How to develop a digital marketing strategy that gets results – Part 3

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Written for The Icehouse by Debra Chantry and published here.

Last week we spent a lot of time understanding the marketplace, our competitors and developing our SWOT and key areas to work on.

This week it’s time to start developing digital objectives.

Let’s not forget that digital marketing is just a series of digital channels that you can use to achieve your marketing objectives, so your digital marketing objectives are going to fall out of your marketing objectives.

So, how do you go about defining your digital marketing objectives?

Step 1 – Define success

I am a huge fan of having fun in business and this includes celebrating success… particularly with a fine Central Otago Pinot Noir or a bottle of French Champagne!

To do this you need to know what success looks like.

Having an objective of increasing sales from the website is great but it’s not a true success measure… Is one more sale enough to be cracking the champagne? Or do you need 150 new sales? And within what time frame?

The key to making sure that you are celebrating the right things is to set SMART objectives.

Definition Description
Specific Objectives should address the five Ws… Who, What, When, Where, and Why.Use action verbs… create, design, develop, implement, produce, etc.
Measurable Objectives should include numeric or descriptive measures that define quantity, quality, cost, etc.How will you and your team know when the goal has been successfully met?  What do you need to measure and can it be easily measured?
Achievable Objectives should be within the teams control and influence – a goal may be a “stretch” but still feasible.Is it achievable with the available resources?Is it achievable within the timeframe originally outlined?Can it be done at all?
Relevant / Realistic Is it possible for your team to perform the objective using Digital Channels?How sensible is the objective in the current business context?
Timely / Time-bound Objectives should identify a definite target date for completion and/or frequencies for specific action steps that are important for achieving the goal.Incorporate specific dates, calendar milestones, or timeframes that are relative to the achievement of another result (i.e., dependencies and linkages to other projects).

Your digital objectives stem from your business & marketing objectives, so look at your business and check if you have SMART objectives for:

  • – Sales forecast – sales figures, number of new customers wanted?
  • – Customer service – how can you improve the service to customers?
  • – Communication – providing information to customers?
  • – Reducing Costs – saving time & increasing your business efficiency?
  • – The wow factor!  – adding sizzle to make your business stand out from the crowd?


Now take a look at your digital SWOT from earlier and establish SMART digital objectives to help you achieve your overall business goals.

The key thing in developing digital objectives is that they are RELEVANT. Can they actually be delivered through the digital channels?

Many businesses fail to achieve their digital marketing objectives because they have not been realistic about what can be achieved in the online environment.


Overall Business Objective Digital Marketing Objective
Increase sales Achieve an increase of 150% in direct sales from the website within 12 months.
Increase leads for the sales team Gain an additional 25 leads per month from the website by May 2013.Gain 20,000 database registrations by January 2014.
Improve customer retention Increase retention rates of customers online from 35% to 40%, by the end of 2013.
Improve brand awareness Increase visitor numbers to the website from 2,000 to 10,000 by August 2013.Achieve number 1 listing in google natural search for the key search term ‘Digital Marketing’ by September 2013.
Reduce costs Reduce number of customers calling for a brochure from 800 to 500 by end of May 2013.Reduce phone calls to the customer service team by 500 per month by June 2013.

 Step 2 – Benchmarking

At the time of developing your digital objectives, it is also time to look at what you already have and how it is performing:

  • – How many visitors come to your site?
  • – How many people buy from the site?
  • – How many people visit the site to get information that means that they don’t need to call your business?
  • – How many emails do you send? And how many people click through?
  • – How do you rank for the key search terms on google?


There are many, many metrics in digital marketing and not all of them are useful.

Think about what is important for you as a business in terms of achieving your goals.

Take stock of how you are performing right now and use this as the baseline that you can measure increased performance against.

Next, think carefully about how you will measure your journey towards your gaols. What will you need to do / implement to measure your progress?

One thing to think about is how much detail do you need to report on?

Often companies report on very minute detail when a general understanding of the trend is enough to understand whether you are moving towards achieving your goals.

Think about how much time it takes to do the measurements and does it justify the means to the end?

There are also many tools out there to automate the measurement process – don’t recreate the wheel!

Feel free to contact me – for a list of tools that you can use to measure your success.

Next week we’ll be moving onto the exciting stuff – the strategies & the tactics 🙂

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