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Setting Goals for Your Digital Marketing

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the same day-to-day and lose track of the big picture. That’s why it’s so important to set goals for yourself so that you know you’re moving upward toward a bigger, stronger company. Here’s how to get started.

How Do You Know What Goals Are Attainable?

If you set your goals too high, you won’t come close to meeting them, and you’ll get discouraged. Set them too low, on the other hand, and you might settle for less than your potential, missing out on prime opportunities to expand.

The best way to set reasonable goals is to set them in the context of your present and past performance. If you’ve been adding 100 Facebook Likes a month, 120 is probably attainable. 1000 is not. Take a long look at how things have been going for you recently and work from there.

Be authentic, too. Lots of startups like to set insanely lofty goals for themselves because they’re aspirational. But don’t tell yourself you’re going to reach a million clients unless that’s actually plausible — it might sound good, but it’s not a useful target to set your sights on.

Break up your goals so they seem less overwhelming. If you want to grow your email list by 100,000 by the end of the year, that means 2,000 a week. Take your big goals one step at a time.

That also means mapping out the smaller goals you’ll need to achieve in order to facilitate the big ones. Create a road map of all the stuff that needs to get done first, before you can focus all your energy on the big goal at the end.

Stay focused. It’s tempting to think that you’re going to overhaul the whole company and get everything running better, but you probably can’t do it all at once. Pick one or two goals that will directly affect your bottom line, and maybe three to five that will support those ones. If you — or your employees — are pulled in too many directions at once, you won’t get anywhere.

Learn from your failures. You’re not going to hit every target you set — if you do, you probably need to be aiming higher. So when you fail, take it as an opportunity to adjust in future. Why was that goal so much harder to reach? Was it set too high? Did you overestimate how much time your employees had on their hands, or underestimate how long things would take? Don’t just move on to the next goal without examining why this one didn’t work.

So What Kind Of Goals Should You Set?

Now that you know how to set goals, you’re wondering what your goals should be. The answer is that it depends on where you are as a company.

If you’re a brand-new company trying to shoulder your way into an existing space, your goals should be focused on getting yourself on the map. Engagement and feedback will be key to establishing a foothold and improving your lead generation in future.

If you’ve been around for a while and you’re more concerned with breaking through a plateau, your goals will be more growth-focused. Make sure your goals are tied to specific business metrics so you can tell when you’re achieving them. Vague goals aren’t helping anyone.


Developed by Dave Chaffey, the Five S Model is designed to make sure you’re covering the entire spectrum of modern digital marketing, not just the bottom line. It’s not the only way to establish targets for yourself, but it’s a good start.


First things first: focus on increasing sales. If you sell online, focus on the transactions that are actually generating revenue. Make sure people can find what they’re looking for, make a purchase, and do so easily and smoothly.

If you’re new to the game, this is the stage where additional incentives can help convince people that you’re worth the risk. Free delivery, free returns, or a trial period will help drive sales up.

If you don’t sell products online, sales goals become lead generation goals. Whether it’s getting visitors to your site, turning them into leads, or turning leads into paying customers, selling is your most important step.


Communicate your customers. In today’s marketing world, engagement is vital for maintaining a consistent, happy customer base. Set goals related to engaging with your users. Reply to tweets, post relevant content on Facebook, showcase user-generated content (UGC) on your website, and make sure you’re blogging consistently.


Serving your customers is all about adding value to their buyer’s journey — the steps they take before they end up buying from you. There are a lot of ways to do that, so be creative!

Start by making sure you have useful, relevant content on your site and social media. When potential customers go looking for answers to their questions, you want to be there. If your product requires some education, make a Q&A on your website for frequently asked questions.


The “Save” step isn’t exciting, but it’s important. These goals are all about reducing overhead. Take a good, hard look at all the software tools you pay for, for instance. Is there overlap? Do you need all of them, or can you get by with fewer?

On the other end of the spectrum, are there repetitive tasks that can be automated to free up people’s time for more useful things? Look into streamlining operations that computers can handle by themselves.


This is the fun one. Sizzle is all about adding new, exciting features to your web presence that highlight the value of your brand and the benefits of being a part of your world. Whether it’s exclusive member features, new apps, contests, or just silly fun, these are the goals that make people like you and want to be involved and connected with what you’re doing.


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