Digital Marketing Goals: Setting and Reevaluating

Before undertaking any big project like designing a company website, it’s vital to make sure you’ve carefully planned out clear goals for your digital marketing as a whole. If ...
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Travis McAshan
Published Nov 2021
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In our previous blog post, we shared an executive-level checklist for improving your website. That was just an overview to whet your appetite and get you thinking. As promised, this post takes a deeper dive into the first of those checklists to help you fully understand the best practices and possible pitfalls when setting good digital marketing goals. 

Before undertaking any big project like designing a company website, it’s vital to make sure you’ve carefully planned out clear goals for your digital marketing as a whole. If you’ve already set your marketing goals in the past, in the time before starting a website redesign it is ideal to take a step back and re-evaluate your strategic plan. 

Odds are that some things have changed or evolved since you created digital marketing goals and decided how to measure them.  Ask yourself:  what should we really be measuring, why does our website exist, and how do we know if the website is performing well?

Planning Your Marketing Efforts

At its core, a digital marketing plan is intended to help you define the best digital marketing strategies for your business, clearly define how you will put them into action, and lay out how those strategies will be evaluated.

A strong digital marketing plan help you organize your initiatives so that you’re continually connecting with your audience, engaging them, and driving them to action. Without a clearly-defined plan, it’s much more likely that you end up wasting time and money on initiatives that aren’t making an impact.

The first step is to take a close look at your current customers and marketing efforts. You should evaluate (or re-evaluate if you’re updating your plan) your company’s online presence, your target customers, the digital channels where you should be present, and your competitors (who and where they are).

Next you need to decide what areas your digital marketing plan needs to cover and how you will adapt when something needs to change. A complete, and competent digital marketing plan should include comprehensive steps for measuring the success of your digital marketing initiatives

Your measurement plan will focus on three key areas:

Adapted from Avinash Kaushik’s Measurement Model. Click here for the full article.

Acquisition – What are your plans for driving traffic to your company website and other digital marketing initiatives? Have you made sure to address all three components of successful acquisition: Earned, Owned, and Paid media? Have you set priorities for each of your defined initiatives and is your budget aligned with those priorities?

Behavior – When a customer arrives at your site, how do you want them to interact with your digital marketing? What journey do you want them to take through your site? Do you want them to come back repeatedly? How do you want them to feel? How do you want them to interact with your site?

Outcomes – What outcomes do you think are tied directly to converting a customer or contributing to the bottom line? Are you hoping visitors sign up for emails, download a resource, directly purchase a product? What do you consider a qualified lead and what typically increases the chance of conversion for your business? The outcomes your choose should always answer the underlying question of: Why are we undertaking this initiative?

The Nitty Gritty Details

If you want to make the most impact with your digital marketing efforts, you need to clearly define what it is you want to accomplish. Then create a plan to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy regularly. Having the complete details of your strategy defined and clearly communicated across all of your team is the key to gaining and maintaining success with your digital marketing efforts.

The root cause of failure in most digital marketing is not the actual website, banner ad, or video. The cause is most often a failure to define the true purpose of the campaign up front and not planning how you will identify its success or failure.

Digital Marketing Goals and Campaign Objectives

What you ultimately need is a clear direction – goals. Without clear goals, you have no way of knowing whether or not your digital marketing initiatives are worthwhile. Your marketing goals should reflect the specific strategy you will take to accomplish your overall business objectives. Making sure your marketing goals and objectives are supporting your business goals will also ensure your digital marketing efforts are aligned with your other business operations.

Some common digital marketing goals teams may want to accomplish include:

  • Drive more sales
  • Grow brand awareness
  • Increase market share
  • Develop stronger relationships with customers
  • Enter new markets or regions
  • Engage new audiences or target customers

A good technique to help get you started is to ask: Why? Why does this website, campaign, or promotion exist? Identify the why first, then set the best goals for each initiative. Don’t forget to prioritize them and keep them highly focused. If you set too many goals, you could spread your teams too thin and risk not achieving any of them.

For each of your broad, longer-term goals, you’ll need to break them down into specific objectives that are SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, if you have the broad marketing goal to build brand awareness, one supporting SMART objective could be to earn 20 new Instagram followers each month.

Reducing confusion on your goals and their objectives will give your team confidence in what they need to do to achieve them. Focusing on a few goals and clear objectives that support their achievement will have greater impact on your business than working on too many goals without clear direction.

Creating KPIs

After you’ve set the marketing goals and specific objectives that will guide your digital marketing initiatives, you will also need to decide which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure how well your digital marketing is performing. A KPI should be quantifiable, consistently measured, and compared against your set goals and objectives.

It’s important to pick the KPIs that make the most sense for measuring the goals you have set, and some goals will have multiple coordinating KPIs. Most business executives are familiar with KPIs and understand why they are so important.

The biggest difficulty in choosing good KPIs, however, is knowing which ones actually matter. According to a survey of marketing leaders by TrackMaven, nearly half of all teams stated that their most difficult challenge was aligning KPIs with their goals- 42% struggled to define which KPIs to track, and 33% found it difficult to analyze the data they were tracking.

Here are some examples of KPIs for common marketing goals:

Improving Audience ReachIncreasing EngagementRaising Conversion
website trafficBounce ratesleads (marketing and sales qualified, sales accepted)
clicks / cost per clickClick through rateswebinar registrations
SEO rankingsTime on your website or dwell timelanding page conversions
visitors by source (search, social, email)Repeat visitorscost per lead / conversions at all levels
social media followers, likes, sharesnewsletter opt-insTime to conversion at each stage or average sales cycle by stage
opt-in email addressesPipeline (value of leads)

Remember that the KPIs you choose to measure will need to be reviewed periodically to ensure they are still in-line with the ever-changing digital environment.

Your KPI Targets

After you’ve chosen your best KPIs, you’ll need to set optimistic, but reasonable, targets for each. The best method for choosing targets for your KPIs is to establish benchmarks.

You can do this by looking at the data you’ve collected from your past digital marketing efforts to estimate future success. For example, if you’re launching a new brand awareness campaign, look at the results of your previous campaigns and base your KPI targets on that data. Using data and benchmarking will help you to understand what to expect, and will enable you to set useful targets for measuring the success of your digital marketing.

Segments for KPIs

Part of choosing targets for your KPIs is defining the segments you will analyze to understand why a particular initiative was a success or not. A segment is basically a group of people, their sources, their behavior, or their outcomes. You will use these segments to do cross-comparisons, and come up with ways to improve and update your initiatives to meet the specific needs of your market and niche.

Common segment examples include:

  • Date and Time
  • Device
  • Marketing Channel
  • Geographic Location
  • Repeat vs Returning Customer

Periodically Update Your Plan

The last step in creating your digital marketing plan is to plan for ongoing maintenance and refinement of the plan as time goes on. Your customers’ expectations, the digital landscape, and your business as a whole are all dynamic. It is important to periodically review your plan and adjust it in order to keep your digital marketing effective and stay competitive.

It takes a lot of planning, energy, patience, focus, and heart to create and execute a great digital marketing plan that will help take your company to the next level. At Glide, our team invests their experience and personal drive in helping our thriving customers find success on their web projects. If you’re up for it, we’re more than happy to discuss potentially working together to create a winning digital marketing plan or building out your next web project.

What topics would you like to see us write about next?