome series to create buyers and fans for life.

You’ll also find that the more emails you write, the better you get at it so don’t be surprised if you look at your old emails and wonder how you ever grew your list in the first place with them.  This is why we revamp at least once a year.

It’s vitally important to have your welcome series or funnel lead people towards your goals.


It can take a whole month to get through all of your emails.  If you start with the most profitable and popular, you’re making the most of your time because that’s where you are already getting the most eyeballs.  Then you can schedule out revamping your other email marketing series later on in the year.  If you only get one thing done between now and the first week of January, make that one thing revamping the emails people get once they sign up for your best freebie.

What if, after evaluating your freebies, you decide you need to revamp your freebie?  I’ve got you covered there too.  Head on over to for the free ‘Freebies That Sell & Serve’ mini-course.  That way, when you’re planning your email marketing, you can schedule creating your new freebie into your game plan for 2020.

Phase 3:  Planning for the Future

When you’re planning your email marketing, you want to already have your ongoing nurturing emails in place plus have real-time content planned at least a few months in advance.

What I like to do when planning my life and business for the year is what I call the “one page year”.  That way everything is on one page and it’s nice and easy for my brain to process how my goals fit in with what I have to do to make that happen.

I use a notebook and make squares for each month.  Yes, I know it’s old-school but this is what works for me.

planning your email marketing 2020 kate doster inbox besties

The first thing I do is fill any any events, trips and time off that I want to schedule.  In April, I’m going to a conference out of town and I’m speaking at another event so that is my travel month.  In February, we are going to Disney and the Back to Business Bundle is launching again so I’ll plan for that.  I know that another one of my goals for 2020 is to write a book so I need to figure out where that fits in… you get the idea.

When you have it all laid out, it gives you the big picture to see when you have the time to make your goals your reality. 

Planning your year this way makes sure that what you’re sending out to your email list ultimately supprots your big business goals.  That’s why you want to look at the big picture for the year.  That’s where the other half of planning for the future comes in.

You’ll know that if you are launching a YouTube channel in March, you want to start talking about it a month or so ahead of time.  That gives you time to ask them what questions they have or what content they want to see. You can tease your audience with a “step 1 and step 2” and let them know “step 3” will be on your YouTube.

If you have a launch coming up, then you can see ahead of time what type of content you want to put out that supports that launch.  If I have a push coming up for Trelloing for Traffic, I know I need to email my list with content around how I schedule my week with Trello or how I use Trello to delegate tasks to my team.

Let’s say you don’t have any launches or anything to promote coming up on your calendar.  If you know that ahead of time, it gives you time to plan for content that is more personal where you’re sharing some behind the scenes content or just what is going on in your life.

Planning your year with this big picture view leaves you a lot of wiggle room to adjust and adapt throughout the year.  That way, if you decide you want to have a mastermind or launch a new product, you’ve got the flexibility to add it into your calendar.

I personally only plan out detailed goals for four months ahead.  I have my big picture goals penciled in and then look at the more detailed view a few months at a time so it’s more manageable and flexible.  The most important thing is to do what works best for you so you have a plan to reach your goals.

Quick Review and Final Thoughts About Planning Your Email Marketing

When you’re planning your email marketing, you want to make sure that your emails are still relevant and that they lead people into what your big goals are for the year.

The 3 Phases Are

  • Dreaming & deciding:  This is where you go balls to the wall and have fun deciding what your big goals are for the year
  • Reworking & evaluating: This is where you take notes and pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to your email marketing, and your freebies. You’re checking your tech & tools.  You’re making sure you’re still legal.  And you’re making sure that everything is relevant to where your business is heading for the new year.
  • Planning for the future: Since you know what your big goals are, you’re able to plan out your email marketing, stay on target with your messaging, plan to get more of the right people on your list and still leave room for flexibility.

I know, I know… I can hear you from here…

“But Kate, I’m so overwhelmed and I don’t have three days to plan everything out! What should I do first??”

If you’re crunched for time, focus on these two things right away:

  1. What’s your word or phrase for the year?
  2. Revamping your most popular or profitable funnel

Once you’ve done that, then schedule a couple of days or spend a weekend planning the next year.

When you have those big projects that help you reach your goals planned out, it makes it so much easier to know what kind of content to create for audience.

Always keep your mission in mind and how many people you can help by putting your mission and message out there in the world.  

One of the things I always hear is how people wish they could have found me sooner.  I know I’m on the right path when people tell me how much my content and my courses are changing their lives for the better.  When your mission and message literally changes people’s lives for the better, it’s your job to get out in front of the people who are desperately hoping to find someone to help them.  That’s why it’s so important for me to write that book and speak on stage.  What are you going to do in 2020 to reach the pople who are looking for you?

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