How to Create Goals for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

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As a part of my job, I continually work with ActiveCampaign’s reseller partners to improve upon our platform. Resellers are companies or individuals who use our platform, brand it as their own, and then sell it to their customer base. As I work with these various companies around the world, I have noticed a common theme in the wisdom and expertise they give customers. Quite simply, it’s the advice of setting real and measurable goals for your email marketing. create goals for email mktg campaigns

The advice on how many goals, types of goals, etc. varies, but there is commonality to the theme. So many times, when people get started with email marketing, they plan on sending a monthly newsletter or something of that nature, with little thought put into how they will test, analyze, and adapt changes as knowledge is gained.

Here are three of my personal tips to help you set goals when it comes to building successful email marketing campaigns. These tips should be not be viewed as all inclusive, but simply a launching point in the goal creation process.

1. Why

Ask yourself why you are sending this email.

Are you trying to push people to your website, increase your twitter followers, alert customers of a new product, etc. Asking why might seem simple, and in all honesty it is. That is the point. Start small and go from there. This process might help you even eliminate goals. Remember, every email you send will be read to some degree (hopefully). However, if there are 15 call to actions (CTA’s), there is a good chance you will have a weaker response because contacts have no idea what is the right thing to do. This does not mean there should not be more than a single link, or that you should not have multiple types of content within an email campaign. What it does mean is when designing a campaign, let every aspect of it be well thought out and intentional. Try not to have content without a purpose.

2. What

After you have established the why of sending an email campaign, I challenge you to ask what.

What email marketing tools, pictures, text, etc. will help you accomplish the why(s)? If your primary goal is to get people to follow you on twitter, ask how the campaign can be designed to inspire readers to take this action. Questions like do we send to our whole list or segment it down, should we use personalization features, would it be better if the CTA was in the middle of the page vs the right or left sides, or should we place just a few pictures or many pictures in the email? Essentially, you are trying to examine the tools which encompass your email marketing ability, and then choose which features or options you think will work best to help you accomplish your goals.

With this being said, it should be noted never to assume because you successfully used one format or style with Campaign X, that it is the best option for all other campaigns. For example, let’s pretend you send a campaign every week with a summary of new products being released for online purchase. After a year or so, you want to send a campaign with the purpose of re-engaging customers who have not made a purchase within the past 4 months. You absolutely should not send it to your entire list, as your re-engagement offerings are not intended for all customers. My advice would be to segment which customers fall within this criteria (4 months or more since last purchase) to filter the list of recipients.

Segmenting takes advantage of one of the tools offered by most, if not all, email service providers and allows you to send a stronger targeted email instead of sending to your entire list. Then, write some very personal copy using personalization tags to give the appearance you are reaching out to that contact alone. These are two different campaigns which need two different formats based on the why of their creation.

3. How

Lastly, ask yourself how you will measure success.

Reporting is very commonly used and viewed by the users of ESP’s, but I often wonder how well the knowledge gained is applied. For example, you might see you have an open rate of 25%, which is considered to be around the industry average. My question to you would be— can it go higher? Do you use similar subject lines all the time, or would it be worth trying something new to boost opens? How about links? If you have a clear CTA, are the links related to the CTA being clicked on, and if so, how many times? Maybe you have a 25% open rate for a campaign with a clear call to action to click on 1 specific link, yet there is only a 1% click rate. Why? If the subject line changes, does it increase or decrease opens or click rates? What could be changed within the email, subject line, etc. to help improve the click rate?

Obviously this is all hypothetical, but my point remains the same. Use reporting to discover and challenge yourself with deeper questions for improvement to your email marketing strategy. It also gives you a great way to circle back to the what questions in order to continually improve current processes.

Well, there you have it. Adam’s quick guide to creating goals for email marketing. These principles can also be applied to other aspects of sales and marketing strategies as well, if you feel so inclined.

Remember, sometimes it’s a great idea to step back from the chaos and start asking questions. Very few things (I can’t actually think of any) are developed to the point of perfection where there is no room for improvement. Even if you have a well-established program running now, I would go ahead and walk through the steps provided above. Honest evaluation can very commonly lead to improvement, even of things which are already awesome.

Looking for Email Marketing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Email Marketing software solutions.

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About the Author


Adam Tuttle

Adam has a wide-ranging background from startups, manufacturing, and marketing. At ActiveCampaign, he works with small businesses to help them strategize their marketing efforts & grow their businesses.



Adam, really impressed with your blog piece. It contains important things that must be kept in mind before and while running email marketing campaign. Thanks for this wonderful blog piece.

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