Without setting clear marketing objectives, you’re basically directionless – and working to achieve vanity metrics that don’t necessarily help you achieve your overall business goals
Digital marketing objectives underpin all marketing strategies. After all, how do you know what you’re working towards without clear, actionable, and achievable metrics? Setting marketing goals should always be the priority as they will be the basis of your entire strategy.
By achieving your digital marketing objectives, you’re also helping reach your overall business goals, whether that’s boosting your overall sales or improving awareness of your brand.
Setting marketing objectives is, on one hand, a great way to motivate yourself and your team and work towards achieving better results for your business.
On the other hand, objectives and KPI-setting is about much more than just saying “I want to achieve that and that” – it’s how you can develop a plan or strategy that will help support your vision and help you reach them.
But how do you set goals the right way?
In this blog post, discover how to set better marketing goals, in order to maximize your results and grow your business.
Why you need set marketing goals
Without clear goals, you’re basically directionless – and working to achieve vanity metrics that don’t necessarily help you achieve your overall business objectives.
For example, without social media objectives, you’re basically working to get more likes and engagement – but does that necessarily translate to success?
On the other hand, if your goal is to convert more followers – arguably one of the most popular objectives – then don’t focus on creating content that only gets you likes and comments. Instead, try to drive more social media traffic to your website, and encourage your followers down the marketing funnel.
Accelerate your ROI from digital marketing. We have dedicated digital marketing strategies to help you to set and achieve your digital marketing objectives.
Our RACE Growth System gives marketers and business owners, like you, everything you need to plan for success. It follows a three-step process of setting objectives via Opportunity, Strategy, and Action to drive the results you need. Download your free copy to get started today.
The basics of setting digital marketing objectives: how to set SMART goals
When it comes to setting objectives, there are various criteria you can use. We recommend strategic marketing planning through SMART goals work best because they cover every important aspect of a successful marketing goal:
- Specific: There are two ways to interpret this and both are very useful. For one thing, you need to be specific with your goals and ensure that it’s a very clear objective; and for another, you also need to be very specific about what this goal means and what it encompasses.
- Measurable: In other words, what KPIs will help you understand whether you’ve reached your goals or not. This is very important as you want to be able to understand whether your efforts actually paid off and how they translate to revenue. Also, it’s worth noting that with some digital marketing strategies, it can be difficult to quantify your results and understand how they translate into revenue (particularly with social media marketing).
- Achievable: When setting goals, it’s a great idea to aim high – but not so high that they’re unrealistic. When you’re setting your digital marketing objectives, ask yourself whether they can actually be achieved or whether you’re simply setting yourself up for failure.
- Relevant: Or, how do your digital marketing goals help you reach your business goals? As I mentioned earlier, this is very important because, at the end of the day, you’re developing all of these marketing strategies to help grow your business. In fact, you should start with your business objectives first and think of what digital marketing objectives will help you reach for the former.
- Time-bound: Giving your objectives a clear deadline tells you when you need to measure your results and benchmark these results against past (and future) campaigns. This is another highly important practice as it helps you understand how to optimize your future strategies – and objectives – in order to achieve better results with each new campaign.
The reasons why SMART goals work so well with digital marketing objectives are that:
- They give you a clear direction
- They ensure that your goals are relevant to your vision
- They put great importance on measuring your results, which is very important in digital marketing
Every time you set new marketing goals, make sure you also go through this list of goal-setting criteria – it will ultimately help you set better, more achievable goals.
Improve your digital marketing objectives with The Ten Measures Design Tests
You can add to your tests of choosing the right marketing objectives using these 10-measure design tests developed by performance management specialist Professor Andy Neely.
For SMARTER metrics, ask these questions for your KPIs as you develop them.
1. The truth test. Are we measuring what we set out to measure?
2. The focus test. Are we only measuring what we set out to measure?
3. The relevancy test. Is it the right measure of the performance measure we want to track?
4. The consistency test. Will the data always be collected in the same way whoever measures it?
5. The access test. Is it easy to locate and capture the data needed to make the measurement?
6. The clarity test. Is any ambiguity possible in interpreting the results?
7. The so-what test. Can and will the data be acted upon, i.e. is it actionable?
8. The timeliness test. Can the data be accessed rapidly and frequently enough for action?
9. The cost test. Is the measure worth the cost of measurement?
10. The gaming test. Is the measure likely to encourage undesirable or inappropriate behaviors?
These tests show there are additional filters on top of SMART that are useful to choose the best measure. I particularly like the “So-what test, another way of explaining relevance and Gaming – a common issue with target setting that isn’t considered by SMART!
Plus, check out our top 18 digital marketing techniques to ensure you are covering the key areas of digital marketing that are relevant today.
What kinds of digital marketing goals can you set?
Now that we’ve gone over the theoretical side of setting goals, what do digital marketing goals actually look like in practice?
There is a plethora of goals you can set up, but here are some of the most popular:
- Generate more leads: Generating leads is one of the top priorities for businesses and marketers.
- Improve your conversion rate: Another popular digital marketing objective is to convert more readers/viewers/followers into customers.
- Increase your sales: Which is, after all, the ultimate goal for many different businesses.
- Increase traffic: For example, organic traffic, traffic from social media, and so on.
Moreover, in the age of digital disruption don’t forget about brand-building and full-funnel techniques.
When you set your marketing goals, though, it’s not just about saying “I want more sales” – you have to be a lot more specific than that: how much do you want your sales to increase? Which channels will help you? What is your deadline?
That’s why we’ve created our strategic marketing goal setting training for marketers and managers to plan, manage and achieve their goals. Our popular RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path includes modules like ‘set digital marketing goals and objectives’, to help you translate your vision into goals, objectives and KPIs.
When setting your marketing goals, it’s crucial to define each stage of the customer journey. For example, your objectives for new website visitors will be different from email subscribers. The RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path will take you through setting marketing goals at each stage of reach, act, convert and engage.
Use our RACE Growth System to develop your marketing strategy. Within RACE you’ll find a plethora of solutions for large and small businesses, including marketing strategy and planning, digital channel specialist resources, and industry trends and innovations.
Whenever you put together a new marketing strategy or even when you use a digital marketing tactic, your overall strategic goals should always be at the back of your mind.
In fact, your strategies should essentially be action plans for your objectives – the tactics and strategies you need to leverage in order to ultimately achieve each goal.
When you create a digital marketing strategy, always start with your goals.
And once you have clear, specific goals, think of what tactics you can use to help you achieve your goals.
For example, let’s say you wanted to increase your organic traffic by 15% in 60 days.
In that case, you’d use tactics like:
- Research keywords and create content for keywords you want to rank
- Update and optimize your content to help boost your rankings
- Start a link-building campaign to generate more backlinks
And any other tactics that can actually help you achieve your goal.
As you can see, setting marketing goals is imperative to the success of your business. Without goals, you’re essentially throwing stuff at the wall and hoping that something will stick – but in such a competitive landscape, using this method is not likely to get you far.
On the other hand, when you have clear goals for yourself, you’re motivating yourself and giving yourself and the entire marketing team a clear direction that they need to follow and an action plan – or strategy – that fully supports that.
We’ve got marketing training to support you in taking those next steps to a planned approach to marketing.