Many people try social media or online marketing, using time, money and creativity with the hopes that some of the billions of people spending time online would find their business and become customers. In simplistic terms, this way of thinking isn’t incorrect. There are billions of internet searches every day. If you put your business in the midst of these searches, you should gain new customers.

Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way.

While there are billions of internet searches every day, there are also millions of websites also hoping to get a piece of the action. Also consider that you’re not only competing with people looking specifically for what your business offers. You’re competing with other, social websites like Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit (to name a fiew).

The information super highway (remember that reference?) is filled with, you guessed it – information. So you have to stand out from a very big crowd.

But it’s not as tough as it may seem.  I’m going to write a short series giving you tips for increasing the odds that your online marketing campaigns will begin to actually contribute to your bottom line.

For the first tip, I want to point out the importance of goal setting.

I know, I know. I sound like your high school counselor or your parents, but they weren’t wrong. Setting goals is important – not just for the sake of being a productive member of society, but for succeeding online.

Many people launch online marketing campaigns with no goals set for the campaign. Or you have goals but they’re vague and tough to track. There are two things you have to do BEFORE you launch your online campaign:

  1. Set SMART (specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, time specific) goals.
  2. Turn those goals into KPI’s (key performance indicators).

SMART Goals

You can’t know if your campaign was a success or not if you don’t have SMART goals in place before you launch. It’s not hard to set SMART goals, but many people don’t do it. It does take a little more time. Plus, many people think they know their business well enough that vague goals are sufficient.

They’re not.

Here are some examples of SMART goals:

Goal: Increase Twitter followers by 10%.
SMART Goal: Increase Twitter followers by 10% of the total number of followers by March 30, 2016.

Goal: Increase Facebook engagement.
SMART Goal: Increase post likes on Facebook by 10% by February 28, 2016.

Goal: Get more sales leads from the website.
SMART Goal: Get five sales leads from the website by the end of the first quarter.

KPI’s

Once you’ve created your SMART goals, you have to use them to create KPI’s. KPI’s are a necessary part of any online marketing campaign. These are your benchmarks to let you see if the campaign was a success at a glance. Not setting KPI’s makes it tough to determine how that particular campaign fits within your overall sales/marketing plan.

Essentially, KPI’s are campaign specific SMART goals directly related to the platform you’re using for the campaign. Here are some examples of KPI’s related to the above goals:

SMART Goal: Increase Twitter followers by 10% of the total number of followers by March 30, 2016.
KPI: Increase Twitter followers by 10% of the total number of followers by the end of the campaign.

SMART Goal: Increase post likes on Facebook by 10% by February 28, 2016.
KPI: Get 10% more likes on Facebook by the end of the campaign.

SMART Goal: Get five sales leads from the website by the end of the first quarter.
KPI: Get five sales inquiries from the contact form by the end of the first quarter.

While you’re planning and preparing to hit the first quarter with focus and renewed vigor, take some time to set SMART goals for your business. Then take it a step further and create KPI’s for all of your upcoming online marketing campaigns.