3 Easy Ways to Set and Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals

As a marketer, you know that email marketing is vital to your overall marketing strategy!

Getting your message into your audience’s inbox builds connection and trust, but there’s one struggle a lot of marketers face…

While almost half of businesses claim email is directly linked to their primary revenue, they find it difficult to measure the results of their campaigns.

Your well-crafted campaigns can easily suffer if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. That’s exactly why it’s important to know what you want to achieve with your email marketing!

Why Setting Goals is So Important

Before we dig into how you can start setting goals for your business, let’s take a look at why setting goals is important in the first place, using real-life examples from real-life brands that have seen goal setting success.

How a Marketing Company Boosted ROI by 2000% with Goal Setting

Take one of marketing company DMN3’s clients. They set a goal to make a sale in the first month of their email campaign.

Once they’d set that goal, they put in place action steps to get them there that were based on building awareness and targeting existing customers.

Firstly, they crafted a killer email subject line, they then used words to communicate the value of their services in the body of the email. Finally, they made sure their emails were responsive (they quickly realized the majority of their customers were viewing on mobile).

With this solid three-step process in place, they reaped the benefits.

The first sale was made in the first two weeks, while the email campaign itself saw a 200% increase in email opens.

On top of that, the campaign generated a whopping 2000% ROI. That’s a huge win. Huge!

See how powerful setting goals can be?

When you know where you are and where you need to be heading, you can improve each campaign to create an impressive and wildly successful email strategy.

As Jim Sterne, founder of eMetrics, says: “Without clear goals, there’s no need to measure anything; without measuring, there’s no way to know if the work you’re doing is helping to achieve your goals.”

But, before we dive into how you can set achievable goals, let’s take a look at the email marketing metrics you can measure.

How a Finance Brand Boosted Engagement By 145% (A.K.A. How Intangible Goals Can Be Measured Too)

Private financial life management company United Capital rebranded their newsletter but found engagement levels dropped.

They set a goal to boost those levels by expanding the scope of their newsletter to include original content centered around what their audience actually wanted – which they learned via customer research.

This “value-added content” strategy, which favored content by internal experts over curated content, saw engagement levels shoot up by 145% in one year.

For United Capital, that translated as people sharing their posts, interacting on their site, and clicking through on links 145% more times than their previous newsletter.  

The Email Metrics You Need to Measure For Success

Before you start planning out your goals, you need to know, firstly, what you can measure and, secondly, what you want to measure within your campaigns.

1. Deliverability Rate

Are your emails getting to inboxes? If you have a low deliverability rate, that might mean that your audience isn’t giving you their correct information, which ultimately boils down to a trust issue.

2. Bounce Rate

How many emails are bouncing back? Again, if you have a high bounce rate, that means the information you have on file for your audience might be incorrect – or, worse, they might be marking your emails as spam.

3. open rate

Are your emails being opened? A high open-rate means your subject lines are hitting the spot with your audience and that they’re eager to read what you’re sending.

4. clickthrough rate

How many people clicked through on at least one link in your email? Clickthrough rate determines whether your calls-to-action are working and whether your offer is as compelling to your subscribers as you think it is.

5. Unsubscribe rate

How many people unsubscribed from your campaign? If you have a high number of unsubscribes, that might mean you’re getting your messaging wrong.

6. conversion Rate

How many people clicked on a link and completed an action, like downloading a book or buying a product? Most marketers covet a high-conversion rate, as this shows you’re selling something your subscribers want to pick up.

7. ROI

What amount did you spend on your campaign versus the amount you got back? ROI is a tricky one to measure, as this could include the time spent creating a campaign as well as the monetary value of it. But to boil it down to its basics, a high ROI means you’re getting back more than you’re putting in.

Bear in mind that you don’t need to pick just one goal for each campaign. There are no favorites here.

For example, with a launch campaign you might want to convert at X%, but you might also want to increase the ROI of the campaign, too. And there might be intangible results that come off the back of these goals, like receiving responses from recipients, boosting engagement, or getting your content shared by a big-name influencer.

email marketing goals - ROI chart

The ROI of email marketing is much higher than other marketing methods. Source.

How to Set Goals You Can Reach

Setting goals might seem like an easy task (“I just want to get X amount of people to open my emails!”), but thinking about what you want to achieve is just one part of the process.

After that, you need to figure out how you’re going to actually reach that goal and how you’re going to measure it – that’s the tricky part!

Specific = Successful

There’s a very real danger when choosing a goal for your email campaigns that you’ll go too generic. This can mess with your ideas for measuring the results and implementing changes to improve future campaigns.

Ideally, you want to get as specific as possible.

For example, “generate more revenue” is a goal, but it’s not a very good goal.

In fact, it’s a terrible goalwhat does “more revenue” mean? What does that look like when it’s written down or in your monthly accounts?

Sure, it’s a solid overall objective and, realistically, you can measure it, but it’s too broad to produce any useful insights that you can put in place in your next campaign.

Remember DMN3’s client and their very specific, simple goal? Just one sale, that’s all they wanted.

The answer here is to break your goals down and get really specific. I mean, super specific – it might even be uncomfortable it’s so specific.

For example, a clear, actionable goal that is specific might be something like “increase new subscribers by 25%” or “increase the number of recipients at the interest stage to X”.

You see the difference?

These specific goals actually have numbers attached to them, which means you can either hit your goal (and smash it) or fail to reach it. When you add a numerical value to your goal or a percentage increase, it’s much easier to determine whether you’re on track or not.

Best Case/Worst Case to Break the Fall

Of course, you’re not always going to meet your goals.

You might be overly optimistic or even under-predict because you don’t know how powerful your campaigns are.

In this instance, you can provide two different numbers or percentage increases – a worst case scenario and a best case scenario. This means if you fall somewhere in between the two, you’re still winning without having to pin your hopes and dreams on a single number.

email marketing goals - Email Chart

In the example above, you can see that there are two options laid out in the two right-hand columns. There is a best case scenario number and percentage and a worst case scenario number and percentage.

Planning your goals like this means you’re not setting standards that are too high, and you’re more likely to reach your goals (even if it’s in a worst cases scenario situation).

You can then use the results you get to improve future campaigns and set more realistic goals.

Set SMART Goals

The two methods for setting goals above tie into the overall idea of setting SMART goals. These are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic or relevant
  • Time-bound
email marketing goals - Smart Goals


We’ve covered specific in point #1, but let’s dig a little deeper into the mechanics behind a SMART goal.

The key to creating a “good” goal is to make sure it’s within your reach.

If you go ahead and create crazy numbers off the top of your head, the chances are you’ll be very disappointed.

Often, when marketers don’t hit their goals first time, they get disheartened.

This is detrimental to your email campaigns, and not just because it’s difficult to improve future campaigns if you don’t know how well your current ones are performing.

So when we say attainable and realistic, we mean it.

It’s easy to dream big (and there are instances where you should absolutely be doing this), but the goals for your email marketing campaigns should not be.

Once you’ve set goals for one campaign and can see it unfolding, you’ll be better placed to create goals for future campaigns. 

Finally, let’s talk about time-bound.

There are two key types of email marketing campaign – long term ones and short term ones.

With the short term campaigns, it’s easy to set a time limit on when you want to reach your goals by. With longer term campaigns it can be a little more tricky.

In this case, you want to set time limits at weekly, monthly, or yearly intervals. So, instead of “I want to increase conversions by X% with this campaign”, your goal should be something like, “I want to increase conversions by X% by March”.  

Make Goals Your Best Friend

Email marketing is one of the biggest revenue drivers for businesses, but it’s difficult to see the power of your campaigns if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

As soon as you start setting well thought-out goals for your campaigns and measuring them, you’ll be able to see what needs improving and where you’re excelling.

With mail marketing which has the potential to bring in the lion’s share of your revenue, it’s vital to make sure you’re hitting your goals and making your campaigns the best they can be!

Are you ready to set and achieve your email marketing goals? Join Sendlane today!

Natalie Ryder

Natalie Ryder

Front End Developer at Sendlane
Natalie’s passion for creating things inspired her to pursue graphic design, and her love of precise details and problem solving led her to web development. After moving to San Diego from Keene, New Hampshire to attend Point Loma Nazarene University, Natalie can’t imagine living somewhere cold again. In her free time, Natalie enjoys social dancing (Lindy Hop, Blues, West Coast Swing, and Fusion), moving heavy things around at the gym, and doing jigsaw puzzles.
Natalie Ryder