Picture this: A business jumps into the digital marketing arena with no clearly defined goal. Further down the line, it sets a goal, but its marketing campaigns aren’t getting any results. Now, the organization is trying to hit several goals, but there’s simply not enough budget to make them happen.
Do any of these situations sound familiar to you? Here’s some advice:
Set the right marketing goals relevant to your business, create a custom plan to achieve them and measure your performance.
If you do this, you get a clear path for your company, reduce costs and get a higher return on investment (ROI).
In this blog, we delve into the basics of choosing the right digital marketing objectives and creating or adjusting your online marketing strategy.
What Is a Digital Marketing Goal?
Your digital marketing goal covers your company’s overarching and specific digital marketing objectives. These objectives should take into account your performance in the digital space and what phase you are in your growth journey.
These are the methods and strategies used to achieve these objectives:
• Affiliate marketing
• Website content
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
• Online video marketing
• Social media marketing
• Content marketing
• Email marketing
On the other hand, traditional marketing goals encompass all marketing objectives that can be reached without using the internet.
Compared to old-school, outbound marketing, digital marketing involves a more personalized approach, allowing marketers to create messaging specific to the user. It is also more cost-effective and offers more avenues to build a relationship of trust with your customers.
Why Are Digital Marketing Goals Important?
Your goals are important because they’re at the core of your digital marketing strategy. When you set marketing goals, it helps you stay within your budget and prevent overspending. It also gives you a clear idea of how much work you need to do before you can expect results.
Goals allow you to efficiently track your team’s progress and focus on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). We recommend using quantitative and measurable parameters to determine real success from those digital marketing KPIs.
Why Should a Business Set Specific Digital Marketing Goals?
In our experience, many companies that come to us for help either have an unfocused or outdated digital marketing strategy. The first step to any digital marketing plan and strategy is to align it with your goals.
Having well-integrated marketing objectives and strategies lets you do the following:
• Discover marketing gaps
• Scale your business
• Manage your resources better
• Build brand reputation
• Increase the number of qualified leads
• Take appropriate actions when problems arise
• Improve audience engagement
• Expand brand awareness
If you don’t set clear goals and marketing objectives, you could miss out on relevant sales trends. You may also fail to leverage certain marketing channels that should have been available to you.
What Are Some Examples of Good Digital Marketing Goals?
When we discuss digital marketing goals with new clients, we sometimes encounter poorly defined objectives, such as:
• We want our website on page one of the search engine results page (SERP)
• We want to increase engagement on Facebook
• We want a more extensive mailing list
• We want to increase the number of site visitors
These are examples of poorly constructed digital marketing goals. They’re not clear and simply not specific enough.
Every goal should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
With that in mind, here are some examples of exceptional marketing goals.
1. In the next quarter, we should attract 100,000 new site visitors, generate 1,000 new leads from that number of visitors and get 100 new customers from those leads.
2. Next month, we should aim to land on the first page of the SERPs for the search term “best coffee shops for getting work done.”
3. Get five qualified leads each week from our email marketing and get three new warm customers from our current mailing list each month.
Setting Marketing Goals and Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy
So, how do you set the right marketing goals? Each company will have its specific goals depending on where it is in its business growth cycle.
However, some steps apply to all marketing goal planning and development:
Step 1: Assess Your Current Business Needs
Digital marketing should be geared towards growing your ROI and getting more business. Therefore, your short-term online marketing plan should address your current needs.
A good marketing strategist will sit down with you to assess what these needs are. You will then discuss specific digital marketing objectives that cover those needs. After that, a time-bound action plan will be formulated.
Essentially, a digital marketing plan is:
1. A set of specific and quantified goals
2. A time-bound, actionable plan
A seasoned digital marketing strategy agency helps you identify your most urgent needs. It should be evident that small businesses and newcomers will have different needs compared to established brands.
According to Jimi Gibson, director of operations at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, new businesses usually need to establish their online presence and focus on increasing brand awareness.
You should also focus on creating more targeted content. Included in that effort is building your website if you don’t have one yet, preferably a custom website tailored to your branding. You also need to establish your social media presence across all possible platforms.
Beyond all that, you must determine an acceptable return on ad spend (ROAS), one of the essential digital marketing KPIs. ROAS refers to the amount of money you make for every dollar you spend in your marketing.
Let’s say you spent $1,000 this month on ads and fees for your digital marketing strategy agency. After one month, you find out that you made $2,500.
To compute your ROAS, divide your revenue by your marketing spend.
$2,500 / $1,000 = 2.5
In this case, you get a ROAS of 2.5. Is this an acceptable return for your business?
Here are a few essential points to remember:
• If the result is greater than one, you made enough money to cover marketing expenses.
• If it is equal to three, it means you’re getting good returns, according to experts from the Corporate Finance Institute.
• If you achieve a ROAS of four to seven, that would indicate a successful marketing campaign.
IMPORTANT TIP: If your business can maintain a ROAS anywhere from four to seven, you can say that you’re developing cost-effective marketing strategies.
Discuss an acceptable return on ad spend with your marketing strategist if you’re just starting. There are several factors to consider, such as the company size, the type of business you’re running and the industry you’re in.
Naturally, the larger and longer-standing the organization, the higher the expected return.
These are important factors to consider when setting your goals. Remember, your digital marketing business plan should be created according to your specific needs and goals.
Step 2: Formulate a Custom Strategy To Reach Those Goals
Your strategy is like a roadmap that shows you each step you need to take. That said, 50 percent of all businesses today have no definite digital marketing strategy.
If you need expert guidance in this department, work with internet marketing strategy consultants. This might be helpful for you if you’ve been running marketing campaigns for a while and not getting the results you want.
Here are some benefits of collaborating with a marketing strategy company:
• It’s a great resource for identifying digital marketing KPIs.
• It helps you identify marketing challenges.
• It provides cost-effective solutions to marketing problems.
• It gets marketing results a lot faster.
• Internet marketing strategy consultants keep you focused on your objectives.
• It reduces the learning curve for your in-house marketing team.
• It saves money because you avoid mistakes and pitfalls.
• It identifies gaps in your current digital marketing business plan.
• It helps you identify opportunities you’re missing out on.
Each company will need a unique strategy from the start. For example, some would think that social media marketing is the best strategy for them because their competitor succeeded in it. But that may not be the case for your business.
So, how do you know which strategy to use? You can choose from email marketing, social media advertising, search engine marketing, online reputation management – and a whole lot more. Then, perform a bit of market research. Identify which channels your customers are using. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store transitioning into the digital space, you can do a survey. Ask your current customers to fill out a form asking for their email address or ask them to like your social media page.
What’s the goal behind all this?
You’re trying to build your buyer persona – a profile of your ideal customer based on the market research you performed. Your buyer persona identifies your customer demographics, which channels they use and other important information. This data allows you to organize your customer base into different segments based on age, gender, profession, platform preferences and others.
After that, you can develop your digital marketing plan and your content marketing strategy to reach out to each segment of your target audience.
For instance, if you find out that most of your customers are on Instagram and not Twitter, it makes sense to focus on Instagram account management. Note that your choice of strategy should be based on actual data. A marketing strategy company can come in to help you get this data using analytics tools.
Step 3: Monitor KPIs
There should be a way for you to check if everything is working. That’s what digital marketing KPIs are for. Now that you have a plan in place, the next step is to track your KPIs. These help you measure the performance of your marketing campaigns and tweak your strategy as needed.
You can use several tools to promote your products and services and track your results. Without these tools, tracking the data will be laborious and time-consuming. Best practice dictates that you track your KPIs and related data on a single dashboard. When all the information is present on one screen, you’re equipped to make quick decisions on the fly.
Thrive’s digital marketing strategy team provides you with a user dashboard that keeps you updated on the latest campaign trends.
Speaking of your campaign, it should be measured using these metrics and KPIs:
• Customer lifetime value (CLV)
• Click-through rate (CTR)
• Number of site visitors
• Lead conversion rates
• Online conversion rates
• Returning visitors
• Website traffic leads
• Cost per lead (CPL)
• Brand awareness
• Web traffic sources
• Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
• Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
Note that this is not a complete list of KPIs. If you’re a new entrepreneur shifting to digital marketing, some of these terms may be new to you. For example, what are market-qualified leads? How do they differ from sales-qualified leads?
An MQL is a site visitor who has clicked on an offer but isn’t ready to be sold to and hasn’t completed a purchase.
Think of MQLs as newcomers to your store who are window-shopping (for now). You need to qualify them, which means nurturing your relationship with them to get them to convert.
An SQL, on the other hand, is a lead that you can pass over to your sales team. They have shown interest in your product or service, and they just need time to decide on their purchase. Your sales team can help convince them to make that purchase.
Remember: Focus on KPIs pertinent to your business at the time.
The good news is that you don’t have to monitor every single KPI. You only need to focus on those that are really important to your business.
Goal-setting in Practice
Let’s say you’re a local salon with three branches in your city.
You’re in the process of expanding your market reach, and you’ve decided to implement an online marketing plan. The question is, which KPIs should you track? According to Thrive’s Gibson, small and mid-size businesses that don’t have a website and are doing online marketing for the first time should start with these:
• Active Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing
• Number of Google reviews
• Number of Facebook or other social media reviews
• Directory listings
• Number of social media followers
• The number of video views (if you’re using YouTube to promote your business)
But what if your business has grown? What if you have already launched a few campaigns, but you’re just not hitting your targets? Some businesses may have too many targets but aren’t getting the expected marketing results.
Gibson explains that a growing business will have to pay attention to a different set of KPIs to get exceptional marketing results. Here are some of the ones that he recommends:
• Overall website traffic
• Traffic to the site by channel (organic, paid, social, email, etc.)
• Conversions by traffic channel
• Organic traffic over time
• Number of websites linking to the site
• Conversion rate by channel
• Average order value
• Keyword ranking
A growing business should focus on activity towards their website and the conversions that will occur. Note that the KPIs listed above should be added to the first set of KPIs that were mentioned for newcomers.
Businesses should also collect Google Analytics data. In the case of our local salon, Gibson recommends making sure to rank for important local keywords like “salon near me,” “hair salon <city name>,” or “<city name> hair salon reviews.”
If you offer higher-priced services, Gibson suggests investing in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. This strategy puts you at the top of Google results quickly and gets you noticed by customers who are most ready to get their hair done.
If you choose PPC, you will have another set of KPIs and metrics to watch out for, which includes:
• Cost of customer acquisition
• Return on ad spend
• Click-through rate
• Conversion rate
Begin With the Right Goals To Guide You
Best-selling author Stephen Covey (“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) once said that we should all begin with the end in mind. In this same way, you should start your digital marketing journey with a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Your goals will be different every step of the way. Formulate your strategy according to your changing goals as your business grows and expands. The good news is that you don’t have to go at it alone: Partner with a seasoned marketing strategist like Thrive.
Thrive has been helping businesses of different sizes transition into the digital space since 2005. We support your business from the ground up. Apart from building your website, our services include growing your web presence, increasing site traffic, generating leads and boosting your online reputation.
Call 866-434-4748 today to schedule a free consultation or fill out this form.