Mind Mapping Your Email Campaign

Writers plot with it. Businesses use it in meetings. Chris Brogan does it. And you can plan your email marketing campaign with it.

What is it? Well, the title probably gives it away. So enough with the dramatics. Let’s talk about how you can use a mind map to get your email campaign rolling.

This technique is right for you once you’ve already jumped the first few hurdles in deciding how email marketing fits your business. For the visual thinkers, mapping your plan of attack can help you see your goals more clearly.

Mind mapping is one way to focus your campaign. This post shows you how to do it.

The Definition

Some of you might already be familiar with the idea of mind mapping. For the uninitiated, a mind map is a non-linear visual outline used to explore concepts and find connections between topics you might not otherwise realize.

Mind mapping lets you visualize your ideas in an easy-to-read diagram that lays out the whole picture of your project. You can prioritize, brainstorm and manage your campaign by outlining it with a mind map.

The Technique

So how do you plot this campaign road map?

Think of your mind map like a tree with branches holding all your ideas. Your main topic (email marketing) goes in the center with your goals branching out on separate limbs. Some limbs might intertwine with others and some will stand apart on their own, contributing to the big picture.

Here’s what your map could look like:

This is just one way to organize. How you lay out your map is up to you. Some people prefer to use bubbles extending from a central circle. Others style it like a flow chart. You’re not limited to the format shown in this example.

The How-To

Take a blank sheet of paper and write “Email Marketing” in the center (or “My Campaign.” Or draw a picture. Whatever resonates with you). Circle it. Decorate it. Make it stand out.

Draw branches extending from the circle and label them with the parts of your campaign that need some fleshing out. This example brainstorms “Goals,” “Target Audience,” “Segments,” “Topics,” “Follow Up Series,” “Branding,” and “Social Media,” but you can draw branches for whatever aspects need more planning.

For instance, maybe you already have clear goals for your campaign. Use your mind map to plan out other components you haven’t fully realized yet, like email design or sign-up incentives to offer.

As your ideas build and grow from the center, you’ll have a visual strategy for your campaign, content and audience that will help you market effectively. You can’t market without a good vision, and mind mapping is one way to achieve that.

Let’s look at an example of how you can brainstorm your game plan.

Ask yourself questions about your segments and your audience. Grow your ideas out as you answer these questions for your business. Use this technique for your other branches, too:

  • Does a cross-over with social media make sense for my company?
  • How do we keep our brand consistent?
  • What should my follow up series achieve and what kind of message topics will make that happen?

Start a new branch for each question you need to tackle until you address every point you need for your campaign.

Now that you have it plotted out, you can move forward with creating your campaign.

The Next Steps

Now you have a template for your campaign that you can use to keep your marketing goals on track.

Remember that you don’t have to follow our example map to the letter. The point is to customize your map and use it to flesh out the points in your campaign that you’re not sure about yet.

If you’re not into mapping with pen and paper, here are a few resources you can use instead:

15 free online mind mapping tools
11 more from LifeHack
6 Resources from MakeUseOf

What other tools would you use to help plot out your campaign?


  1. Ivan Walsh

    10/8/2011 2:46 pm

    Well done, Rebekah.

    Bit skeptical about this when I started reading but you did a great job!

  2. M

    10/11/2011 8:49 am

    Thank you for sharing so nice blogs .

  3. Noel Grace

    10/11/2011 9:38 am

    I am an author and is looking for sources to expose my books both in print and the e-book platform. I am impressed by the innovation exposed in this article but I do not have a list and I would like to target Kindle owners.

  4. Rebekah Henson

    10/11/2011 10:03 am


    You might want to check out this article about promoting your book to Kindle users: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/blog/2009/07/14/a-kindle-success-story-how-to-promote-a-kindle-ebook/

    Then, read some of our tips on ways to build your email list here: https://www.aweber.com/blog/email-marketing/how-to-get-email-addresses.htm

    Hope that helps!

  5. Ron Orr

    10/11/2011 12:20 pm

    The biggest thing though is with so many moving parts on the internet, to fully understand and believe 100% that email should be the spot in the middle that every thing stems off of. Many will see it as just a branch, but until you can wrap your head around with the 100% belief that the center is it’s only home, then it’s hard to fully visualize. An email list is the only thing you can control at the end of the day, with all things marketing. Anyone can buy a list, or buy data, but without the execution, and the long-term relationship building, there isn’t a built up equity. Use social media, and other moving components for what they are good for online, getting traffic, then use the social networks, SEO, etc to get people to your website and subscribe.

  6. Rebekah Henson

    10/11/2011 12:45 pm

    Ron – That’s an excellent point for business owners who are strategizing their entire marketing campaign. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about using email marketing as part of a larger vision that includes social media and other online components.

    That’s not the point of this post, though. This post is directed at business owners who want to zero in on their email marketing “branch” and work the kinks out of their campaign. You could certainly repeat the technique to flesh out a social media campaign, SEO tactics, or any number of other online marketing techniques. Since we’re an email marketing company, we chose to focus on a method to help readers get their email campaigns off the ground. You could certainly take it further to encompass all of your marketing goals at once.

  7. Adam W. Warner

    10/11/2011 2:27 pm

    Rebekah, great write up and oddly, a subject that I had sent to a writer of mine to cover just this morning (detailing MindMeister) for our readers.

    We’re fairly new to creating follow up campaigns and mind mapping has helped us to visualize the whole campaign much more easily. Then it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks:)

    Again, great write up!

  8. M

    10/11/2011 2:46 pm

    thank you . it is very good !

  9. Liam Hughes

    12/22/2011 6:31 am

    Hi Rebekah,

    If you are interested in mind maps, you may be interested in the mind map library and community at http://www.Biggerplate.com

    The site is totally free to use and hosts a library of over 2,000 mind maps that have been submitted by our users!