goals

Goal Setting for Digital Marketing

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

As with personal goals, it’s never too late to start setting digital marketing goals. No need to wait until the New Year or fret if you don’t get them set by the end of January.

Yes, it’s never too late for setting digital marketing goals, though it can be too early. Let me explain; goal setting for digital marketing can benefit from some level of baseline knowledge. How would you know what to aim for if you have no idea what is realistic for your business?

Build a Baseline to Reference

If you’re new to measuring certain aspects of your digital marketing, consider taking 1-3 months to measure and record, developing a baseline from which to create your goals.

If you have been measuring for a period of time these numbers should be part of your goal setting decisions.

What Else to Consider

Well, that baseline number up there of course but also:

  • The platform averages for your industry. For example, comparing Average Reach on Twitter for a Logistics company and a Clothing Retailer may be like comparing apples to alligators.
  • Direct competitor performance.
  • Age and level of awareness of the business
  • Age of the business’ presence on a certain platform

Know what to measure

Each platform/channel/area of effort (whatever you want to call it) will have relative metrics to track but all of this should be feeding into a big picture marketing plan with big picture marketing goals. These are the details, these are the brush strokes that make up your masterpiece for the month/quarter/year/etc.

Let’s use two major social platforms as an example of what to measure:

On Facebook

  1. Engagement – How people are interacting with your content on Facebook
  2. Reach (but be aware that organic reach is tough to come by. Any significant Reach is likely to come from paid promotion, at least to get rolling and build awareness).
  3. Page Likes – Despite some reports, page Likes aren’t just a shallow metric to measure your popularity. Quality Page Likes help to amplify your Reach and increase the effectiveness of your Facebook Advertising.
  4. Negative Impact – Diving into the Page Likes section within your Facebook Insights shows you a Net Likes section. Here you can quickly see a count for Unlikes of your Page. Unlike aren’t uncommon, even for the most popular brands, but if you can correlate any large sections of Unlikes to recent posts, ads and/or frequencies listen to your audience and make adjustments. On the ads in particular, check out this article on reducing ads fatigue.

On Twitter

  1. Impressions – numbers of times users saw your tweet
  2. Engagement Rate – the number of engagements (clicks, retweets, favorites, follows, replies) divided by the total number of impressions. This data is more valuable month over month than say day-to-day.

Depending on your marketing and business development goals you’ll likely be looking to convert that social activity to leads and ultimately projects/sales. That’s where your website goals and data comes in.

Website Metrics to Track (Google Analytics):

  1. Sessions/Users – this is the number of visits to your site and the number of Users (or visitors) making up those visits.
  2. Referrals – where those Users are coming from and what they’re clicking on to get to your site. Tracking URLS for your social media sites can help better clarify those actions.
  3. Exit Pages – unlike Bounce rate which can vary based on page content and the desired outcome from your landing pages, Exit Pages allow you to take a closer look at when your visitors are leaving on their journey through your site. From here you can take educated actions that help carry the visitor closer to conversion.
  4. Conversion Rate – Just like it sounds, how your website is performing based on the number of visitors who reach the desired goal (conversion)
  5. Top 5 or 10 Pages – Look at these monthly to help connect the dots between new content and social media efforts with onsite traffic and behaviors.

Set “Stretch But Don’t Snap” Goals

In the end goals should be aggressive but obtainable – realistic but take some of your best effort to achieve. Seeing your team start to close in on goals can be great motivation. On the flip-side, seeing a gigantic gap between where you are and where you want to get, can lead to a serious case of throwing in the towel.

Tell us about your digital marketing goals or if you have a question fire away in the comments or on twitter. Grab more digital marketing insights here.

Photo credit: Jeff Turner

Child playing piano

Most Important Thing I Learned This Week

880 461 Shout Out Studio

Quite often you hear people say the common phrase, “I learned something new today.” With each of our team members unique in their own way, this is something you’ll quite often hear us say. But what’s great is that learning new things doesn’t just end with our team, but we find that through the process of working with our clients and partners we’re frequently learning something from them too. As the team reflects on this week, here are some of the most important things we’ve learned.

Marsh: “Sometimes you can help someone help themselves”

A few years ago we had a client who was really heading down the wrong path on some things. The client team we worked with knew it was the wrong path but that’s what they were told to do by their senior management. From our perspective, they were going to hurt their brand, plus waste money, time and effort ¬– and our immediate client representatives knew this – but they were going ahead because they were told to and their organization did not/does not embrace “Truth to Power.”

When I got some time with our primary contact I asked him about this. His assessment was, “You’re making a big mistake. Don’t try to help us help ourselves.” I responded that we didn’t know how to do that. We both laughed about it and moved on, but I’ve always carried that with me.

Don Quixote, Pollyanna, whatever, our goal is to guide, to coach, to transfer wisdom when we can, and most of all to help clients reach their goals. Yeah, I get that this sounds like so much blah, blah, blah. But today I saw a client who was willing to learn and grow to reach a significant goal, and we were able to help them do that.

So what’s the most important thing I learned this week? Never give up on doing the right thing. Never say yes because it’s easy. And always stick to your guns when you know in your heart you’re right. When you can help someone else reach their goals and learn from each other in the process it’s a beautiful thing.

Gretchen: “Use Your Words”

Driving from a client meeting the other day we passed a billboard stating “safe” then showing a car and the words (dot) com. Marsh asked what did I see? As if I were playing an old-school game of concentration, my response was “safecar.com.” Clearly I would’ve lost because the correct response was safeauto.com.

My lesson is relatively simple. You hear people say an image is worth a thousand words, well sometimes an image alone isn’t enough. Don’t rest on the fact that you can use a visual to convey your message. With the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram, we have certainly become a more visual society, but you might need to do more to tell the whole story. In the case of the billboard, they may not have been able to tell a story per se, but I’ve encountered instances were the same thinking has been applied to digital marketing. Don’t expect visuals to communicate what you mean and especially when the subject is complex. Give your message justice and use your words.

Colin: “Know when to just ask”

Being a recent college graduate I find myself running into situations where I don’t have the solution right away. This isn’t a bad thing, and can often lead to a good learning opportunity. And while being resourceful and putting in the time and effort to find the right answer is both beneficial and shows initiative, it can also be time-consuming. This week I learned that sometimes just asking someone for the answer can be the better route. Being efficient and effective trumps a learning opportunity in certain situations.

Even a problem as small as getting your email to work can create a timely search for the answer. I spent more time than necessary re-entering, searching for answers, and getting generally frustrated trying to get my email to allow me to send messages. Eventually, I gave in and took it to the geniuses at the Apple store. I walked out fifteen minutes later finally able to respond to the emails that I could have been responding to earlier had I just know when to ask for help.

Sonya: “Look back more often”

I reward myself for making healthy choices by buying $15 items on Amazon. This week it was the Retrobit Nintendo 64 game controller for Mac. Plugged it in, and started my first favorite game, The Legend of Zelda. The music, and even holding the controller, quickly transported me back to my parent’s house where I grew up. Somewhere in 1987, staying up late with my dad and beating the game for the first time.

Trends like on Twitter and Instagram have had me searching through old albums and photos looking for images to embarrass my sister with. It had been years since I’d gone through those photos. And it reminded me of the foundations I had growing up. I was blessed with a great family, and have great memories that have helped shape me. So often, with technology, and business, and marketing… we look to move forward. To not dwell on the past, but to leave it where it is. And while I think it’s important that we not be discouraged by past mistakes and regrets, there is still value in our memories. Looking back can be a reminder of why we are the way we are. It can help us determine, the things we are good at, and what we can get better at. And maybe most importantly, it can allow you to recognize the people who helped get you where you are and to thank them for just that.

 Luke Pierce: “Unwritten Goals Mean Nothing”

We are finishing up a big contest project this week for a client and everyone involved couldn’t be happier with how it went. But I can’t seem to shake this dubious feeling I have. Let me explain.

At the beginning of the project we talked internally about what we thought we be successful for the project, we even quantified it with the team that was working on it. Then during the initial meetings with the client, we asked, as we always do, “what will define a win on this project?” We got an answer and great direction to take the project in. However, we never actually put metrics around our goals and we definitely never wrote them down.

We reported metrics every week to the client and were totally transparent about all happenings in the project. We knew we were on track the whole time to hit the goals we had talked about in the beginning, but now that the project is over, it doesn’t feel real. They were false goals because we never accurately communicated with everyone involved about what they were, and we never wrote them down.

This week I learned to make sure everyone involved in a project can be confident in the project’s outcome, one must accurately define and communicate goals, quantify them, and WRITE THEM DOWN!

 Shannon Blair: “Always back up your computer”

Here’s the thing… even all the way back in middle school my teachers were telling me to save my Word doc. in case something happens. I always took it kind of lightly and just thought people were a tiny bit obsessive. When I came to Shout Out my team mentioned backing up our computers and my thought was, “but everything I use is online?” Well folks, then the Coffee Incident of 2014 happened to me. Starting my day off right, with blog reading and a hot cup of coffee, I set my coffee down on the corner of a stack of papers and it took a tumble right into my keyboard. Now, I sit mortified at how stupid the decision had been to never back up my computer because let me tell you, I had documents on that bad boy I hadn’t thought about in over a year that now I miss dearly.

Nathaniel Seevers: “Sometimes the problem is the solution.”

My contribution to this post is a few days late. While not ideal it has been a reminder of something important; sometimes the problem is the solution. When I sat down to write my part for the post, on-time with the best intentions, I blanked. It wasn’t that I didn’t learn anything over the course of the past week. We’re all constantly learning every single day. It was that when I tried to rehash the lessons I’d recently gathered I came away with a paragraph of forced, uninteresting, borderline trite…. whatever. I questioned how it was useful to our readers and so, I stopped. I trashed what I had down and I politely bowed out.

As I read back through the contributions from my team I realized not contributing is what I had learned. Sometimes you have to not do anything to move ahead. You can be too close to what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes the problem is the solution the whole time.

Photo Credit: Jackson Latka

building blocks

Building Our Business: What We’d Do Differently

880 461 Shout Out Studio

When we started this business roughly two years ago we were faced with the challenges that many entrepreneurs and small businesses are faced with…how to build a brand, assemble a team, and form the right client relationships. Now that we’ve been on that journey for a little while we’re able to look back at building our business. While we can’t go back and change the past, we can reflect on what we might do differently.

Luke Pierce

Although it may seem trivial, the one thing that I would do differently is to simply write down our goals, and do it often beginning on day one. Sometimes our creative ADD can really get us going in directions we previously had never dreamed of, which can be fantastic but it can also be a distraction. Sometimes I feel we lose site of what our real goals are and what we are doing in the meantime to get there.

It’s one thing to talk about your goals and ambitions, but to me, it’s an entirely different thing to write them down. If we had written our goals down from day one we could look back on them now and tell the entire story of the company. If we could tell that our goals on day one are matching up with our goals on day eight hundred and nighty seven, we are probably doing something right and if they don’t we can reflect on what changed in us and determine our new direction or how to get back to the old one.

Gretchen Ardizzone

When we first discussed this question, I thought to myself, “Why would we want to do anything differently?” Look at where we are today. But our relationships with our clients goes beyond just being a team of digital marketers, we work side-by-side to understand the constraints and challenges that prevents them from being successful at what they do best. Looking at what we’d do differently helps provide perspective and uniquely relate to our clients who are also trying to grow their business.

If there were one thing that I say could’ve been done differently was to make more time for ourselves. That may seem strange to hear, but I think along the way we’ve determined that we need to make time to focus on our own company and individual goals. We’re finding that happy balance now and I think being a stronger team and continuing to build our own individual skills only brings more benefit to our clients. We now have team members being certified in certain areas of digital marketing and others who are taking on leading their own initiatives. So my takeaway for others is to not just focus on being better marketers, but to focus on being a better team and continue to grow your individual roles.

Shannon Blair

I started working for Shout Out when the company started, only I began as an intern. Essentially, I grew with the business. When asked what I would want to change if we did it all over again, instantly I think “nothing!” The reason I think nothing is because I’ve watched our company go from an idea to a work in progress. Sure, that doesn’t sound rewarding, but it is because every business is a work in progress. If we are at that stage, I think we are doing really well.

However, under the question asked I cant help but think what would I have done differently as an individual. The answer that comes to my mind is to have been more goal-oriented. I recently discovered my love for tools (such as CoSchedule and HootSuite) that help me achieve these goals. There’s a possibility if I had found that love earlier I could’ve been a bigger asset to the company from the beginning. However, I have learned a ton working with this company and other than changing how I could’ve contributed in a different light, there isn’t much I would change because I’m proud of the company Shout Out has turned into.

Nathaniel Seevers

Call it foolish or naive but the thing is, I’m not sure I’d do anything differently if we were to start it all over. I say that for a couple reasons.  First, because we started with a great mix of people who brought a range of skill sets and skill levels to the table. Were we missing a skill or two for a running start? Possibly. Instead we focused on the will do more than the can do and outside of a handful of positions like, I don’t know, surgeon or rocket scientist or bar tender, I would do that every time. The other reason I feel this way is because we’ve learned so much on this path, some easy and some tough lessons, that will make us better over the long haul.

Photo Credit: nettsu

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