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Are your email campaign goals SMART?

SMART Goals to Boost Your Email Campaigns

Setting marketing goals is no easy task, yet it is incredibly important to be able to later report on and redefine success for tactics utilized. So, what makes a strong marketing goal and how do you create these for various marketing channels, specifically email? Let’s break it down.


Step 1: Understand SMART goals

Let’s pause for a minute and make sure we’re all on the same page regarding SMART goals. Goals are great, but unless they’re realistic, what is the point? Using the acronym SMART when determining goals will ensure you are thinking specifically about what is measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely. See below.

  • Specific – Know how much you want of something by what date. An unspecific email goal might be, “I want more people to open the email.”
  • Measurable – Make sure your goal is something you can track. Words like “more” or “less” without data associated with them don’t give you a baseline to track from.
  • Attainable – Challenge yourself but also know what you can achieve. You want to be able to report success at the end of the campaign.
  • Realistic – Just be honest. Know that there will be hurdles, know your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and plan accordingly.
  • Timely – Always, always, always set a deadline. This will give you a date by which the measurable piece has to be met in order to be considered a success.

Step 2: Determine your definition of success

Now that we know what we mean by SMART, what does it mean to execute a successful email campaign? This varies from company to company, and likely campaign to campaign. It is important to know this first, and then build a SMART goal backwards from there. Are you interested in a certain percentage open rate? A certain number of clicks on a CTA? Total leads generated from the campaign? Choose what your success is and then move to step 3.

Step 3: Set a numerical goal

Once you know what you’re measuring from determining your definition of success, decide what is attainable and realistic by setting a specific numerical goal. For email campaigns, this is usually one of the following.

  • XX% open rate
  • XX% click-through-rate to website
  • XX% conversions to leads or leads to customers (depending on your audience)

Step 4: Commit to a deadline

Think through the steps that your campaign will take and how long each of these takes to execute as well as the waiting period for your recipients to take action. For a single email, reporting in 48-72 hours is usually a good rule of thumb. Count up how many emails your campaign consists of, the days in between sends, and determine a date to report on your success from there.

Step 5: Identify any obstacles

Like with anything in marketing, there are bound to be potential roadblocks to reaching your email campaign goals. These should include time it takes your team to produce the content for emails and set-up time if there’s a chance these will interfere with your deadline, other projects and deadlines your team members are responsible for, potential issues with your email client, especially if you are new to using their software. Write these down so all parties are aware and will plan accordingly.

With clear goals documented, not only will you be able to better report on the success and areas for improvement of your marketing and email efforts, you’ll also cultivate a stronger understanding of what works and doesn’t work for your leads and customers.