Let’s take a look at a retail website, the sole purpose of which is to drive revenue. As the marketer for said website, sometimes your stakeholders will come to you with this vague request: “The traffic to our website is down, fix it.” The assumption that has been made is that the increase in traffic will drive an increase in revenue. We are already caught in a dilemma that is buried in a haze of assumptions. This is an example of a poorly thought out goal and the inability to create a metric for measuring success. Do your stakeholders really want more traffic, or is the real end goal to drive additional revenue? You can help your team to focus on the areas of improvement for the website that will create additional value to your bottom line.

In our example, the key is to educate your stakeholders and help them to understand why an increase in traffic isn’t the goal they want to pursue. This discussion will be futile unless you come to the meeting with some solid data analytics that backup your point. The source of your data should came from your own historical data from the existing website. This will make the analysis all the more relevant and convincing.

That little bit of homework will serve to create an opportunity for a conversation about setting smart goals rather than ones that are vague and illusive. As I discussed in my last post, there are five key characteristics to establishing S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and actionable metrics to provide evidence that we are achieving those goals.

  • Specific Goal Aligned to Corporate Objectives: Set specific goals instead of setting a vague and hazy goal of increase traffic; be very specific. It’s okay if you miss your goal, so long as you learn from it and improve on your actions to reach future goals.
  • Measureable: By setting a specific goal, you are giving yourself something to reach for and measure against. Ensure that you have proper analytics tracking in place to measure the results of any tactics you employ to reach your goal.
  • Attainable: Does the website historical and predictive data support a revenue increase of this magnitude? Data analysis will provide insight into the risk and potential.
  • Relevant: Ensure that the goal you have set is relevant to corporate objectives. In our example, increasing traffic will not necessarily increase the revenue for the website. Is an increase in traffic or an increase in revenue the most pressing corporate goal to address? A review of corporate goals and objectives is in order before you charge off on the revenue increasing campaign.
  • Timely: Is there a timeline in place for your actions to achieve this goal? Does the current economic outlook and product demand make the revenue number achievable in the time expected?
  • Evaluate: How long do we let the campaign run before we analyze the data? Each company has different timelines to collect statistically significant data. Ensure that you are not providing analysis based on an insignificant data set.
  • Reevaluate: How frequently do we reanalyze the data for trends, and what are the set points and options for when to terminate the campaign or choose a different strategy?

The guiding question here is, “If a website is created to generate revenue, is the goal and path to success always to maximize traffic to that website?” That answer is elusive and unfocused. Focusing entirely on driving traffic to the website distracts you from the primary goal of increasing revenue.

The ability to attain goals is another key concept in being smart about what you do. In my next post, we will discuss the idea of establishing attainability from the smart goals we’ve just set. The answer lies in an effective and continuously monitored process that is both agile and adaptable because what you thought was true today, will change tomorrow. I guarantee it. That data you collect and the insights from that data will guide you down the right path so long as you have confidence in what you measure and have discipline in following those insights to success.