Clearly defined and easily measurable, effective digital marketing objectives are signposts guiding companies through the economic minefields of global markets. When they can see where they are going, and how well they are progressing, teams are more motivated to battle through tough times and seek out alternative ways of reaching their destinations.

The links leading from this quarter’s targets to next year’s objectives and then on to ten-year corporate goals must be clearly established. This is why smart marketers draw up and document strategies that steer their marketing efforts. In fact, surveys show that a measurable marketing strategy that’s clearly set out on paper is more than 300% likely to be successful.

Targets, Objectives, and Goals – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to piloting a company through today’s turbulent online markets, do you really know the difference between goals, objectives, and targets? Although similar (and often confused!), each plays a vital role in steering businesses along the rocky road to success:

  • Marketing targets are short-term stepping stones that lead to medium-term objectives and long-term goals;
  • Marketing objectives provide guidelines that steer a series of specific digital marketing actions;
  • Marketing goals define where your business is going over the long term, pursuing its vision and mission.

Although each of these stages is important, marketing objectives are probably the most vital aspect for digital marketers. Without clearly defined objectives, longer-term goals remain hazy, while target selection may wander off track.

Key Aspects of Marketing Objectives

There’s little point in generating more leads if conversion rates remain unchanged. Heavier website traffic means little if churn rates are high. Without measurable objectives, social media engagement is just a vanity metric, not necessarily leading to success.

Every business has its own specific marketing objectives, of course. But in almost every industry, they share many common needs:

  • Boosting revenues through SEO-dense content that ranks your company as an expert in its field for added credibility, underpinned by pay-per-click ads;
  • Enhancing brand recognition, as easily-recognizable brands are viewed as more trustworthy by the public in general;
  • Spotlighting products and services, particularly for smaller businesses, where well-written posts attract local consumers seeking reliable service providers;
  • Attracting new consumers by boosting website traffic, where well-placed CTAs can nudge them gently along the sales funnel;
  • Keeping customers satisfied, through carefully selected emails and fast-response communications channels.

Measurable Results

A major ally of digital marketing successes, specific metrics challenge companies to do better by raising the bar. For example, enhancing brand awareness sounds great – but how can something so ephemeral be measured? With today’s digital marketing software, that’s easy: just count the number of likes, shares, mentions, and follows. In the long run, greater brand awareness translates to higher sales, although not always reflected immediately in the ROI.

Everybody wants to sell more, in terms of units or percentages – and the secret to achieving this is to set specific figures within defined timeframes. A 50% increase in orders by the end of the year might well be an achievable objective, provided that it’s backed by digital marketing campaigns that spotlight products, retarget missed leads, and reach out to potential buyers.

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Breaking Down Objectives Into Smaller Steps

These digital marketing campaigns are complex meshes of actions and reactions, all knitted together into broader objectives. Increased sales mean attracting more consumers into the sales pipeline, which is often dependent on generating more leads, in turn requiring innovative content, carefully scheduled email blasts, and high-conversion landing pages with plenty of eye appeal.

This is where an overall marketing strategy comes into its own, steering all these efforts in the same direction, and tracking their success. On the other side of the coin, a marketing objective might be a reduction in customer churn. This could be measured through digital marketing metrics that reflect faster response times, higher customer satisfaction scores, and better sign-up rates.

Good Digital Marketing is SMARTER

The easiest way to attain marketing objectives on a continuous cycle is to be SMARTER:

  • Structure an action plan with detailed tactics;
  • Measure the results and calculate the ROI;
  • Analyze the data, cross-referencing channels;
  • Report on all outcomes, both positive and negative;
  • Tweak actions for higher rankings and more conversions;
  • Evaluate the next campaign and its targets;
  • Repeat, adapting to consumer preferences and market shifts.

Five Easy Steps to Digital Marketing Success

No, one size doesn’t fit all, when it comes to digital marketing. Defining objectives that are both measurable and achievable is a crucial step towards digital marketing success. Highly individualized, each business must select its own KPIs and decide which metrics best reflect the contributions of each digital marketing action. Here’s how:

  1. Establish a Key Marketing Objective
    This definition should be very specific, and also measurable in quantitative terms: greater brand awareness (through more brand searches), better quality leads (through sign-ups), etc.
  1. Define a Marketing Strategy
    A route map that leads to your objective, could include social media ads driving website traffic; higher-grade content through frequent guest posts; SEO-dense blogs that highlight seasonal attractions.
  1. Set Short-Term Goals
    The tighter the timeframe, the better the chances of reaching monthly milestones, each a step closer to a specific marketing objective. With modern marketing software providing instant feedback, content and campaigns can be tweaked quickly and cheaply, avoiding wasteful sidetracks.
  1. Align Objectives with Long-Term Goals
    Time for a spot check: is the strategy attuned to medium-term objectives and longer-term goals? Are there any gaps where prospective customers could slip away? Seeking feedback from managers and sales staff often pays rich dividends here.
  1. Check out the Metrics
    This is where state-of-the-art technology is a marketer’s best friend. Tools like Google Analytics tracks social media traffic and website visitors; WordStream measures the success of social media campaigns. These and many other specialized marketing apps allow digital marketers (and their clients) to decide exactly on what to measure, and how often. The only caveat here is to keep the same measurements for an entire campaign because the only way to measure progress accurately is by comparing exactly the same datasets.

Secret Ingredient for an Effective Marketing Strategy

Experienced marketing managers know that the best marketing strategies are group efforts, with input from everyone involved. Although not every comment carries the same weight, different viewpoints add depth and may pinpoint unexpected holes in even the best-laid plans. Teamwork is a secret ingredient, whose unexpected insights can turn even a ho-hum marketing strategy into a trail-blazing winner.