Aligning website goals, business and digital marketing goals
Goals are powerful. They focus the brain on a specific outcome or destination, driving it to find solutions to get there. Not surprisingly, it is essential to have goals for your business. This post is for you if you want to create and align your business, digital marketing and website goals.
This is one of a series of blogs intended to assist you in growing your online business. To prepare to create a winning e-commerce website, you need to address 4 key elements.
4 elements to create a website for growth
In related posts, we discuss the other elements:
- Creating customer personas is vital to targeting your customers accurately.
- Mapping customer journeys helps identify potential improvements in how you interact with your customers, whether via your website or other initiatives.
- Creating a brand style guide ensures that every message you put out there about your company is consistent.
Write SMART goals
All goals, whether they are business, digital marketing or website goals, should be S.M.A.R.T!
Many people set vague goals, like:
- I want to grow my business
- I want to increase my leads
- I want to sell more products to a younger generation
- I want to make lots of money
While these ideas are good starting points, they’re not particularly helpful as goals. Far more constructive is to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. This means they are:
S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant and T – Time-related
SMART goals state exactly what you would like to achieve, using specific and realistic numbers and time frames, removing uncertainty. This serves to unite teams and propel them forward to reach amazing destinations.
There are three sections to this post:
- Business goals
- Digital marketing goals
- Website goals
1. Business goals
Why do I need to set business goals?
When you have clear business goals underlying everything you do in your business, it helps you and your team stay focused on business outcomes. Imagine the goal of your company to be the end destination of a road trip. For example, perhaps we want to drive from Barcelona to Nice on our European holiday. Having Nice as our end goal focuses us on achieving that goal and we can decide together ‘how’ we want to do that.
What are business goals?
Business owners often get confused about the difference between a business model, goals, strategies and tactics. Each of these is important and has a very distinct role to play:
- Your goals are the specific targets you’re aiming to achieve, such as sales figures or percentage improvements in any aspect of your business
- Strategies give an overview of how you plan to achieve your goals
- Tactics are specific actions that you will take to carry out your strategies
- Your business model is how you create ongoing value for your customers so that you continue to make money, and it should reflect your goals and strategies
How do I create business goals?
There are many methods you can use to put this concept into practice. Below we describe a method called backward goal setting.
For example, say you have been running a little online bookstore for a few years. When you evaluate it, you realise it’s ticking over and you have a loyal customer base, but perhaps you haven’t been keeping up with changes in the industry. For example, you don’t harness the power of social media to build your brand, your site has no book reviews or shortlists to sell books and your website is not responsive.
So you start to research what’s happening in your industry and what customers want. This helps you decide where you would like your website to be in 5 years time. For example, you might decide you want to focus on children’s books or you’d like to be known for sourcing difficult-to-find books. With your new business model in mind, you set some long-term goals around your turnover or stock database.
From these goals, you can work out a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be in 5 years. Break it down to small steps, for example, by what percentage you need to grow your sales each year for the next 5 years. Then establish some strategies and tactics to help you do that, for example, by developing a responsive website and putting in place a social media strategy.
Examples of good business goals for this coming year might include: (a) Increase sales by 15% in 12 months; (b) Achieve a 20% market share by December 20xx; (c) Improve profits by 12% within 2 quarters.
2. Digital marketing goals
OK, I know what my business goals are. Why do I need digital marketing goals?
To grow your business, you’ll need to get your brand and the products/services you provide out into the marketplace. That means making it easy for people to find you and interact with what you have to offer – a good digital marketing strategy can make that happen.
The goals of your digital marketing strategy will be derived directly from your business goals. For example, a business goal of growing your current sales figure of R25m by 15% this year translates to R3,7m extra in sales. The marketing team will break this number down into monthly sales needed and decide with which customer segments, products and at what price points this number is achievable. Staying with the bookstore example, they may decide they want to achieve the sales by:
- Creating X new customers from the toddler segment per month – buying at the current average ticket price; and
- Creating Y new customers from the empty nesters’ segment per month – buying at the average ticket price; and
- Growing the existing busy family segment by growing their purchases with Rxxx
Depending on your business, your stage of growth and your own preferences, you may decide to drive these goals down further into leads and conversions needed to make these initiatives happen and call those your goals, or you can call them your strategies. You set the level. What is important is that they are practical and specific and that each layer underneath answers in detail the question of “how’.
What do digital marketing goals look like?
Setting digital marketing goals depends on your business goals and where in the market and your own growth you are. Don’t be too set on following a specific framework – rather understand what is needed for your business to thrive. You can set goals under headings like: acquisition, engagement, conversion or advocacy, or you can set goals under headings in a digital marketing framework, such as content, SEO, PPC or email marketing. Or you can mix these to suit your business.
Although they are not yet in SMART format, here are a few examples of broad digital marketing goals:
- Increased targeted traffic or traffic acquisition goals this relates to visits to your website
- Increased sales – our example above would be a SMART example of this type of goal
- Conversion goals related to purchases, downloads, providing contact details, etc – for example, a percentage of visitors should turn into sales
- Retention objectives around new vs returning visitors – are you keeping or even growing your existing customers’ spend?
- Becoming a resource or authority in your industry
- Establishing the company in local search engines
- Establishing your brand in social media appropriate for your customer segments
- Growing referrals – this might relates to sharing posts, blogs and emails, or posting reviews on your website.
- Managing your online reputation or PR
This digital marketing framework should guide your goals and strategies. Also look at Google Analytics and Social Media analytics to understand measurements you may want to use in your goals:
Having clear digital marketing goals, aligned with your business goals, helps you spend your money wisely, as every cent is targeted towards achieving the outcomes you desire.
3. Website goals
What role does my website play?
Your website is the base of your digital marketing strategy, and it is important to clarify its purpose. Businesses go online for many different reasons. You may want to:
- Sell your products or services via your website 24/7 as an only or additional channel
- Build brand awareness by promoting your company, goods and/or services
- Showcase your products or services to encourage people to visit your brick-and-mortar stores
- Answer frequently asked questions to reduce the number of queries you receive via email, phone or website
- Collect sales leads
- Create awareness about business partners
- Educate your customers about related topics both for their own benefit and to encourage them to buy other products from you (cross-selling)
- Create a community around your products or services
- Attract funding for or create awareness about a cause you support
- Sell advertising for other companies
Once you have the raison d’etre for your website, you can start collecting and distilling your goals.
Look at some of our existing client’s websites if you need inspiration.
So how do I set website goals?
Follow this process:
- Start by getting clear on your business goals.
- Then consider your digital marketing goals.
- Write down how the website will address each of the above goals (or not) in a format like the example below.
- This detailed work would be very helpful for your web design company, so do share it with them. For your purposes though, distill this into high-level website goals, for example:
- Increase online sales figures by x% this year
- Generate 25% more leads from my website in the next 12 months
- Add 500 more names to my email database by year end
- Sell x products a month online every month this year
- Rank on page 1 of Google by December 20xx
- Reduce call centre calls by 5% by Dec 20xx by increasing the page views of xy and z
Ensure all your goals can be measured using website or social media analytics, and/or your sales figures.
The bottom line
Creating a website requires the investment of a certain amount of time, energy and money. If you’d like a good return on your investment, it’s important to know exactly what your own goals are for it. At Comalytics, we use these goals to build a website that works for you, and that helps you attract customers and build your business.
Do let us know your views, tips and tricks on using website goals to create a winning website?