When you’re in the discovery and consultation part of the customer relationship, you’ll be told their goals and think of a few yourself. Below are the most common goals that I’ve come across with my customers and how I’ve dealt with them. From broad ‘make it more modern’ design based objectives to ‘I need you to generate $100 000 for me’ goals.
Generate more sales of our book. So far we have had 3 sales online and 100 sales via bookstores and to friends.
The kind of goal is great because frankly, it’s easy to asses whether you can affect it and they have numbers. Even if they’re low numbers, you need a starting block.
Update the website to a more modern and contemporary design and feel.
This is the most common goal, but VERY tough (if not impossible) to define. Another way to reword this goal so that it works in your favour is “we want our website to fit in among other websites such as [then list the websites that they like the look of]”.
These kinds of mood boards are very useful for defining the cool, modern, minimal, clean etc etc. design styles that your customers want.
Having said all that, because design is so subjective and YOU are the expert, getting numerical and metric based goals is MORE important because then you can explain that ‘massive parallax based sliders’ won’t increase your subscriber list. You can use metrics and numerical goals to battle for or against certain design choices.
Our old website isn’t supported or maintained anymore, we need a new website with easy to update content.
Really easy goal this one IF you can set out clear expectations on both halves. Are you expected to write content? Or just upload it? Or just give them training on how they can do it.
Set KPI’s (key performance indicators) that are achievable and fair for you, depending on the budget they have. KPI’s might sound corporate, and you can call them something else if you want. All KPI’s are, are measurable numbers or goals that you can repeatedly achieve. For example, a request for support has to be at least answered in under 24 hours.
If they’ve only got £100 a month, maybe they’re only able to get hosting, security, backups and restoring. For £5000 a month, they get paid traffic, consultation, training and SEO work.
Increase the traffic and visitors to the website.
First – get numbers. Get where they are now (how much traffic they get now) and where they need to be. Conversion rates are important here, as is the QUALITY of the traffic. For example, I know that PPC from Google, to a landing page equals roughly 5% turning into an email subscriber via a squeeze page, I might get a lot of traffic, but I’ll have to pay for it. On the other hand, organic traffic from social media posts typically results in higher conversion rates, but the amount of traffic is lower.
More traffic doesn’t guarantee an increase in sales. What customers are usually asking for here is more visitors to the site who want to buy. So you need to have a targeted traffic strategy depending on what they want.
10-15% increase in sales in the next 12 months
This is my favourite type of goal. It’s a specific number, it has a time scale, its achievable, measurable and relevant (smart). It talks about a current result they’re getting and that they want to increase it. You can work backwards from the current number of sales and see leads, enquiries, traffic and subscribers. That gives you the basic conversion rates that they’re currently working with.
30 new memberships and/or new donors annually
Another specific and numbers based goal. However, this could either be a current
product/membership or launching a new membership. There are 2 camps that this falls into.
- Currently they have 300 members, so a 10% increase isn’t that unreasonable.
- They have NO members or very few, so 30 new members is 100% increase in sales
Launching or growing sales more than 30% is expensive, but not at all impossible. You just need to be aware of that when you give a quote.
5% increase in facilities rentals
Another point to understand is “where are we driving sales from?” For example, if we’re given a sales goal, are we expected to drive those sales from organic traffic, email subscribers, current customers or leads? It’s an important question because you need to know how realistic the goal is.
For example, a 5% increase in facilities rentals could translate into 5 new facilities rented out per week. If our current customer database is 200 individual people, that’s only 5/200 current customers. An email campaign could probably fix that.
On the other hand, if a 5% increase means 5 more rentals a week but we’ve got no new traffic or a lead database – you might be up a creek. So to say.
I once had a lady fill out all 5 goal fields with ‘increase sales’. Although I applaud her tenacity and focus, it wasn’t really much of a goal. If I got her one new sale, that could be seen as an increase in sales.
SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound) are important for a reason. Does she want 100 new sales a day? More revenue from each customer? Specificity is key to goals that are important to the revenue and growth of the business.
Generate enough web traffic & uploads to generate healthy marketplace offerings
This particular business had a really interesting model that forced me to think a little creatively. The idea was a community marketplace that allowed members to upload information products and sell them to a wide market. Because it was a startup, they needed both traffic AND customers.
It was an entirely web based business, so we had to split out the goal into 3 distinct objectives.
- Increase the amount of traffic to the website and make the new/repeat visitor ration 50:50
- Make the ability to upload, sell and buy community products as easy as possible. An upload should take no longer than 5 minutes and a sale should be complete in 30 seconds
- Increase the number of traffic converting into leads and leads into sale with offerings, newsletters and lead magnets. Generate a subscriber database of 1000 people
Now our goals gave us a distinct conversion rate. We KNEW that we wanted to generate a database of 1000 people. Of those, a certain amount would sell and a certain amount would buy. We now just needed to think of conversion rates for traffic to subscriber and subscriber into sale.
Generate $100,000 in revenue by May 1st 2016
This was potentially my favourite goal of all time. By this time, I had been doing marketing and digital marketing for a while so I liked the idea of a goal like this. Often, your customer or you will create a fiscal based goal like this. You need to work backwards and see what resources they’ve got, where they are now and what previous growth has looked like. $100 000 in 12 months could be very easy for a business that generates $1million a year. A typical rule of thumb is any growth requires at least 10% of the previous years revenue to spend on marketing and promotion.
Expand our audience base significantly
Often, customers use words like ‘audience’ or ‘branding’ and they’re not really sure what they mean. Or they do know, but they’re unable to quantify how to achieve that. You can take two tactics to deal with this. First and easiest is to get the customer to agree and understand on a metric, number based result for what that goal looks like. For example. do they just want more variety in their user demographics? You could measure this with Google analytics.
On the other hand, you could ask them “what does this goal look like, if we’ve achieved it?”. I.e. In 12 months time, if we’ve achieved this goal, what can you say is different about your business?
Generate sales from our brands products
Another fairly generic goal that people often use, occasionally with the word ‘brand’ or ‘message’ thrown in for good measure. They mean well, but it can make goals a little murky.
Having said that, maybe they’re a reseller and they’re moving into their own products. It does raise the question that you need to sometime specify WHICH product they want an increase in sales.
Penetrate millennials market
Penetrate? Ok – jokes aside, often customers feel that a new website might bring new customer demographics. I’m not going to go into who uses websites now or whatever. But if your customer wants to look at new markets, it’s typically an expensive investment, but it can pay off.
If that’s the goal, how do you measure that (Google analytics demographics?), and how do you measure the success of that goal? Ask how they see that new market approach working out. Is it with new content or a different website? Are the products different?
Increase store revenue by 5% or 10%
Often we’ve had customers give a goal that requires virtual traffic to turn into real traffic. Questions like these need you to ask “why?” This is because their goal might not seem immediately obvious to you. Why would they want a website to drive customers to a real location?
So start asking ‘why?’ Get used to it sounding obvious and even awkward, but asking why is very important. One of two things will happen. First, you’ll discover that they have a great reason to request a goal like that. Second, you’ll understand that there is a deeper reason to the goal.
In one particular case, a customer wanted more people to come into their shop to drop off and collect technology repairs (phones, PlayStations etc). After asking why a few times, we discovered that they hadn’t thought of a delivery option, so now customers sign up, send and receive their repaired item
Be seen as a full-service agency, generate more leads
Broad goals like this might fall out of the remit of a website. But often you’ll find that you’re lumped in with marketing and branding experts. Which is ok, because as long as you charge more, there’s nothing to worry about doing extra work.
However, you need to make sure that you still set specific objectives for a goal like this. Are they looking to expand into new markets, or maybe they already do a wide range of services and they need to generate more leads for those services?
Are these too boring or obvious? Have you ever seen any of these goals or have you seen other more common goals pop up? Let me know in the comments below.