How to Define Your Email Campaign Goals for Success


If you’re wondering if email is still an effective marketing channel, the answer is a resounding yes. According to our State of Marketing Report, 71% of businesses use email for their marketing efforts – and we predict that number will keep growing.

However, in order to achieve amazing results, you need to know what you want to achieve and have a strategy in place.

To measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns, you need to set goals. By having a clear goal for each email you send out, it’s easier to understand what can be classed as a good result or where there are areas for improvement.

In this post, we’ll outline how you can create SMART goals for email marketing success.

Introducing SMART goals

When setting goals and targets for email campaigns, it’s important they align with your overall marketing strategy. 

When goal-setting, it’s useful to structure your goal using the SMART target framework. The framework states that goals need to be:

– Specific: To set a well-structured goal you need to decide exactly what you want to achieve. Goals need to have a definite intent. Before you begin creating your email campaign, you need to know exactly what it is that you want to gain from the email. You can refine the email later if you feel like you need to add further details to your goal.

– Measurable: You should be able to measure your progress towards achieving a goal. This measure should be objective, not subjective. You can amend the amount that you want to achieve if you find that your campaign is more or less effective than you first thought.

– Achievable: Setting smaller goals which can be achieved regularly gives you the opportunity to build on your success.  However, your goals still need to be ambitious. If you fail to achieve an ambitious goal but still make progress, you are likely to be in a better position than you were before.

– Relevant: Every goal that you set should be relevant to your overall purpose. Although a goal may seem achievable, if it’s not going to drive your business forward, there is little point in investing time and money to achieve it. Outline how each smaller goal will contribute to your overall performance.

– Time-based: Goals need to have a set deadline or time-frame after which they will have been completed.

When should I use SMART goals?

You can use SMART goals for almost any target that you want your company to achieve. This goal setting structure is particularly useful when you need to break a larger vision into smaller, more achievable chunks.

Once you’ve established your SMART goal, you need to use the framework to continually monitor progress towards completion. You might want to schedule a weekly progress meeting so that you can discuss any potential obstacles or problems that have been encountered. This also keeps your team engaged as they’re involved in the process.

After your goal has been achieved, you can review the framework to see where your future strategy can be improved. You can also identify areas where you worked well and understand the reasons why.

Benefits of SMART goals for email campaigns

When you’re starting to plan and create an email campaign, it’s important to know what it is you want to achieve.

According to a study by Harvard University, setting goals increases motivation levels and achievement levels. Although the paper reports on studies which span a vast array of industries, they indicate a trend for goals to improve performance.

Email marketers can use this to their advantage.

When setting goals, keep in mind what you want to achieve overall and build small steps which build towards the larger goal.

The same Harvard study suggested that involving learners in the goal-setting process improved their performance.

This results from your team taking ownership of their own objectives. To boost motivation levels in your business, you should involve your team in their learning and development through goal setting activities.

In summary, SMART goals benefit your email marketing campaigns by:

  • Creating a sense of achievement upon completion;
  • Allowing you to monitor performance and progress;
  • Confirming your intent and commitment to achieving a specific objective;
  • Giving your team a focus;
  • Increasing motivation;
  • Reducing wasted time and spend on unachievable or unbeneficial objectives.

An example of a SMART goal for email campaigns

Now we have discussed what SMART goals are and how they can help your team achieve success, we have outlined an example of how these goals can be used:

Goal example: Increase email engagement rates by 20% in the next year. KPIs include click-through rates, social shares, conversion rates and return on investment.

This goal outlines the specific goal to be achieved ‘increase engagement rates’, gives a measure for success ‘by 20%’, is achievable for an established email marketing department, is relevant to the purpose of an email marketer’s role, and gives a time limit ‘in the next year’ for completion of the goal.

Once you have created goals for your email marketing campaigns, it’s useful to break the goals down in this way.  When each part of the goal is separated, you can clearly see that you have fulfilled each part of the SMART framework.

Monitoring SMART goals

One of the major benefits of the SMART target framework is that you can monitor your progress throughout. You can use the measure and time-frame that you have built into the goal to identify if you’re on track for completion.

Once set, you should arrange meetings and times where your team should update you on their progress. This allows your team to communicate any issues that they have encountered.

You can then combat issues and obstacles as they happen rather than waiting for the campaign to be completed.

A development plan can be put in place to rectify any issues that you encounter. You can also use progress reports to amend time-frames associated with specific goals.


Goal setting is crucial for email marketing success.

Setting your email marketing campaign goals will help guide the direction of your email, and makes it easier to measure the success of your efforts.

Your marketing goals should always be data-driven and well informed. This is where the importance of your marketing analytics becomes more pronounced. With an email marketing tool like Wired Plus, you can view your campaign results in real-time with visual dashboards. Try it for free.

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