How to set digital marketing goals and a budget that make your boss happy

Posted by Lisa Smith on Feb 28, 2019 9:13:00 AM



Business marketing is always in a state of change. As you track different metrics, observe developing trends, and calculate sales and return on investment, you continually massage your process so it is operating at optimum efficiency. This diligence also reveals holes to be filled and can remind marketers not to forget all the latest technological innovations that may warrant consideration.


Keeping up with your marketing efforts can be exhausting, but when it’s time to talk goals and budgets with your boss, you’ll want to be on your toes. Here are three simple steps you can take to assess digital marketing goals and set a budget that will make your boss smile.


Step 1. Look back.

Before you can look forward, you have to look back at the past year’s performance to determine realistic possibilities. Review all your monthly/quarterly reports and create a list of goals based on what worked and what could have done better. To really simplify the process,  HubSpot recommends three segments to focus on when assessing strengths and weaknesses and determining goals:


Website visits – If your website is new or if your conversion rates for visits to leads and leads to customers is good, but overall website traffic needs to increase, consider this a goal.


Contacts – Conversely, if you are getting tons of traffic to your website but have few leads and even fewer sales to show for it, this should be added to your goals list.


Customers – Similarly, if you are getting plenty of website traffic to your content and visitors are converting on forms, but your leads aren't readily becoming customers, this is a good candidate for a goal.


And don’t forget to check the success of last year’s goals. If you are establishing a successful track record with past goals, all the better. If some of your past goals have not been achieved, determine what went wrong and what you will do to correct the problems. At the same time, consider how much of last year’s budget was spent effectively, what amount was wasted or not well spent, and what new goals could better utilize those dollars.


Step 2. Get SMART.

Once you have a list of potential goals, begin the process by aligning with the SMART goal-setting framework. HubSpot defines SMART as:


“Specific — Your goal should be unambiguous and communicate what is expected, why it is important, who's involved, where it is going to happen, and which constraints are in place.

Measurable — Your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal.

Attainable — Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach.

Relevant — Your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative.

Timely — You should have an expected date that you will reach the goal.”


As you assess goals, keep in mind costs associated with each. What resources do you already have to help you reach the goals, and what new resources will you require to be successful. Be sure to look at each goal with an open mind so you can assess different cost-saving options that may work.


For example, if you need to attract more website visitors, one great way to do that is with content offerings that not only provide a free service to potential clients, but also help to establish your company as an industry authority. If your staff is able to do the writing, a new offering can be a fast and effective way of building traffic. If your staff is not able to produce appropriate written materials, you can hire a staff writer to produce valuable content full- or part-time, or you could work with a marketing agency with a track record of providing outstanding content on a predetermined schedule. Unless you need a lot of new content, it’s likely your boss will be much more amenable to budgeting for a specific amount of writing, rather than bringing on a new staffer. Moreover, showing your boss that you considered the costs objectively with savings in mind, confirms that you realize every marketing dollar must be spent wisely.


Step 3. Check what’s on the horizon.

As noted above, marketing is always changing thanks to new ideas, new trends, new generations growing up, and new technologies. That last one, new technologies, is one of the most difficult to keep up with and can also be pretty costly. Not surprisingly, many at the top may prefer the “wait-and-see” posture rather than being “early adopters” when considering buying into expensive new technologies, even when they’re no longer considered new. So, when you feel it is time to adopt a new (or not so new) technology, you will want to present it to your boss as a well-researched, must-have addition to your marketing arsenal.


Take marketing automation for example; It’s here to stay and you know the time has come to get your company onboard. But the first thing your boss is likely to say when you introduce the concept is, “Why should we?” How you answer that question will have enormous positive impact on the budget decision making process, if you do it well. A good place to get the facts you’ll need to support your argument is HubSpot’s, “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2018.”  You can also read up on the subject so you are ready to not only present the case but answer the questions. HubSpot’s marketing automation resources are a great place to learn what you need to know. The more you know, the more likely you will succeed in getting the budget you need and keeping your boss happy!


Topics: inbound marketing, marketing budget, marketing goals