Marcus Tullius Cicero said it best: “Before beginning, plan carefully.” These are the words of warning we are advised to heed whenever we set out to accomplish something important.

In this email marketing series, you have already learned the importance of identifying your target audience, getting your customers to take specific actions, and sniffing out the competition. Now I’m going to cover the most important part of your email marketing plan up to this point – determining the ultimate goal.

Why Are You Here?

Are you leveraging email to generate traffic to build your presence on the social networks? Spread awareness for a nonprofit cause? Boost your sales numbers? Whatever goals you have defined for your business, rest assured that this flexible tool can help you reach them. The benefits of an ultra-focused, well designed campaign may be a high rate of conversions, up-selling and cross-selling opportunities, and customer retention. Perhaps the real benefit lies in being able to keep your brand in front of an audience who, when fully engaged, could become loyal enough to share your marketing message and sell it to others.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the agility of email marketing. It has easily adapted to today’s ever-evolving business climate and complements other marketing methods.

Are Your Goals Realistic?

The problem isn’t having goals, it is setting goals that are overly difficult to achieve and quite frankly, unrealistic. There is, however, a simple solution. Instead of aiming for the sky right away, set smaller goals, and set the bar higher at each milestone.

For instance, if you are new to email marketing, generating 100 conversions a week may be unrealistic. Maybe 50 every two weeks is easier to achieve. If that seems too farfetched, set your sights on generating 25 conversions a month. Setting your goals too high sets you up for failure. Be realistic about your objectives and real success in your email campaigns will be much easier.

Set a Time Limit on Your Goals

Lay your goals out in a timeline format that allows you to visual them. A timeline is effective for setting deadlines, working towards your goals, and actually getting them accomplished. When you can see that an end to your objective is within reach, you can be positive that you are focusing your investment, time, and effort in the right direction.

Laying out a timeline for your objectives is as simple as firing up your favorite spreadsheet program and entering the tasks you want to accomplish. You could designate goals to be completed in a certain number of days, weeks, months, or whatever it takes. It pays to be realistic here because while trying to accomplish goals too quickly could put you under immense pressure, setting them too far away might cause you to miss out on the benefits you’re after. Find that perfect middle ground.

Realizing the Value of Statistical ROI

For most businesses, getting a return on what they put into marketing is among their key objectives. Tracking ROI is essential because it determines how much you should be investing to accomplish your goals. While measuring ROI can be a tricky endeavor with more complex campaigns, the comprehensive reporting tools you have at your disposal can dramatically simplify the process.

Combine the statistics in your reports with a commitment to actually analyzing them. The performance data from email campaign reports can give you more metrics than you know what do with, but being able to identify the numbers that really matter is critical. When it comes to ROI, those measurements should be tailored to the business and its goals. Therefore, in order to accurately calculate the return on your investment, you must determine which metrics provide a true snapshot of your campaign results.

Are You Ready?

Some companies are certain that email marketing is vital for staying in touch with customers, maintaining sales, and the longevity of the business. Others view it at as a short-term solution that will enable them to accomplish short-term goals. Whether you plan to take the full plunge or get in and out, the real question is, are you ready to commit yourself to the process? Are you ready to do what it takes to see your goals through to the end? If the answer is yes, then join us next week as we explore the design and content of your next email.

The Email Marketing Plan Series: