“I want better rankings.”
“I want more traffic,”
“I want more sales.”
They’re phrases that anyone working in the SEO or wider digital marketing industry has probably heard at one time or another. You’ve probably encountered them from prospects and clients alike.
So what do you? Do you take those ‘objectives,’ and go off and do whatever it takes to achieve them? My advice would be not to. It would be instead to turn those requests into actionable SMART objectives.
As they stand, those three phrases above really aren’t objectives at all. They’re very brief hints at what the real goal might be and getting started on any SEO or other digital marketing activity without smartening up the goals could mean you end up missing the point or failing to meet your client’s objectives.
What do we mean by smart objectives?
Goals should be clear and well defined. So, for example, rather than say you want more traffic, you would say you want 10,000 unique visitors per month.
You need to have a really clear means of actually analysing progress towards those goals. In most cases, Google Analytics will be a sufficient measurement tool or an internal revenue or sales system. But whatever it is, before you get started you should have clear measurement tools in place.
Achievable and Realistic
It’s worth grouping achievable and realistic together as the two are often confused. Essentially, these mean that the objective should be possible and feasible. So, your example should be not only physically possible to achieve, but should be realistic within the context of your digital marketing campaign, your industry and your marketing budget. So, while 10,000 unique visitors from your PPC campaign might be perfectly possible, it will be depending upon a number of factors, particularly budget. So how realistic it is will be affected by these.
Your goals should be possible and feasible to achieve.
Simply, have a deadline! So rather than say, “I want to achieve 10,000 unique visitors per month to my website,” you say “I want 10,000 visitors to my website in the month of June 2013.”
The deadline should, as the goal itself should, be both achievable and realistic, of course.
So let’s finish up with some examples of loose half-objectives converted to smart ones.
- “I want more traffic” becomes “achieve 10,000 unique visitors per month during the month of June 2013.”
- “I want better rankings,” becomes, “I want to the in the top 5 organic listings in the UK for ‘keyword 1,’ ‘keyword 2,’ and ‘keyword 3.’
- “I want more sales,” becomes “I want to sell 5,000 copies of my e-book between the beginning of February 2013 and the end of May 2013.”
Don’t Start Until You’re Smart!
Sorry about the appalling rhyme! Couldn’t help myself. But really, until you’ve set smart goals, starting on any form of digital marketing campaign is starting out blind. And you’ll never make the best of your budget without truly understanding what you want to achieve.
- License: Image author owned