Thinking about your 2021 strategic plan? Instead of a website project to-do list, let’s think about business outcomes.
What are the issues that your business faces in 2021? Was the performance of your website one of the issues? What I’m here to do is to give you a little inspiration towards what should go into that strategic plan. And as part of this, I want to help you start to visualize your website goals.
Outcome-Based Business Goals
For the purpose of our discussion, an outcome or an outcome-based goal is something we can define. We can put a number to it.
Using that outcome, will help us plan how the website is going help with the goal and tie them back together.
I am sure you already have this goals defined in your strategic plans for 2021. An example would be we want revenue to increase by X amount. Or we want X number of new leads added each week or each month to our sales pipeline. An issue for your business may be growing your team. The number of job applicants is something that’s more important to you right now. Retention of current customers, or increasing repeat sales are more important. All these examples are what I call outcome-based goals.
Connecting Business Goals to Website
How do we tie those outcomes to the website? Here is a short formula that may give you some inspiration to get started.
Step 1 – Pick or define an Outcome-based Goal.
Step 2 – KPI or Key Performance Indicator (the number you are tracking). What measures progress towards the success of your goal.
Step 3 – Define an action that indicates progress towards your goal. What is the first step a customer will take to do business with you?
Step 4 – What is the online version of that action?
Step 5 – What website metric do we track to represent completion of the online action?
Step 6 – How do we track it? Where does the data come from?
Here is an example using the formula. This is an example of a manufacturing company producing parts for other suppliers.
Step 1 – Goal is to increase work orders for our production line by 10%.
Step 2 – KPI = Number of word orders logged in our production system.
Step 3 – First step – Request for Proposal
Step 4 – Online Form to Request for Proposal
Step 5 – Track the number of forms complete.
Step 6 – Collect the form completions each month. We could also setup goal tracking using Google Analytics. Code added to your website can generate a custom report.
Let’s try another example. This time I will be a non-profit that relies on fundraising.
Step 1 – Offer a new Virtual Event to increase funds raised.
Step 2 – KPI = Raise $25,000 from new event.
Step 3 – First step – Register for the event and pay event fee.
Step 4 – Online Registration form that can collect the registration fee. Also, give attendees the option for more donations when they complete the form.
Step 5 – Track the amount of money collected.
Step 6 – The online payment method we are using to process payments can give us a monthly report.
One more. Now I will show you an example that is a little more indirect. This example could be a consulting company or a service provider. A company that might use content marketing as a strategy.
Step 1 – Add one new new retainer client each month.
Step 2 – KPI = One new customer at our base plan rate added to billing report each month.
Step 3 – First step – Need a referral, a potential client to call.
Step 4 – Offer a free checklist to download. Use it to start people thinking about a problem that one of your services solves. Ask for their contact information in exchange for the download.
Step 5 – Track the number of downloads.
Step 6 – Add contact information collected to our CRM system that can track new retainers.
Tracking Goals and KPIs
There is no need to get fancy. Putting your numbers in a spreadsheet is fine. No fancy reporting tools required. The one thing I would add. Once you have your numbers in your spreadsheet, add a row for % change. You could do this month-to-month and also look at year-to-date. Percentages going up and down will be more user-friendly for team members.
Using the Goal Data to Improve Your Website
Using our formula above, you defined an action that shows goal completion. Your first step in this process is to make sure everything is setup on the website to track that action. Create the forms you need. Make sure the alerts are being sent and received when users complete the forms. If you want to use Google Analytics to track your goals, that will need to be setup too.
Then make sure you are all set to collect the data you need for measurement. Are you getting the emails you need? Do you have logins for everything? If you need data from other departments, like Sales data or access to the company CRM, do have that?
Is this the first time your are tracking closely the performance of your website? If so, honestly, you may want to only watch the numbers for a couple of months to see how well you are doing.
Once you see the numbers coming in and the website is not hitting the goals, that is your signal. This is where you begin to find our where your website needs improvement.
And that process is a whole article for another day.
Don’t knee-jerk react to problems. If you decide to make changes to the website, keep a journal logging when and what you changed. Some of the solutions may not be obvious, but you need to know if changes to the site have worked. Tracking when changes occurred can help you create a before and after picture.
What if the website data looks good? Any web projects needed?
Let’s take the opposite approach. What if you set these goals, start tracking and the numbers look good? Your website is doing exactly what it needs to do. Is there any thing that needs done on the website?
You could take this as an opportunity to move on to other business issues. Because the numbers give you confidence that your website is not the issue.
Another next step could be to pick another for the website. Try something new. A different approach to one of your business goals. Maybe taking a function online that has not been done before?
One last idea would be to pay attention to what you are doing right. If the site is hitting performance goals, think about ramping up. Raise the goal to more leads or more downloads. Look at what you are doing right on the website. How you are driving traffic to the website or responding to inquires that is hitting this goal. And do more of it.
Conclusion – Don’t take on too much.
If you are working on the performance of your website for one goal. Maybe its getting one lead every week off your website? That extra lead each week will move your business forward. It does not matter how much time and attention you give to that issue. The outcome is more business. The performance of your website improves for this goal. The performance of your business improves too. Start with one goal that can make a difference.
For more help on setting website goals, view our webinar archive, “Setting Website Goals: Skimp Out and Miss Out“.