2020 brought with it a host of challenges that effected businesses and consumers alike. Businesses had to adapt and fast if they wanted to cater to their audience. But the effects of COVID-19 are still shadowing us in 2021 and are likely to follow for some time.
A new year is an opportunity to define exactly where you want to be in 12 months’ time. We’ve never had to rely on digital as much as we do now. Empowering businesses to respond and communicate with clarity and ease, digital is an essential part of success today.
With this in mind, it’s massively important to clearly define your digital marketing goals. Doing so helps to create solid foundations to succeed in the year ahead and ensures a focused team that are ready and raring to deliver. We’ve pulled together our years of experience as a digital marketing agency to outline a plan that will aid you in defining your digital marketing goals and objectives.
Understand your business goals
The starting point for any marketing strategy should always be the overarching business goal. Business goals give purpose and define exactly what it is you want to achieve, laying the foundations required to reach that goal.
It’s worth being mindful that there can be short term and long-term goals. This makes it essential to keep in touch with the business direction and priorities as things change.
Although not every business goal will be relevant to or supported by the marketing team, many are, for example:
- Increase market share: This could include being aware of the competition and what needs to be done to stay ahead of them in order to gain market share.
- Increase business growth: This could refer to an increase in revenue, new customers or even particular products or services.
- Market expansion: Reaching new audiences, market expansion could include internationalisation or simply new regions.
Align your digital marketing goals to business goals
Aligning your marketing goals to your business’ goals is fundamental to success. Not only will this ensure your marketing efforts are contributing to the business goals, but it also means they are aligned to other business operations such as sales and product development. Each area of the business should be working together to form the business strategy which should ultimately deliver against the business goals.
When marketers work to deliver a strategic marketing plan, they have to keep in mind the overarching business goals at each stage. Failing to consider the business’ ambitions and focusing purely on marketing metrics, you risk your marketing strategy not delivering what the business wants and therefore, wasting your efforts.
Some businesses underestimate the importance of aligning marketing and business goals which can result in poorly defined marketing goals that may not be beneficial or could even be unrealistic.
What is the difference between marketing goals and marketing objectives?
First and foremost, let’s define what goals and objectives are and how you can go about setting the right ones for your business. Goals and objectives are equally important, but they are different:
- A marketing goal is a desired result you want to achieve which is typically broad and long-term. Within marketing, there are often common goals that a team sets out to achieve. This could include to raise brand awareness, to encourage colleagues to become brand ambassadors, to generate high-quality leads or increase customer value. Whatever your marketing goals are, they should be closely aligned with your business goals.
- A marketing objective ismore specific and measurable, defining a particular action required to help you achieve the goal. For example, if your overarching marketing goal is to build brand awareness, an objective could be to increase social media followers or website traffic.
Keep your marketing goals focused
When creating your goals for the year ahead, it’s essential to prioritise them and keep them focused. Here are our top pointers to guide you:
- Don’t set too many, you could spread your teams too thin and risk not achieving any
- There will always be lots of things you could do but this doesn’t mean you should do them
- Defining focused goals will help to ensure your team are clear on their priorities
- Reducing confusion on what your goals entail will give your team confidence in what they need to do to achieve them
Focusing on a few goals and setting clear objectives that support their achievement will have greater impact on your business than inching toward numerous goals with little direction.
Make sure your marketing objectives are SMART
SMART objectives are well known in the marketing world. Realistic, quantifiable and focused, these are the targets your team can set their sights on achieving. So, what does SMART stand for and how do you create SMART objectives?
- Specific: Your digital marketing objectives should be well defined. Rather than simply setting an objective to ‘increase website traffic’ be more specific such as ‘increase web traffic from Asia’.
- Measurable: To gauge your progress, you need to be able to quantify your goals. For example, it’s not enough to simply aim to increase website visitors. Instead, work towards a percentage increase such as ‘increase website visitors from Asia by 15%’ to really give your team something to aim for.
- Attainable: While setting targets, ensure they are realistic and achievable. For example, maybe your website visitors only increased by 2 percent last quarter. In this case, a goal of 5 percent increase may be more appropriate than 15 percent. It’s important to base your objectives off your own data to give yourself a chance of achieving what you set out to do. You want your objectives to be a challenge, but not demoralising.
- Relevant: Your objectives must relate to the overarching business goals. For example, does growing your social following help you increase revenue? Consider how your marketing objectives feed into the wider business strategy.
- Time bound: Failure to provide deadlines can lead to slower success. Giving objectives individual deadlines ensures consistent and significant progress in the long-term. For example, ‘increase web traffic from Asia by 5 percent in Q1’ is much more focused than ‘increase web traffic from Asia by 20 percent by the end of the year’.
Clearly communicate your goals and objectives
It’s not only important to clearly define your goals, you also need to clearly communicate them. Gaining stakeholder buy-in as early on as possible is key to success. When your internal team and management team are aligned, it becomes much easier to stick to your goals and ensure all efforts are focused on achieving them.
Clearly communicating goals means there will be fewer distractions thanks to a wider understanding of what your digital marketing efforts have set out to deliver and how these efforts tie into the bigger picture.
When/if conflicts do arise, your team will find it easier to identify tasks that deviate from the marketing objectives, presenting the opportunity to discuss further with your stakeholders.
Define who is accountable
To ensure your objectives are kept at the core, define who is accountable for each. Making someone, or in some cases, multiple people, solely responsible for each objective makes it more likely to happen.
With a driving force behind the goal, it won’t be lost sight of which also makes it easier to incentivise your team by recognising their efforts and rewarding their achievements.
How can an agency help?
Leaning on an agency for support can help you define your digital goals and help you stay on track by focusing on what will deliver the greatest difference to your business. Taking these goals and objectives, an effective agency will produce a high performing digital strategy that will deliver.
Underpinned by technical expertise and a commercial mindset, our team of digital experts have years of experience producing tailored digital strategies as bespoke as your business. Working collaboratively with your team, we combine the extensive knowledge you possess of your business with the expert knowledge our experts harbour in their specialism.
If you need some guidance with your digital marketing strategy, whether it’s answering any marketing questions or simply providing support to define and carry out your digital marketing goals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.