Before you start writing your digital marketing strategy, it’s important to know exactly what your goals are. To use the analogy of a car, your strategy is the vehicle to help you get to where you want to go and the goals are the destination. You don’t just jump in your car and drive, you tend to know where you’ve got to get to and by what time. Similarly, you shouldn’t just start conducting digital marketing without knowing what you are trying to achieve and by when.
As well as defining the numbers, it’s also important to think a bit deeper about what it means to your company — and to you personally — should you hit your goals, and also what it would mean if you didn’t achieve them. That way you get more conviction, more buy-in and more focus when it comes to setting and implementing your plans.
In my post about what should be in your digital marketing strategy, I talked about goals and the importance of them being S.M.A.R.T. Whilst this is important, what it doesn’t do is look at whether or not the right actions are in place in order to hit them.
For example, one goal you have may be to double the number of unique visitors to your website within the next 12 months.
Achievable? That depends on whether or not there is sufficient search volume out there.
Time related? Yes.
So that would appear to meet the mark.
However, what the goal statement doesn’t tell us is how we’re going to actually do this or why hitting this goal aligns with the overall goals of the organisation.
When we write strategy documents and hold strategy workshops for clients, the first thing that we always start with is a deep dive into their goals. Not just goals of the website, but the organisational goals too.
This is how we work through the goal setting exercise.
- What are the financial targets of the organisation/business?
Remembering the SMART Acronym, for example, we are looking to achieve £2m turnover by the end of the the financial year.
- What does that look like in relation to the number of clients needed?
This is where it’s important to know your numbers. What is the average value of each customer in this period. Keeping the same example, to achieve £2m of revenue in this financial year, if your average value of each customer is £20,000 then you need 100 customers. (Please don’t say that your average value depends, it doesn’t, it’s a mathematical equation - The total value of sales in a given period divided by the number of customers equals your average value per customer. Keep it that simple.)
- Where are these customers going to come from?
Again, this is where it’s important that you have some meaningful metrics in your business. Where does your business come from at the moment and where do you want it to come from? For example, you may currently get 50% of your business from your sales reps cold calling, 30% from exhibitions, but only 20% from your website. Your goal may be to reduce the amount of cold calling and generate more leads, so you want to increase the amount of business generated from your digital activity to 50% and reduce the cold calls to 20%. 50% of your business, keeping the same example running means that your website needs to generate 50 customers in the financial period. Now this is starting to get meaningful.
- What are your conversion rates? Here it’s important to measure the following conversion metrics. Qualified lead through to sale, lead through to qualified lead and web visitor to lead. Don’t guess at this, if you don’t have these metrics, you need to start measuring them now.
Let’s say that we know our metrics are as follows
Qualified lead to Sale - 33%
Lead to Qualified Lead - 10%
Website Visitor to Lead - 2%
So, in order to meet our 50 customer target from the website you’re going to need 150 qualified leads, 1500 leads and 75,000 website visitors
Bear in mind that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, In this scenario, we can decide either to concentrate on driving the 75,000 visitors, but we could also concentrate on increasing the conversion rates. For example, if you doubled the conversion rate from lead to qualified lead, you only need half of the visitors to achieve the same
- Identify the gap. You’ll already have traffic coming to your website, so you’re strategy needs to show the activity required to increase to bridge the gap. So, if you currently have 35,000 visitors to your site, then your strategy needs to plan
This now has become a tangible goal and something that you have control over and something that gives you direction as to what you need to work on. I.e. Our digital marketing activity needs to be focused on increase our traffic from 30 to 75,000 visitors whilst maintaining our visitor to lead conversion rate. Or Our digital marketing activity needs to focus on increasing our lead to visitor conversion ratio from 10% to 20% and increasing our visitors from 30 to 37,500 (it goes without saying that you need to add in your time period into these statements)
Now that you’ve defined your goals, you can start planning the activity that’s going to get you there.
If you’re looking to increase traffic, you’ll need to consider using SEO, PPC, Paid Social Ads, social media and blogging
If you’re looking to increase your visitor to lead conversion, then your work may be more around content offers, landing pages, call to actions and conversion rate optimisation.
If you’re looking to increase your lead to qualified lead, then lead nurturing, marketing automation and website personalisation would be the focus
If you’re looking to increase your qualified lead to sale, then sales enablement would be worth putting the time into.
So, now that we’ve finalised what the goals are, sense check them against the SMART acronym and also against the resources and budget that you’re able to commit to. It’s all very well saying that you need to double your web traffic, but if you’re not able to increase your ad budget or provide the skilled resources to produce the blog posts, optimise your website and manage your social media, then it’s entirely unrealistic that you’re going to achieve the desired outcome.
Once you’ve planned your activity, the next thing is to plan the actual detail. It’s all very well saying that you need to produce 4 blogs per week and a 3 month long nurture sequence, but what are you going to write about. (Hint - Know your buyer persona before you start). Get the information down on paper, get the buy-in from your team and start planning and implementing.
To help you produce your digital marketing strategy, we’ve produced an wordbook, the 6 Keys to planning your digital marketing strategy. Download it and feel free to get in touch to discuss.