If you want to achieve something the first step is to set a goal and objectives. These goals and objectives become a focus for your actions. This is no different for your business. For your digital marketing to succeed you need to set goals and objectives.
What are the differences between goals and objectives?
The terms goals and objectives are used interchangeably by many people. In truth though they are very different animals and each plays a vital role in setting up your integrated digital marketing plan. Let’s take a look at each term separately.
In planning terms a goal is a broad target that you want to reach. It should be something general. Let’s look at an example to illustrate this.
Tim is overweight and out of shape. He joined a gym and signed up to work with a personal trainer.
Before starting his first workout with the trainer he meets with her to talk over what he wants to get out of his workouts. After a vague get in shape she asks him to be more specific. He then makes a list of some of the things that he would like to accomplish:
- Build Muscle
- Lose Fat
- Get a Six Pack
- Improve his Golf Game
Tim’s trainer had him make a list of goals that he wanted to achieve with his training. These goals are broad but lend a focus to his training.
If we take these goals and extrapolate them to a digital marketing plan we might set goals like:
- Increase engagement
- Increase online sales
- Increase traffic
These broad goals give our fledgling plan a focus.
Objectives are the bread and butter of any plan. They are tangible and measurable. Let’s take a look at Tim’s meeting with his trainer again.
Tim’s trainer told him that those were some great goals to work towards but they also needed to make some more specific goals that they could measure. She had him look at each goal and set more specific goals in each area. As they worked together their new goals looked like:
- Build Muscle
- Be able to do 50 push ups with no breaks in 4 weeks
- Be able to do 50 squats with no breaks in 4 weeks
- Lose Fat
- Reduce body fat percent by 5% in 4 weeks
- Get a six-pack
- Stop eating fast food in 2 weeks
- Stop drinking soda/sugar drinks in 2 weeks
- Improve Golf Game
- Add 10 yards to average drive in 4 weeks
Tim’s trainer understands that to really achieve your goals you need to set specific objectives that help you get there. What she doesn’t know is that she is following a tried and true method for setting objectives called the “SMART” system. This system was introduced by George T. Doran in the 1981 issue of Management Review.
SMART is an acronym for setting up objectives in management. The letters usually mean:
- Time bound
Some times the system is also called “SMARTER” where the last two letters stand for:
Regardless of whether it is “SMART” or “SMARTER” or what set of meanings are attached to the letters the idea is the same. Let’s take a look at these same principles and apply them to our marketing goals.
- Increase Engagement
- Increase Re-tweets 50% over next 4 weeks
- Increase article comments 10% over next 4 weeks
- Increase online sales
- Increase online sales 25% over next 4 weeks
- Increase Traffic
- Increase website traffic 25% over next 4 weeks
Putting it together
As we can see here the purpose of the exercise is to start with a wide beam and then narrow that focus. This means that we should then take these objectives and break them down into actions we need to take to make those objectives happen. Let’s take a look at Tim and his trainer again.
After making Tim’s goals and objectives the trainer helps build him an exercise program that will help him reach his goals. There are things they will do together when he works out with her but there are also steps for him to take on his own. Their plan is:
- 3 One hour sessions with Tim and the trainer. She sets up muscle building programs focused on strengthening his body with multiple golf specific exercises.
- 3 One hour active recovery workouts for Tim to complete on his own. These are programs focused on increasing flexibility and recovery, again with golf specific actions.
- A new diet plan to be implemented over the coming weeks focusing on healthful whole foods instead of fast foods.
- A plan to reduce soda and sweetened drinks daily while increasing water intake.
Now that Tim and his trainer have a concrete set of goals and objectives they can make a plan, that if followed, should take them where they want to go. Again we can take this and apply it to our digital marketing. Our plan might look something like this.
- Research tweets that get re-tweeted more frequently and refine tweet strategy. Also increase number of relevant tweets to increase the odds of re-tweets.
- Add a call to action to the end of each article asking for comments. Make sure to reply to every comment.
- Re-assess SEO/SEM and update where needed.
- Look at conversion optimization for online store.
- Increase blog posts from bi-weekly to weekly.
Here you can see that having a fully formed digital strategy can help here. For example increasing online sales by 25% can be achieved with the help of many factors. Optimizing your website, content marketing and SEO can all help drive more traffic to your site which, if your conversion rate remains the same, will increase your sales. If you can also increase your conversion rate this can help even more.
What does it all mean
Goals and Objectives are just the first steps in building an Integrated Digital Marketing Plan. They are the emerald city that you know you need to get to…now you just need to create the yellow brick road to get you there.
Now you need to find your niche, build a target audience, decide what technology you want to use, set specific goals for each type of technology, create a marketing framework, create a marketing schedule and then rinse and repeat.
Talk About It
Have you had success in marketing after setting specific goals and objectives? Do you need help setting goals and objectives? Share your thoughts and questions below so that we can all benefit and learn.