I love ‘To Do’ lists. I’m one of those odd people that add the ‘last minute’ items to my list after I’ve completed them just to see myself mark them as done. My goal is to get them all completed in a predetermined amount of time... it is seriously satisfying to finish those small milestones and see how many I can knock off while maintaining a high quality of work. So really, it’ll come as no surprise to you that I love setting strategic and marketing goals. With those goals in mind I can map out the best course of action and cross those steps off one at a time as we work towards our goals.
Digital Strategy takes a lot of precision and a LOT of data. If you haven’t started out with clear goals and clear key performance indicators (KPIs), your efforts may snowball and could produce far less satisfying results. That snowballing effect can also impact your budget, lowering your ROI.
What are the best ways to set goals?
The first step is to think about your business. Review the 20 Things You Must Know Before Approaching A Web Agency checklist to determine where your site stands now. From audience information to understanding your database and hosting structure, this checklist will help form a baseline to compare your successes against. Before moving onto next steps, here are a few more things to consider:
- Regarding your primary marketing goal:
Is your top priority to drive more sales?
Do you need to broaden the overall awareness of your brand?
- About your target audience:
Have you fully developed personas?
Do you have multi-lingual or accessibility issues to pay closer attention to?
- Knowing your competitors:
Have you identified where your top competitors rank?
How does their site rank in comparison to yours?
Discovery is your starting point
Like any great build, you need to start with a blueprint. This blueprint is critical: without it, any scope of work you receive will contain a lot of guess work and in the end, your project may not have all the features you need or it could go well over budget to ‘get it all in.’ I simply cannot say it loudly enough… wait give me a moment to find a soap box here…the creation of a blueprint for the site and what it needs to become is critical to the success of your project. One of your first goals needs to be getting this information!
At Mediacurrent, we call the building of this blueprint our Discovery Phase. We do the homework (here is that theme again), answering some of the questions you may have asked - giving you and your stakeholders a well rounded analysis of your project. A typical discovery may include many of the following items:
- Defining Primary Buyer Personas
- Conducting a Competitive Analysis
- Reviewing current Analytics
- Conducting a Content Audit & Gap Analysis
- Reviewing Current Processes & Workflows
- Identifying Brand Identity
- Creating Style Sheets
- Wireframing & Designing High Priority Pages
- Mapping Primary Conversion Paths
- Documenting a Build Plan (what we call a Drupal Functional Specification)
The goal of the Discovery Phase is to create a strategic vision for how your site can attract visitors and generate the greatest ROI, and outline the technical requirements necessary to achieve those goals.
Define KPIs as a part of the Discovery Process
During the discovery process you will learn where you are and where you are going. Now it’s important to set milestones. If not, well... it’s a lot like this one time I was driving down I-70 in Kansas after the harvest and into the dry season - it was mile after mile of dried stumps of crops and barren fields. Even though that same stretch of highway is a vision of Americana in July, on that November trip it went on and on and on… seemingly without end because there were not many visual clues to the progress I was making.
By defining KPI’s for your site you’re able to set goals when building an actionable plan, enabling you to determine accountability and measuring progress. For example, if your is to increase overall awareness, you may identify the following KPI’s:
- increase organic search engine traffic by 10% in the next 3 months
- increase completion of ‘more information’ form by 5% in the next 2 months
- have 500 new subscribers to the weekly newsletter
With these clear and agreed upon indicators you now also have your definitions of success. If you are able to achieve each of these KPIs than you are well on your way to achieving your overall goal.
Tracking, tracking and more tracking!
You should already have Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager on your website so tracking metrics against your KPIs, like site traffic, should be easily attainable!
In Google Analytics, you can set up what they call Goals and Events. This will allow you to track and report things such as contact submissions, newsletter signups, or how many times your videos have been played, all right from your account. You can even tie in your existing Adwords campaigns for more comprehensive reporting. Customized views and filtering options allow you to quickly build the reports that will show you exactly what you need to see.
Now to bring in the traffic
There are a lot of ways you can address this issue. Talk to your marketing department or agency for details, but a few ideas can include:
- Further optimizing your site for search engines
- Producing valuable content (via a blog or press room) more frequently
- Utilize your Social Media channels - start a conversation
- Make sure you include compelling CTA’s
You cannot have progress without knowing what “progress” means to your organization. If my goal is to make sure that my old pink prom dress becomes a recognized icon (ha! - got it in there!) then including something about this in each post is a step closer to that goal.
Whether you need a few touch ups to your website or a full redesign with all new architecture, you need to take the time to find your baseline, discover your blueprint, and set measurable markers of your success to keep your project in-focus and on budget.
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