Understanding the Basics: What Are the Goals of Email Marketing?

Melanie Balke
February 12, 2024

It may seem like a trivial question, but this may be the most important part of your marketing strategy! Your goals drive your email marketing campaign, pushing it to its fully realized conclusion. In fact, a campaign without a goal is pointless. It’s a soulless husk, much like those disappointing peanut shells you crack open and find empty.

Think of it this way: What will your email marketing campaign do?

Its goals inform your language, call-to-action, and content. Your email marketing goals also dictate whether or not to use additional tools — such as user-generated content — to support your message.

Summarily, you must set email marketing goals before you start churning out your content.

That’s why I’m dedicating today’s blog post to the most common email marketing goals. Keep scrolling to learn more about the revenue-boosting strategies you can use to amplify your business results!

The Three Types of Email Marketing Goals

Ocean waves. “Email Goals: The Three Types of Emails.”

Most email campaigns can be classified into three overarching categories:

  • Engagement emails focus on capturing attention. They may drive traffic to your website or solicit feedback.
  • Informational email campaigns keep customers “in the loop.” These are your newsletters, appointment reminders, and “exclusive content.”
  • Transactional campaigns generate sales. These emails entice customers with deals, discounts, or exclusive services.

These categories are not mutually exclusive. A campaign can be a mix of two (or more) common goals. For example, you may want to inform customers of news while simultaneously driving traffic to your website. Alternatively, you may want to entice customers into sharing feedback while rewarding them for their engagement data.

Each category has a specific audience, and few will be sent to everyone. So, let’s work our way down the list!

Understanding Engagement-Based Email Marketing Campaigns

Everyone on your subscriber list will likely receive at least one engagement-based email.

These campaigns primarily focus on getting consumers to interact with your brand. They’ll include relevant information within a visually appealing design.

You may also have secondary objectives or assets for engagement emails. For example, you may need a landing page to handle more traffic from prospective customers.

Again, these campaigns can have additional business objectives. You can build customer relationships and increase sales. Likewise, you can boost website traffic and work on retaining customers.

Active Email Marketing

Active emails encompass a massive swathe of modern email marketing efforts. They include information-driven newsletters and anything that pushes readers to engage with a blog post. They also cover advanced interactive emails.

I’ll list a few examples, but I want to emphasize something beforehand. Some of these email campaigns also classify as informational marketing. Yes, they encourage customers to engage with your brand beyond that initial email traffic. However, they have additional goals, too. With that in mind, consider these examples of active email marketing:

  • Content-driven marketing asks current customers for feedback and photos. The results are known as “user-generated content” (UGC). Even text-only reviews are powerful tools! They’re fodder for compelling subject lines and convincing evidence to lure in a potential customer.
  • Interactive content — often delivered via AMP emails — can deliver amazing, immersive experiences to the right audience. It takes work, but an interactive email marketing campaign can include fully realized games or quizzes!
  • Lead magnet emails deliver valuable information to potential customers. Case studies, samples, and reports are common lead magnets.
  • Multichannel marketing campaigns direct consumers to additional marketing channels. Blogs are the most common target, as they amplify website traffic. However, you can also add social media links and SMS reminders.

Retention-Based Emails

Retention emails aim to do as you would’ve guessed. They retain customers.

There are straightforward customer retention email campaigns and more subversive varieties. Regardless of the specifics, these emails encourage customers to remain aware of your carefully composed marketing.

Some common examples of retention emails include the following:

  • Loyalty campaigns focus on engaging and capturing loyal customers. While loyalty rewards programs are obvious examples, there are many more ways to thank your more loyal customers.
  • Re-engagement campaigns are targeted messages for lapsed subscribers. These customers may not have a purchase history, but they have — at some point — been loyal members of your subscriber list.
  • Reminder emails are a strange entry in the world of modern email marketing. In many settings, a reminder is an informational email marketing campaign. However, reminders can also be a vessel for customer retention. In this case, they often focus on prompting reviews or further email communications.
  • Win-backs are similar to re-engagement campaigns. However, these email marketing efforts target previous customers. Win-backs often utilize known customer preferences and exclusive deals to earn additional repeat purchases.

What Are Informational Emails?

Now, what if you have to inform your consumers?

Retention is great, but it doesn’t elevate your brand value. Those inactive subscribers aren’t guaranteed income, and you have many other customers to entertain.

It’s time to break out the educational tools!

Think of these emails as your business pitch. These campaigns tout your products or services to old and new subscribers. They may incorporate website links, but they often appear as self-contained manifestos of your brand’s shining achievements.

Informational emails (generally) have a clear call-to-action and personal relevance to email subscribers. They may accomplish some of the financial objectives of email marketing, but they don’t have to do so. Above all else, an informational campaign’s email marketing objective is consumer-based. They increase customer satisfaction and use their call-to-action links to woo customers and inspire loyalty.

The Service-Based Informational Email Marketing Campaign

Some informational campaigns focus on existing customers.

These may require input from your customer service team.

However, some service emails can be automated. These can form the basis for conversational marketing, which uses logical flows and conditional statements to produce the illusion of live interaction.

The Many Faces of Informative Email Marketing

Of the three categories, informative emails are the most flexible. They can be easily integrated into both retention-based and transactional marketing campaigns. Part of this is thanks to the innate adaptability of the email marketing goal. There are more than a few ways to inform a customer, just as there are many ways to promote a sale.

In other words, I can’t possibly list every example of informational email marketing. I can offer you a charcuterie board of sorts, but these are just a few ideas!

So, without further ado, I present a brief sampling of the industry’s most common informational email campaigns:

  • Customer service campaigns may be automated or manually monitored. They give email recipients a sense of value as an individual.
  • Newsletters are reliable drip emails. They keep your email engagement steady and help you achieve those email marketing goals.
  • Update emails take many forms. They may be one-off campaigns or automated drip email sequences. Delivery method aside, these email efforts give customers a sense of your brand’s values.

The Transactional Email Marketing Campaign

Finally, transactional campaigns are the bread and butter of email marketing. They push sales and drive traffic to your website.

These are your marketing multitools. They can inform, retain, and increase revenue. No wonder they’re the most frequently used part of an email marketing strategy!

Your run-of-the-mill transactional emails include promotional campaigns and post-purchase emails. While the former helps you meet your email marketing goals, the latter keeps customers informed.

A post-purchase email campaign tells customers what to expect. It often includes delivery information and customer data. Moreover, unlike many other forms of email marketing, the post-purchase campaign is exempt from many of the CAN-SPAM Act’s stricter rules.

Regardless of their category, most transactional campaigns have clear, compelling subject lines and a decisive target audience. (They may, for example, cater to new customers or specific subsets of your potential customer pool.) Many also incorporate stunning visual elements and customer testimonials. They are, after all, your most lucrative way to turn on-the-fence subscribers into paying customers!

Master Your Transactional Emails (And More) With a Professional Partner

Again, there are too many transactional emails to count! I won’t even try to list examples. Instead, I’ll end today’s post with a word of caution.

Despite its potential, email marketing is difficult. It requires plenty of perspectives and input. It’s also a time sink that can eat up valuable hours!

Fortunately, I founded The Email Marketers to bring affordable, hands-free email marketing to the masses. Schedule a free strategy session and see how my team of hand-picked pros can take your email marketing campaigns to the next level. We’ll do more than meet your email marketing objectives; we’ll exceed them!