Goal Setting 101: How to Set Goals for Your Email Marketing


by Kristen Dahlberg As a marketer, you know that building an email list is a vital part of most online business endeavors. But if yo...


As a marketer, you know that building an email list is a vital part of most online business endeavors.
But if your only goal is to simply grow your list, then you’re missing the point of email marketing altogether.

Confused? Let me illustrate it another way. Let’s say you want to run in a 5K race. (Ugh, exercise, right?)

In your mind, the goal is to run in the race.

So you do a bit of cardio a few days a week to get your body in shape, and some days you decide to eat a little better too. Come race day, you’re seemingly ready.

You have your game face on, your runner’s number pinned to your nice new running smock and when the gunshot for the start of the race goes off, there your are right in the thick of the race.

But after about 15 minutes, you realize something…

This whole time, your goal has been to simply run in the race. However, the goal of the race is to cross the finish line. And guess what? You didn’t train to finish the race. You trained just to run in it.

Your goal was wrong from the start and you didn’t know it until just now.

So, let’s end this little story and bring it back to our topic of email marketing. What does this have to do with list building?

Well, in many cases, when people are focusing solely of building a list they are like that runner whose only goal was to run the race. However, like that runner, they soon realize that  just building a list won’t help them “cross the finish line” into successful email marketing.

Building a list is only one part of marketing with email just like entering to run a race is just one part of actually finishing it.

If you want to win at email marketing than you need to have goals in place so that you’re not lagging behind or losing out altogether.

Why Set Goals for Email Marketing?

Why set goals? Because they matter!

Obviously, that’s an oversimplification, but it doesn’t change the fact that goals make a difference in just about every part of your life — including email.

What’s the simplest reason behind why you need them? Without goals you will have nothing to shoot at and you also have no way of measuring any real results.

Think of it this way:

A goal is a target and your efforts are the arrows. With no target to hit, your efforts are pointless.

The other side of the coin is goals are motivating. And if you work with a team of people, well thought-out goals can keep everyone on a similar path. They help cut out the frustration of everyone doing busy work without seeing the benefits.

So now that we’ve covered why you need goals, let’s dig into this a little deeper.

Email Marketing Goals Are Great, But You Need These Too…

Right now you’re at the point where you probably understand how much you need goals. But… they aren’t the only thing you need to set.

You should also be establishing objectives.

How are goals and objectives different?

Let’s go back to the illustration of archery. As we touched on before, a goal is like a target you plan to hit and an objective is like the bullseye.

Here’s what I mean.

Goal: I want to make more money from my email list.

Objective: I want to increase affiliate sales through my email list by 20% for the first quarter.

Did you catch the difference? The goal was broad, but the objective makes it specific.

So to make a goal even easier to measure, adding objectives to it is a great way to make sure you (and your team, if applicable) can stay on track and know exactly how your efforts are paying off.

How To Set a Plan That Works for YOU

Since every business is a bit different, there’s no such thing as a “one-size fits all” approach to setting goals.

And if you pick a goal without considering how it fits into your overall business strategy, you could be wasting a lot of your time.

However, one rather effective goal setting method is called Backward Goal-Setting which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like:

You start with your end destination (goal) and work back from there.

I don’t want to take too much time going over it, so I’ll just give you the cliff notes of how to do break this down:
  1. Start with one of your main business goals.
  2. Break down that goal into necessary milestones/objectives.
  3. List out daily actions to help you reach those milestones.
Now, to make it easier to understand how the process works, here is an example.

Let’s say that Sam is a freelance Facebook Ad Specialist.

Sam wants to make $80K this year from her business. In order to reach this goal, she has a few milestones she needs to accomplish:
  1. Increase conversion on her main landing page by 7%.
  2. Make 50+ sales on her course for DIY customers.
  3. Drive 5% more sales to her digital book about FB Ads for Entrepreneurs.
So, now that Sam knows the objectives she has to reach, she sits down and starts listing out ways to go about hitting her mark:
  • A/B Test her landing page.
  • Using FB ads to send warm traffic to this page.
  • Drive all cold traffic to free email course.
  • Increase email list by double.
  • Add affiliate options.
  • Promote affiliate options to email list and online friends.
  • Add book to tripwire in her funnel.
  • Send paid traffic to the landing page for her book.
This list could go on for quite a bit, but I think you get the point. Do you see what Sam did here?

By working backwards she was able to narrow down exactly what she needed to do to reach her main business goal. For each of the daily tasks she’s listed, there is more detailed strategizing to do, but this gives you idea of how to break it down.

Using that example, you should have a better idea of how to choose reasonable objectives and set up daily actions to reach your goals. If you want a more strategic approach to this, then the SELF Journal is a great option to get you moving in the right direction.

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Email Marketing Goals For Your Business

The interesting thing with email marketing is that you can leverage it to meet other goals in your business strategy. For instance, you can use email to support content marketing goals like getting more readers to see your posts or help social media efforts by increasing social shares.

Below you’ll find a few goals that you can use for your email marketing campaigns.

There are more goals and objectives than the ones listed here, but they are a great place to start for just about any business.

Goal: Increase Open-Rate

Focusing on improving your open-rate is a great goal to start with.

While sending emails to your list is important, getting people to actually open them is the most important thing. After all, if subscribers are not opening your emails in the first place, your efforts from here on out are essentially a waste of time.

If you’re a bit lost as to how to do about this, first consider what your main objective will be.

Open Rate Objectives

For example, you may want to increase open-rate…
  • for every email sent by X amount.
  • by X percent for the entire year.
  • of your less engaged users by X amount.
These ideas are just a few things you could focus on. Now, how do you accomplish this?

How To Reach Your Objective

1. Write Better Subject Lines
You probably already know this, but your subject lines affect your open rate by A LOT. On average, about 35% of people say they open an email based on the subject.

And let’s be honest, when you do that daily email purge, if you haven’t read it yet and the subject isn’t compelling it winds up in the trash, right? Yup, I do it too, so it’s not hard to understand this.

If you really want to spruce up your subject lines, this article has some proven ways to create powerful headlines so people actually open your emails.

2. Check Your Deliverability
What if you know your subject lines are killer? A deliverability issue could be the reason your open rate is struggling.

For example, do your emails land in the Promotions tab of your subscribers Gmail account? That can ding your open-rate.

Who is your email marketing provider? Some do better than others when it comes to getting your emails front and center of an inbox.

If you can figure out where your emails wind up and why, then you’ll be in much better shape moving forward. Start by reading up on how to reach your subscriber’s inbox with our Deliverability 101 post.

Now, let’s look at another possible goal for your email marketing efforts.

Goal: Increase Click-Through Rate

Ah, yes. CTR…

With every email you send, there is a link somewhere that you’d like subscribers to click on. Click-throughs to your linked content is what makes up your CTR and if you’re struggling with good numbers, you’re not alone.

But mastering this metric can help in more ways than one. Not only does it get people to where you want them to be, it also keeps up the health of your email account.

Yep, email marketing tools keep track of this stuff too and if you’re not doing well on things like open-rate or CTR, then your account could be considered spammy. How’s that for a kick in the gut, right?

So, how can you fix this? Again, first start with your objective.

Click Through Rate Objectives

I want to increase the CTR…
  • of my new subscribers by X.
  • of my entire list by X.
  • of X segmented list by X.
Got it? Great!

Now the real issue. How do you do this?

How To Reach Your Objective

Depending on the objective here, the way you reach this goal could be a little different. But basics email marketing principles still apply. If you need to brush up on some of these basics, you could try one of these 11 surefire tricks from HubSpot to get you started.

But here are some great tactics that have worked for others:

1. Include Video
Here’s how you do this:

In your email, include a screenshot of a video with a play-button icon on it that links to your desired content.

The play button acts as a call-to-action that leads to an almost compulsory click.

Bam! Your click through rate just exploded!

2. A/B Test Your CTA

When in doubt, test it out.

I know that sounds like something Bill Nye might have said, but this holds as true in marketing as it does other things in life. Not only can you A/B test your calls-to-action to see if one performs better than another, you can also add tracking to see which links are getting the most action.

This gives you more chances to improve your CTR and help you figure out what is working better for segmented lists too.

One great tool to help with A/B testing, click monitoring and tracking links is called ClickPerfect. This is a tool we use ourselves every day which has helped Snaptactix get amazing results.

Set Email Marketing Goals

Email has a place in every business out there, but not every business has the same goals.

By hunkering down and establishing clear, attainable goals, you’ll have the ability to figure out exactly where it fits in the grand scheme of things.

Depending on your objectives and how you’ll actually reach them, you can decide just how much time you should be investing in your email efforts.

Mastering email marketing is not an easy feat, but as with just about everything else in life, practice can make all the difference.

Your turn! What areas of email marketing do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments below and if you liked this post, please share with a friend who could benefit from the info!




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#DIGITAL: Goal Setting 101: How to Set Goals for Your Email Marketing
Goal Setting 101: How to Set Goals for Your Email Marketing
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