3 Tips to Get Your Email Program Goals in Tip Top Shape!

3 Tips to Get Your Email Program Goals in Tip Top Shape!

"What do you want to accomplish this year in your email program? Sounds simple right? "

The New Year has arrived and there’s no better time to look forward, assess and plan new goals and challenges. But, with all the New Year predictions and “Top X Most Important Things You Need to Do Right Now lists inundating your newsfeed - do you feel prepped or panicked? When it comes to improving your email program in 2014, there’s a little secret few are sharing - none of those lists or predictions matter one iota when it comes to your goals.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “resolution” is defined primarily as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.” When a new year is upon us, we tend to take the opportunity to start fresh, clear the slate and “resolve” to fix whatever it is we’ve been meaning to fix, change or stop doing completely. In that sense, New Year resolutions are a good, right? Well, as with anything, that depends on the underlying motivation for the resolution.

Every New Year, millions resolve to lose weight, exercise more, eat better…but do they? Some do. But, if your resolution is something akin to, “I’m going get back to size X and weigh XXX, like I was in high school,” something very important is missing from the stated mission - attainable, reasonable and actionable goals! Perhaps a better resolution might be, “I will lose 50 pounds this year”, or, “I will transition my lifestyle into a healthy one that includes better options for eating and more opportunities for exercise.” This isn’t simply more reasonable and attainable, it’s a more actionable resolution. Being actionable makes it implementable and more likely to evolve into a successful, completed mission.

Consider this concept as I ask the following ginormous question - What do you want to accomplish this year in your email program? Sounds simple right? Perhaps your executive team has some really grandiose ideas about what those goals should be. You may have no choice but to align your goals with unreasonable expectations. Don’t dismay! There are ways to adjust your goals so that they speak to those lofty, “in a perfect world” goals of your superiors.

Furthermore, if you’re a consultant who needs to create both internal goals, as well as external client-related goals that meet those lofty (and most likely unreasonable) expectations, these tricks will help you too.

Don’t let anyone tell you what to do!  What??? Yep, you read that right. If your boss comes to you with that crazed look of madness here’s what you do: Assess what he’s asking. Ask questions. Propose reasonable, actionable, alternative solutions. 

Here you’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah...easier said than done.” I say, “NOT so!” Keep in mind that you own the responsibilities of your position and you know what needs to be done. And of course, you have to “align” and you will!

Here’s a scenario as an example:

Boss: “Joe, one of your goals must be to increase the email list from 2MM to 15 MM next year.”

Joe: “I would love to do that; however, may I propose a slight modification to your goal?”

Boss: “What do you have in mind, Joe?”

Joe: “How about I work to increase the email list by 25% this year, with a 3 year stretch goal of 15MM?”

Boss: “So, I take it 15MM this year is completely unreasonable?”

Joe: “Well, growth itself is not unreasonable at all. I just want to make sure to level set your expectations for the team’s success.”

If you’re a consultant, the same applies; however, chances are pretty good that Joe the Client would bring the Boss’ unreasonable goals to you directly. If that happens, utilize the same theory of measuring expectations to meet the goal in an attainable fashion.

Approach your own goals in the same fashion and ensure they’re attainable. If you’re uncertain what’s possible to accomplish, consider your corporate culture:

  • Do things tend to move slowly through the pipeline or are you empowered to rock n’roll and get projects accomplished?
  • Is there a legitimate expectation for you to meet lofty goals provided to you?
  • What do you think the email channel needs to drive solid progress this year?

Assess the above and bring your ideas full circle into a goal that works for you as well as management.

Be nimble and adjust things as you go. As a consultant myself, I’m continually working with both client goals and my own. Both are constantly in flux. The main things I need to do in every interaction with my clients are:

  • Be cognizant of their goals and demonstrate how proposed strategies will allow them to meet their goals
  • Measure their expectations, as well as how the chosen campaign/strategy will impact their goals
  • Advise if the goals in place are appropriate for their email channel, or if they need to consider working toward the accomplishment of minor goals to reach the key goals

So, back to those lists and predictions I mentioned in the beginning. Why won’t they help you with goal planning? Well, despite that we all want to be rock stars in our beloved email channel, we can’t do everything at once.

Having goals that will allow you to perform some cool things in email are great. But even better and more paramount, is understanding that, 9 times out of 10, you have a path to get your program to that point. Understand your email program inside and out.  Know what needs to be done to move it forward. If you don’t, hire an awesome consultant to help you out!

And if you are a consultant, see the forest through the trees on behalf of your client. Don’t get so excited to try some new tech or nifty concept that you forget about your client’s goals. Instead, use those ideas to encourage the client to reach for midway goals, so that you can then take them to the really exciting stuff you know will propel their email program higher than they’d ever imagined.