What is your No. 1 tip for creating/sustaining a solid email marketing strategy?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

1. Build an Editorial Calendar

Trying to write emails on the fly will guarantee that your strategy gets derailed. Write out an editorial calendar, breaking down what will go into each email—at least for the length of the campaign. Personally, I prefer to plan six months in advance—minimum—so I can get ahead and stay ahead. If you’re segmenting your emails, build it into your calendar, as well as promotions. –Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

2. Be Transparent with Readers

Give your readers something to look forward to by letting them know what to expect. Coupons on Tuesday? Case studies on the first Monday of the month? Make a schedule and you’ll be surprised how quickly your readers will contact you when you miss an email! Announcing it publicly is also a great way to ensure that your content schedule actually stays on track. –Laura Roeder, LKR

3. Always Provide Value

Regular email marketing can be a great way to keep yourself at the forefront of people’s minds, but don’t just spam your list with pleas to buy, buy, buy. Make sure to always provide value in your mailings, whether with interesting links, helpful advice or nifty resources. People are more willing to buy from someone they already consider helpful. –Steph Auteri, Word Nerd Pro

4. Make It Personal

Yes, you know you’re sending an email to thousands of people, but the person receiving that email doesn’t want to feel like one of the masses. Personalize your emails with little tidbits of information about your life; talk to your readers as if they are good friends. People will appreciate the personalized feel, and it makes your emails more engaging. –Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media

5. Share Positive Content

As a self-help book author and motivational speaker, it is my practice to share empowering content. Because my email marketing strategy is based on positive messaging, it spreads like wildfire. Let’s face it: who doesn’t want to be happy? Spread the good word and share a positive message! –Gabrielle Bernstein, Gabrielle Bernstein Inc.

6. Use the Right Tools

Content is certainly crucial, but so is choosing the right tools to use for your email marketing. There are tons of options out there, but my number one recommendation would be to use AWeber. There are also ways to increase signups on your site by using tools such as PopUp Domination, ViperBar and more. Find the best tools and leverage them! –Ben Lang, MySchoolHelp

7. Segment, Segment, Segment

Doreen BlochIt’s not enough to think you have a solid email marketing strategy by throwing all your email addresses into one batch. Think about ways to better segment your email list to avoid non-targeted messages. Don’t just segment by geography or demographics; consider segmenting by activity level too. If a subscriber hasn’t opened one of your emails in a month, try a reengagement campaign. –Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

8. Are You Split-Testing?

By now, most marketing managers know all about conversion optimization and landing page testing, yet very few email marketers bother to test their subject lines or email creative. Tools such as CampaignMonitor make it easy to create multiple versions of one email, send them to small portions of your list, measure the results, and then send the best performer out to the rest of the list. –Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

9. Don’t Forget Deliverability

Email deliverability is like oxygen to your email strategy—you cannot survive without it. Many marketers focus on testing or segmenting but forget to master the art of deliverability. Make sure your email service provider has strong “whitelisting” capabilities with the major ISPs. Get a dedicated IP for your mailing. Ensure you can view feedback loop reports to manage any spam issues. –Warren Jolly, Affiliate Media Inc.

10. Keep It Consistent

Your email marketing strategy should be consistent with your messaging sent through other marketing channels. Different messages will only confuse your customers, so always make the information easy to digest and consistent with the company they have grown to love. –Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

11. Don’t Overload Them!

Customers get tons of emails, so we know their bandwidth or capacity for caring enough to read our email has to be shared with everyone else. We keep it simple: we make a bold headline, have them simply click through to a video, site or fan page, and update them with the biggest news only. All other details are found on the fan page, Twitter or blog. –Jerry Piscitelli, Portopong LLC

12. Respond Whenever Possible

These days, if someone is on your email list, they don’t necessarily expect personal responses if they reply to you. Surprise them and give as many thoughtful, personal responses as you can when it’s necessary. This will build rapport and brand loyalty with customers in the process. –Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

13. Landing Pages for Potential Subscribers

Whenever you do an online marketing activity—such as a guest post—send readers to a landing page with an email sign up form instead of directing them to your main website. This will greatly increase your percentage of sign ups, which in turn enhances your ability to keep in touch with your fans and followers. –Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

14. Check Your Own Inbox

What types of emails do you most enjoy receiving from companies? Which ones have you springing for the unsubscribe button? I prefer emails that have a sense of humor, provide transparency, and show personality while adding value. Address your customers as if you’re talking to them in a coffee shop, rather than trying to sell them something. And don’t get bogged down by clunky templates! –Jenny Blake, Life After College