Email Marketing 101 - Part One: Objectives

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This first post of this series focuses on setting email marketing objectives. However this is post one, and as the series is titled Email Marketing 101 I may have inadvertently signed an oral contract with my boss to write another 100 posts! There will be sore fingers and smashed key boards before the end of 2013!

Part One – Start with an objective

I recently attended an International Email Marketing Summit (#IEMS) online webinar hosted by @kathpay and she re-identified the need for all marketing activities, including email, to have an overarching goal. I thought I would take her comments and discuss objectives with some of my contacts.


When discussing email marketing with people it amazed me how few departments have an overarching objective to their email marketing strategy – whether these people are experienced or new or accustomed to sending out thousands of emails or tens.  If we don’t have a clear objective we cannot create/adjust our strategy and tactics towards that end goal and, if that is so, how can we expect our recipients and contacts to perform in the manner that we want?


Let’s set out two ideas here:

1)      Macro Objective(s) - or Email Program Strategy

Examples: Are we sending out email to:

- Promote brand awareness?


- Generate revenue through online sales or through nurturing leads?


- Increase subscriptions or to circulate whitepapers/content?


All the ideas above are valid objectives which will help drive a sensible email marketing program. Furthermore, if we can identify out overarching ‘macro’ objective we can work out the most important reporting metrics (or KPIs) to use for benchmarking our end goal and to check that our strategy and tactics are working.

Possible KPI email statistics:

Brand awareness – could use view rate


Revenue – could use click to purchase rate, email view versus sales stage progression of business lead (integrated with CRM data)


White papers and driving people to website – could use recipient clicks/downloads


Identifying your objectives, creating your strategy and monitoring your statistics will help to drive success in your email marketing program. If you set sail blindly into the digital ocean it is unlikely that you will find land.

2)      Micro Objective(s) – or Individual Email Tactics

How can you help lead a recipient to help you achieve your goals? Each individual email campaign should have a clear objective and we should consider the tactics necessary to achieve that goal. Here are a few ideas to help:

Set recipients tasks in your emails:

- Download a whitepaper


- RSVP to an event invitation


- Visit your website.

Make your primary objective clear, loud and obvious:

- Don’t place your call to actions at the bottom of the email. Place them at the top.


- Don’t overload recipients with multiple options, give them one CLEAR action and help them to do it.


- Test your call to actions: which color generates the most actions, are there more actions on the left of the page or the right, what is the correct copy to use to generate actions? Test. Learn. Apply.


Setting a clear objective for your email marketing program will held give purpose, clarity and drive the direction of your email strategy. Once defined you will be able to create purposeful emails to help achieve your goals.


Recipients do not have time to read cryptic emails and to work out how to react to them. Help your recipients by guiding them through the email campaign journey and this will allow both the recipients and you (the marketers) to achieve the email campaign goals.


Next week Part Two of this email marketing series will focus on Email Psychology.

Related articles

Email Marketing 101: Part Two – Psychology in Email Marketing

Email Marketing 101: Part Three – The Art of Email Persuasion