1. Defining Goals
How To Define Your GoalsMost of us know the five traits your goals should possess:
- Clear— Goals must be well defined so everyone understands them.
- Authentic— Goals need to be unique to your brand, relating to your business and what you stand for.
- Actionable— Clear action needs to be taken to accomplish your goals.
- Achievable— Goals need to be realistic and attainable for those required to attain them.
- Time-bound— Goals need specific starting and ending times.
Understanding Your Analytics Data FirstBefore you set your eCommerce goals, It is important to first begin analyzing the past performance and results of digital marketing efforts and website traffic. Here, you’ll need to head to your analytics tool. First off, you’ll want to ensure that there are certain things set up in analytics to track your data accurately. Things such as filter and annotations will be extremely beneficial as you make business decisions. It is recommended that you put filters in place to not include traffic from certain IP addresses since internal and external traffic coming to the site could be skewing your data. For example, employees or internal marketing teams that visit the site frequently could be adding traffic count within analytics. To do this in Google Analytics, go to Admin > Filters > Click “Add Filter” and exclude your IP address: If you have multiple IP’s that you need to exclude, you can use this tool and follow this process outlined by Google. Before you add any filters, it is recommended that you set up a new view in Analytics to keep a master view with all of your data. In addition, there needs to be annotations marked to track major events like website changes, search engine algorithm updates, media buys, and anything else that may have impacted traffic both negatively or positively. In Google Analytics, setting up notations is easy: 1. Head to the Admin section of Google Analytics 2. Under the far right column ‘VIEW’ – All Website Data – select ‘ANNOTATIONS’ 3. You’ll be taken to the create annotations page, where you’ll select ‘+ NEW ANNOTATION’ 4. Create your annotation and select ‘Create Annotation’ 5. Your annotation now appears in your analytics reports! You may notice that you can add annotations from your channel view in the screenshot above. That works, too. Seeing annotations in your timeline is extremely valuable for knowing traffic patterns.
Building a Case for ProjectionsGoogle Keyword Trends Once you have an understanding of the past data trends, you can begin to formulate goals for the upcoming year. When analyzing potential traffic growth, you should take into consideration projected search volumes for SEO and PPC. A useful tool for understanding whether a keyword or sets of keywords are being searched on more is Google Trends. For example, using Google trends you can see how athleisure is trending from 2004 to now: Additionally, you can compare search terms, website types, and interest as recorded by Google since 2004. You’ll also see state-by-state breakdowns and related search terms. Look at keyword trends for your top 25-50 terms to see if they are growing, declining or staying the same year over year. This can be a good indication of how much potential growth you could see from SEO and PPC in the coming year.
Analyzing Current Keyword PerformanceOnce you know some of the keyword trends in your space, you should analyze where you currently rank for the keywords you are targeting. One tool that allows you to quickly gather data is SEMRush. SEMRush can give you a quick snapshot of where you currently stand along with the potential traffic you are missing out on. To do this, add your website into the tool and start the analysis. Once it has finished you will get a dashboard that looks something like this: The organic search section allows you to quickly see your organic position distribution: This is an extremely valuable chart for quickly understanding future growth. Take a look at the organic keyword distribution for outdoorvoices.com. They have 537 keywords ranking in position 11-20 (Page 2) in Google search results, which means they have huge potential to move onto page 1 and improve organic traffic. The amount of keywords ranking in position 1 – 30 totals is 1,766 terms. Now comes the fun part. By selecting the position distribution in the SEMRush graph you can quickly see a list of terms that fall into that bucket. For example, when I select the 4-10 bar chart the following report populates: You might notice that branded keywords are pulled into the report. You can filter the results more by excluding branded keywords to clean things up a bit. The result will give you better data to analyze. By filtering out branded terms you are able to export the new list and run some basic numbers. Exporting the list above you are left with 2,080 keywords ranking in position 4-10 of Google. When you add up the total search volume for all keywords you have a potential of 48,270 monthly searches. If Outdoor Voices were to drive even 1.5% of the total traffic volume to their site, they would drive 724 additional visits each month. Further, if they could convert 1.5% of the total traffic that would result in 10 more transactions a month. This is only for keywords ranking in position 4-10 of the search results. By following the same process for each group of keywords e.g.- keywords in positions 11-20, 21-30 etc. you could start to get an idea of how much potential traffic you could drive to the site month over month. Comparing that with analytics data and Google trends, you would start to get a picture of how much growth you could see YOY and now you have a data driven growth plan that could look something like this: *Numbers are not associated with Outdoor Voices.
Online Growth and The Competitive LandscapeWhen projecting online growth, it helps to look into what the competition is doing. SEMrush is a fantastic online tool to identify and assess the competitive landscape: SEMrush provides a plethora of competitor data around organic and paid keywords. It also gives you a more comprehensive viewpoint of where your business stands compared to top competitors. Once you analyze past results and future potential, you can start to figure out projections for future growth.
2.Number of Goals to SetWe can’t tell you an exact number your business should set. That depends on your specific objectives and overall digital marketing strategy. But, we can tell you that you should never have too many goals you’re working on at once. Too many goals are chaotic, confusing and increases your chances of not reaching any of your goals because you don’t know where to focus your efforts. The book, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” communicates the need in every business to focus on the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Businesses tend to focus on too many goals, because of the desire to impact everything at once. However, the key is to focus on less and work from lead measures of success. It helps to start by selecting 1 to 2 major goals each quarter that matter most to your eCommerce business as a whole and focus solely on fulfilling those. Then set 1-2 goals for each department each quarter. Here is how it is outlined in the book, ‘The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” once your 1-2 goals are set in place:
- Identify the top priority and determine how to measure how you are doing on them.
- Create lead measures that will have a direct impact on your goals. Revenue and profit are lag measures. Good lead measures qualify as predictive and influenced by team members.
- Establish a scoreboard to show you weekly about how you are doing. Helps your employees understand who is winning and who is losing, which creates a cadence of accountability.
3.What You Need to Attain Your GoalsOnce you have narrowed your focus to your Wildly Important Goals, you need to figure out the plan to achieve them! Here’s a process we use at Stryde:
Step 1: Develop an Action PlanDetermine the objectives for each of your goals, and then develop an action plan to achieve each goal. While your team develops a plan of action, ask yourselves the following questions:
- What are our start date and deadline?
- What does this goal entail?
- How are we going to accomplish it?
- What resources, i.e. people, money, and materials, do we need in achieving this goal?
- Who is responsible for completing each task?
- How do we measure the results? What key performance indicators (KPIs) will we use to track our progress?
- What is the competition doing to impact market share?
Step 2: Analyze Industry-Specific Digital LandscapeIt is important to analyze the digital landscape to know what is happening and how it could change over time. Things to look (and tools to look at them with) at include:
- Keyword Rankings/SEO
- Tool to use: SEMrush
- Social Following per Channel and Hashtag Monitoring
- Tool to use: Hootsuite
- Links to Site
- Tool to use: ahrefs
- Content Frequency & Types
- Tool to use: Google site:www.website.com
- Content Promotion & Distribution
- Tool to use: SimilarWeb
- Local Citations/Business Listings
- Email Strategy
- Just sign up for their emails!
- Paid Search Strategy
- Tool to use: SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner
- Paid Social Strategy
- Tools to use: AdEspresso