What are your business goals for next year? Plan to improve your digital marketing, channel distribution, sales revenue, prospect leads, or market share? Great, but how do you know if you’re meeting or exceeding that goal?
A goal is only as good as the reporting that goes into it. If you can’t accurately track your goal, then you can’t properly say if you’ve reached it. We’re here to show you how we convert goals into trackable reporting with a simple 5-step process so you can truly define goal success and make better decisions.
5 Step Process to Trackable Reporting
1. Define Your Business Goals –
We’ll be the first to admit that there are way too many silly acronyms out there, but the SMART criteria for goal setting is certainly the most useful of all:
- Specific – Broad goals like “be more successful” or “make more money” are too vague. Be specific about what exactly you want to achieve in order to be more successful or make more money.
- Measurable – Use precise numbers to define your goal. Don’t say, “increase sales revenue from last year”. Say, “increase sales revenue by 10% YOY”.
- Attainable – Set realistic goals that you can actually achieve. If most years, you only increase sales by 10%, then it’s plausible to attain 15-20% with a better strategy, but probably not 50%.
- Relevant – Make sure your business goals align with your business needs. If you want to generate new leads, then don’t make a goal that has to do with increasing sales from loyal customers.
- Time Bound – Give your goal a deadline, like end of first quarter, end of first half or end of year. This gives you a target date and creates a sense of urgency.
2. Identify KPIs –
Once you’ve defined your business goals, it’s time to identify the KPIs (key performance indicators). The best thing about marketing – and digital marketing, in particular – is that it’s such a measurable concept. So for every goal, there are overall performance metrics, or KPIs, that help you determine success.
For example, if your goal is to increase leads by 20% next year, your KPIs might be:
- Total leads generated
- Lead conversion ratio (# of leads / # of visits)
- Costs per lead
3. Implement Tactics –
Once you’ve identified KPIs for each goal, it’s time to start formulating and implementing tactics to help you reach those goals. There is no right or wrong set list of tactics. Every business will use a different set based on goals, resources, and channels.
For example, if your goal is to increase leads by 20% next year, your tactics might include:
- Increasing frequency of blogs to grow inbound traffic, making sure a contact form is available on the sidebar at all times
- Using lightbox pop-ups to garner newsletter signups and white paper downloads
- Scoring leads by close rate, speed to close, and source to identify best channels for prospect marketing
4. Select Appropriate Metrics
The next step is to select appropriate metrics that you’ll use in your report. There are plenty of metrics from which to choose, whether you work with Google Analytics, Omniture, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social, but it’s important to push aside all the unnecessary data and focus on the metrics that relate only to your goals. For instance, if your goal is about generating more conversions from social media, then you can ignore all the data about likes, shares and followers and focus on the click-through rates and conversions – the stats that really matter.
For our 20% lead generation example, appropriate metrics might include:
- # of Contact form fills
- # of Newsletter signups
- New visitors from search engines
What’s the difference between KPIs and metrics?
There tends to be a lot of confusion surrounding KPIs and metrics. On the surface, they look the same, but they’re in fact very different. In general, KPIs are the all-important, performance-based goals that drive your organization and business objectives over time (e.g. 100 total leads generated). Metrics are often the smaller, more detailed measures that help you get there (e.g. 20 leads from contact form fills, 40 leads from social media, etc.). Need a better explanation? Think about running a 400m lap in under 1 minute. Your KPI would be ‘running under 1 minute’, but your metric would be the seconds it takes to get there. If you can improve your metrics, such as run each 100m leg in less than 15 seconds, then you can achieve your KPI. That in turn can help you reach your goal of winning state track championships. Get it?
5. Deliver Report
Now that you’ve gone through all four steps – setting precise goals, identifying KPIs, implementing tactics, and selecting appropriate metrics – it’s time to deliver your report. This report should be delivered at least once per month so you can track your goal throughout its entire period and rework your tactics or revise your metric choices where needed. It should include KPIs and metrics and be easy to follow.
If you work with a marketing agency or have a marketing team in your company, make sure they are delivering this report to you. Any agency or team that doesn’t care about converting your goals into trackable reporting is simply shooting in the dark. And if you need an agency or team to help you with this 5-step process to trackable reporting, reach out to our team at LeapGo.