Remember January 1 and all the resolutions or goals that you set? So many good intentions to make a big difference in your life and business. If some of those seem like a distant memory now, fear not, you need not wait until next year to recommit. We’ve reached the year’s half way point and there’s no time like the present for getting back on track. Through goal setting (and tracking), we can ensure that our website helps our business succeed in the second half of the year, and beyond. If you’re interested in turning lofty aspirations into reality, read on!
Strategic Value of Website Goals
Unfortunately, a goal without a plan is simply a wish. Nobody knows this better than business owners, whose growth, and often survival, depend on solid preparation. To maximize the potential for success, all of your organization’s efforts must be pulled in unison. This is certainly true of your website, which should be designed and maintained not simply to look nice and function effectively (although these are important), but to work strategically toward your larger goals. After all, even a stunning website is nothing more than eye-candy unless it works to further your stated objectives. Setting goals and tracking progress are clearly important steps in achieving success.
SMART Goals, Objectives and Metrics
Before starting, it’s important to make a couple of distinctions:
- A goal is a general want that relates to your business or organization (gain prospects, convert leads, upsell current customers, facilitate e-business, etc.). Allow yourself freedom when brainstorming goals. If it feels a bit like writing a letter to Santa Clause, that’s OK!
- An objective allows you to track your progress when working toward a goal and must be SMART to be effective. If an objective is not Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound, then it’s simply a goal.
- A metric is a tool you’ll use to track your progress with regards to your objective. It’s what makes it measurable.
Common Metrics for Business Goals
Setting goals involves analysis, self-reflection, and big picture thinking. Converting those goals into objectives is a more tactical exercise. The following are some common approaches used to track objectives.
Tracking a Promotion
The number of customers who respond to a particular promotion is the most straightforward way to measure its effectiveness. Sometimes it makes sense to track this as a percentage of another statistic. Ie. 10% more coupon return than a similar promotion from the past, or 15% of an email list utilizing a promo code.
SMART Example: 5% of those on our ‘current customers email list’ will utilize a promo code within 3 days of the email being sent.
New subscribers, open rate, and click through rate are common ways to track the effectiveness of an email campaign. Most email marketing platforms will allow for the tracking of such statistics.
SMART Example: Through a social media campaign, we will add 250 new subscribers to our email list in each of the next three months.
Social Media and Video
Social media and video platforms track engagement, views, shares and many other metrics. Familiarize yourself with the back end of these platforms in order to best understand your performance trends.
SMART Example: Each month on the 1st we will release a new video designed to instruct our customers. Each video will receive 500 views within the first week and 1,000 by the end of the month.
Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about page visits, bounce rates, unique visitors and more. These will help you understand who is visiting your site, how they arrived there, and how they navigate it.
SMART Example: Increase contact form submission from the website by 20% by December.
Using a Checklist to Achieve Your Business Goals
Your organization’s goals won’t set themselves. Once defined, they won’t work on themselves either. This is where a checklist comes in. A well constructed checklist will summarize your desired destination and the steps needed to get there, greatly enhancing your ability to turn objectives into accomplishments.
Creating the checklist itself is simple enough. First, list a goal. Below that, list one or more objectives, ensuring that they’re SMART.
Here’s an example:
Generate website traffic through a well-written industry related blog.
Keep blog up to date and increase readership. (Not SMART!)
Publish two blog posts per month for 6 months.
Increase blog readership by 10% monthly over the current baseline of 125 monthly readers.
Pro Tip: Break your objectives down into bite-sized chunks. This ensures that they’re achievable and realistic.
Consistently Review Your Business Goals Checklist
At scheduled intervals, review your business goals checklist, as your checklist will keep you honest. Is your strategy working? Are your benchmarks being met? If so, why? Should you stay the course, further broaden your goals, or double down on successful initiatives? If your benchmarks are not being met, why not? Is your website design not a fit with your overall strategy? Was the strategy itself flawed? Or is it a matter of execution?
Business Goals Checklist Tools
Your checklist can be an electronic file, a piece of paper, or even a sharpie on your office wall (not recommended). What’s important is that you have one! Feeling as though you are accomplishing something is nice. Knowing is better! The checklist provides this and will hold you accountable to make sure you’re achieving your business goals.
Peak Ed Designs believe in designing websites with goal setting and business planning in mind. It’s why we work so hard to understand your organization and your goals during the initial planning stages. We also value education and will help prepare you to track your SMART objectives after your website has been launched. Recognizing victories (even if they’re small) will make you happier and push you further. Alternatively, if you need to make adjustments, knowing this information will help steer you in the right direction.
Ensure that your website is moving your organization closer to its goals each and every day.