SMART Goals for Online Business and Digital Marketing

Allan Caeg Set Goals

Curious about the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework? Let’s apply this to digital marketing.

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Let’s talk about Martin and Sally. Martin is the marketer, while Sally is a salesperson. Who’s work is easier to measure? Sally’s, of course. You can measure how much sales she makes on a weekly basis. Success is easily attributed to her. If a deal is closed without her presence, you also know that the success isn’t based on her sales efforts.

In Martin’s case, his job concerns the bigger picture. It’s harder to connect what he did on Tuesday to a successful deal on Thursday.

It is indeed tougher to measure marketing, but you can’t skip it. All online businesses have to focus on marketing before sales. The marketing process is not an overnight thing. It usually takes a longer before it actually converts to sales.

Imagine a world where marketing isn’t as blind. Imagine if you have somehow come up with a strategy that you know is building up to clear profit.

SMART marketing goals are what business owners use to drift away from fuzzy and foggy goal setting to actual, actionable and obtainable plan for results.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Realistic
T – Time-bound


You know the metric. You know what needle to look at. Having three people assess the success won’t lead to three different interpretations.

If we’re talking about web traffic as the metric, you know where to look. If we’re talking about email sign ups for a specific offer, you know what’s unrelated.


Using concrete numbers and figures will keep you on track. Think of it like the game of basketball. You have a scoreboard with actual numbers for you to track if you are close to winning or not.

If you don’t have a means to quantify it, it’s not a good metric. If we just look at “customer joyfullness,” that’s pretty difficult. If we say we’re going to use Net Promoter Score, then we have a real measure.


If you don’t know what to do with it, it’s not a good thing to measure. I have these fancy heat map tools. Sometimes, I use them in the wrong places.

I open the heat map and see the numbers, then what? In many cases, they don’t lead to a specific to-do action. That’s not a smart metric.


Google recommends hitting 70% of your goals. It’s a balance between shooting for something agressive and staying within the realm of reality.

You want to double your revenue in a week? Everyone does, but it’s far too unrealistic for most people. Failing too hard and too often is demotivating. You want to stay close to reality.


Pick a realistic time frame for achieving your goal. Whether your goal is to get 10 more customers per month or 5% more sales, it is always best that you have a workable time frame for all that.

Doubling your revenue in 4 months is very different from doubling it in 4 years.

Let’s break it down.

Let’s look at this example: “Get 1,000 unique visitors per month, by next month”

  • “Unique visitors” is a specific measure. It doesn’t allow for confusion
  • “1,000 visitors” can be measured. You know it if it’s below 1,000
  • To achieve the target visitors, it’s possible for you to plan a marketing strategy that can move that needle up. You can create projects around building content and promoting them
  • The website owner who is currently getting 500 unique visitors per month can realistically get to 1,000 next month
  • There’s a known deadline: next month

Over to You

Whether you’re using KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), OKRs (Objectives & Key Results), or whatever method; it helps to get SMART.

Look at your current Internet marketing goal. Test it for each SMART criteria.