The Essential Guide to SMART Planning: Part One

Within this essential two-part guide to SMART Planning we cover all the steps you need to successfully plan your email campaigns and strategy.

We wanted to make these two-part guides as interactive as possible to help you overcome your challenges, so we’ve included downloadable worksheets where you can map out your strategy using the information within this guide.

Download the Worksheet to get started.

The areas covered in Part One of this SMART Planning guide include:

  • What is SMART Planning?
  • Your ‘Why?’
  • Documenting your objectives
  • Customer Lifecycle Audit
  • The first 2 steps of your SMART objectives (Specific & Measurable) 

Please note: Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound are included in the second part of the guide.

What is SMART Planning?

SMART planning is all about aligning your activities and efforts back to your business and team objectives.

What does SMART stand for?

Specific: Be clear and specific so you can easily focus your efforts on what you want to achieve.

Measurable: To track progress and know when you’ve met your goal you need to be able to measure it.

Achievable: It needs to be something that is realistically attainable.

Relevant: The goal should matter to you and align with other goals.

Time-bound: Set a deadline to work towards to help you prioritise your efforts.

When setting your SMART goals you also need to consider the following:

  • What is the business trying to achieve?
  • What is expected of you within your role and why?
  • Is it worth the time and effort?

Your brand’s ‘Why?’

Before we start creating our SMART objectives we must first of all understand your company’s ‘Why?’.

Simon Sinek argues that customers do not buy products because of what companies do but because of ‘why’ they do it.

Simply listing out the things your brand is good at is no longer enough. People now want to know what is behind the brand, why they exist and what their mission is and why they should choose their brand over their competitors, people now want to know the story behind the brand.


We’ve included below a few examples of brands and their ‘Why’s?’.

Brands Why

These taglines don’t tell you why you should use rightmove or Apple products, they don’t include benefits or features. Instead, they act as brand triggers. Brand associations & values, they’re verbal logos of your brand, they are the WHY of why you should engage with them.

Apple’s Example

A great example of working from the WHY to the HOW to the WHAT.

Why – They want to think differently thereby challenging the status quo. 

They answer the HOW question by informing their potential buyers that their eye-catching designs are easy to use.

Finally, they arrive at the WHAT question: they make computers. 

Now complete Activity 1 within the Worksheet and create your ‘Why?’.

Documenting your objectives

Once you have discovered your Why, then let’s get started in documenting your objectives and goals, this will put you in good stead to when you’re planning your marketing and email strategies, firstly:  

  1. What is the company objective / goal?
  2. What is the department objective / goal?
  3. What is expected of you?

What are KPIs and why are they important?

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a critical metric that measures the success of a specific activity or objective used to measure business goals.

Do you have specific KPIs against each task / campaign you’ve planned?

Why KPIs are good:

  • Gives marketing efforts purpose
  • Reduces time-wasting  – if you can’t measure it, why are you doing it?
  • They’re success metrics to help you reach key business objectives 
  • Helps to track performance (personal and team)
  • It makes reporting easier!

A single KPI is less important when it stands on its own.

When reviewed as a collective – it provides you with far richer insight.

You will need to be able to include a KPI alongside your SMART objectives.

Complete your KPI’s in Activity 2 on your worksheet.

Getting started with SMART objectives

Alongside having KPIs, using the SMART model will also:

  • Increase your campaign success rate
  • Supports your clarity in decision making when prioritising tasks
  • Optimises resources (people and budget)
  • Make it easier to communicate across the business
  • Enable larger objectives to become more achievable when broken down into SMART tactical tasks

SMART Objective Examples:

“Increase website visits by 10% in June, July and August 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year.”

“Increase the average order value of online sales to £35 per customer by the end of August 2020.”

“Reduce customer database churn rate by 5% by December 2020.”

As marketers, we’re responsible for all aspects of the customer journey.

Although we are focused today on Email, please don’t feel restricted to plotting out just your email customer lifecycles.

Consider other channels that drive your audience reach.

Consider other channels in the wider objective planning, if that feeds into your objectives.


In terms of email, these are the key stages of the lifecycle to review.

Ensure these are implemented as part of best practice, revenue generation and customer retention.

A conversion could be a download, demo request, form submission or another action.

Now let’s start breaking down your SMART strategy into detail.

SMART Goal Planning

S – Specific: Be specific about your objectives

Here are some examples of a specific statement that a marketer wants to achieve, they’re fairly clear, but we don’t yet know why they’re good.

Objective: “I need to grow the number of marketable contacts in the customer database”

Objective: “We need to increase online sales conversions”

Objective: “ I want to reduce customer churn rates”

We suggest you review your objective statement, you need to make sure you understand why you are setting those objectives.

  • Ask yourself the question why?
  • Why is this important?
  • How does this align to my team or business objectives?

Goal / Objective Planning

  1. Pick one of your objectives
  2. Write down that Goal in the Draft Goal Statement line of the Smart Goal Planning template
  3. Complete the “Specific” section of the template

Next: We need to ensure it can be measured 

M – Measurable: Achievement or progress that can be measured

These are the most common metrics marketing teams measure, but this doesn’t answer the question on impact.

What are you currently measuring? For example:-

  • Revenue by channel
  • Return on Investment
  • Sign up rates
  • The value of an email address
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Open rates
  • Click Rates
  • Bounce/Blocked  Rates
  • Churn Rates
  • Conversion Rates 
  • Average Order Values
  • And so much more!

What % increase do you need to see across those metrics? Why?

Before you consider applying a KPI to your goal, we need to ensure that you are using the right KPI to measure its success.

Your KPIs should match your why. Tactics to fulfil a KPI 

Can your goal be measured? How?

Document how you intend to measure your success of this goal and what metrics will you want to monitor

You can start making notes and breaking down the main goal into smaller goals.

You might want to start making a note of some of the KPIs you have in place or want to implement using the KPI section of the worksheet if that helps.

The 2nd part of our Essential Guide to SMART Planning includes:

  • Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound 
  • Impact Effort Matrix
  • SMART Planning Tactics
  • SMART Email Tactics

Our Customer Success Team can help you plan your SMART objectives, please contact us for a free consultation.

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