A new year has begun, and its time to dust off those old resolutions and start anew. From weight-loss to swearing off Facebook (yeah, right), the truth of the matter is that the majority of people who endeavor upon their New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it past 6 months, with 25% dropping their goal after the first week. Ouch. Earlier today, our own Rachel Roberts posted about her Personal and Marketing Resolutions for 2014. In order to avoid the same pitfalls in your marketing strategy, it’s important to set realistic, measurable goals for marketing this year (she goes over this, calling them SMART goals). But how do you decide what goals to set? What are realistic goals for marketing? What’s impossible? By studying last year’s sales statistics, site traffic, pipeline and customer acquisitions, you can set appropriate growth goals in these areas that are specific and aggressive without setting yourself up for failure.
Break down last year’s stats.
Before setting goals for a new year, you have to take a look at what you accomplished in the previous year. Pull some site visit stats from 2013 and break them down into an average monthly traffic count. Break it down further by establishing the percentage of your traffic that came from different sources – social media, organic, referral and direct are just a few examples. This gives you an excellent understanding of how your website generates traffic and the resources that might work best for you. It also tells you where you have the most room for improvement. If organic traffic was lackluster and paid search was significantly more – a great place to start is to set a goal to become less reliant on pay per click traffic by increasing organic visits until they outnumber paid search visits.
Understand where your sales came from.
If you’re not lucky enough to have known about marketing automation and measurement tools in 2013, it can be difficult to determine the true original source of your prospects, leads and customers. Often, a lead can appear to be a phone-in lead that actually came from a google search for a specific topic. It’s important to understand the source of your leads because it provides room for growth and allows you to best determine where your most qualified leads are coming from. Knowing this can provide you with fuel to focus marketing campaigns and goals based around those statistics.
Be specific and map out your strategy.
Whether your goal is to get more web traffic, more leads or more customers in 2014, you need to be specific and address your goals with a guided plan. Placing percentage goals for traffic growth in different areas and providing a timetable by which to meet those goals is only half the battle. Understand the tactics that will help you achieve these goals with a little research. Blogging more, engaging in social media, exploring more effective conversion routes for Pay Per Click and implementing list segmentation in your e-mail marketing are just a few ideas that will help you meet your goals.
Growing through inbound can seem daunting to a newcomer, but the truth is – even goliath lead generators all started from scratch. Every website was a brand new site at one point, and a new year is a great opportunity to make a change in your approach. Assess your current efforts, take the time to establish the baselines and build your goals from there. By doing these things, you’ll be sure to find success with your own marketing resolutions in 2014.