Chapter 9:

Goals and objectives

Your website goals and objectives should tie in very closely to your overall business strategy not be separated from it. In terms of your site you need to set the primary goal. This should tie to why you're in business. Business objectives are the measure of success or failure and should be as business critical as any other form of operation. Write it down.

GOAL: The primary purpose of my website is to ...
OBJECTIVE: I want to do "Nn%" better than I was doing before.

Writing these two sentences down can help you come up with a formula to help you decide the primary goal and objective of your website. Just like the old saying where a battle won doesn't win the entire war, there is a great difference between those two.

If you only set a goal, you lose focus. If you only set up an objective, you don't have anywhere to go.
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If you only set a goal, you lose focus. If you only set up an objective (or many), you don't have anywhere to go. It is imperative to have both to be successful. Objectives are tasks within the larger whole and they should be constantly pushing you towards your goal. They should be something you can handle in days or weeks, while a goal is much more permanent.

It's also good and smart to set up reasonable objectives, something reachable.

Define what we want to see #

When setting up goals and objectives, it's very good to have an understanding on what is expected from people. We have recognised five different site prototypes that help mould your goals and objectives to fit your site. These also serve as a logical way to split the functionalities on your site.

A lot of modern sites, especially the large corporations have all or some of these prototypes at the same time. The best corporations have clearly separated them with clear calls to action for the end user.

Number 1: Business to business sites #

Goal Leads, prospects

Your strategic goal is to generate leads (visitors that become prospects via your website) that eventually lead to sales. Therefore your website's primary goal is to generate leads. Your business objective is simply a number. You may have been getting 10 leads a month in January, so (for instance) your business objective might be to get 20 leads a month by April.

Number 2: Business to consumer sites #

Goal eCommerce, sales

Your strategic goal is to increase the number of purchases your consumers are making (either on or offline). In typical e-commerce operations the goal can be directly measured by the purchases made through the shopping engine (or shopping cart). Again the business objective is simply a number. You may have been making €200K per month in January and your business objective is to improve this to €500K per month by the end of the year. You may also be selling offline only and wish to improve your branding with your customers (see branding website below). This also includes donations and other similar activities.

Number 3: Media sites #

Goal Advertising businesses, traffic driver

You want more visitors to click banners and advertising mediums in order to sell more advertising space. Your goal is to get more online visitors. Your objective is once again to improve the number. In January you may be getting 1M visitors a month. Your business objective might be to have that be 1.5M in 12 months time. The objective could also be tied directly to advertising revenue increases in relation to the extra visitor numbers (CPM - see metrics definitions).

Number 4: Customer service website #

Goal Support, self-service ratio, reduced unwanted call ratio

You want more customers to be satisfied by finding a successful answer to their question so that they will continue to consume products and services from you. Your strategic goal could be to improve your level of customer satisfaction and to reduce your customer acquisition costs. Your business objective might be to increase the number of returning customers by 10% by the end of the year, or to reduce call center costs by 20%. Online satisfaction could be measured by the number of successful queries served by the online presence.

Number 5: Branding website #

Goal Consumables

You want more customers to be engaged by your brand. Your strategic goal could be to increase the number of visitors that become "engaged" with your brand which you can define in a number of ways. The objective should again be a number such as 20% more engagement with the brand by the end of the year leading to "x" more consumer sales. This could be measured against offline sales lifts in certain areas (calibrated by website visits from certain areas).

There are plenty of sites that have a lot of these prototypes within them. But a lot of sites set the wrong goals or wrong combination of goals. We haven't seen a working example of that yet. These prototypes follow the user, they are expecting to do something when they arrive on a site and clear goals help them and you.

NPOs, NGOs and the Government have the same exact users as all business do. They should earn as much.
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We're often told that charity, non-profit or governmental websites cannot be measured because they have no revenue or that the revenue is fixed. For instance a government owned TV channel might take license fees every year such as the BBC in the UK or YLE in Finland and therefore eCommerce goals online become irrelevant - even unethical. That is just plain wrong.

A major goal of these kinds of websites is cost reduction and increased user engagement. You want to reduce costs so that more can be made of the fixed resources you have (the goal here is similar to a customer service website). So if doing something online is cheaper, getting more users to do it online make sense. In the case of non-profits they are usually simply a non-profit version of one of the 5 goals above. Donation websites should simply be treated as business to consumer websites. Once you start thinking of your website in this way then the objective is easy. I want X% cost reduction by engaging X% of my user base to do the activity online. Or I want X% donation increases in the next 6 months.

People don't change their behaviour just because they're in a website for a charity. If the standard e-commerce conversion rate is 2%, it's probably the same in your non-profit e-shop. People will spend even more if you do it right, because you have cuddly things and kids with band-aids on your site.

If you liked this chapter, please recommend it to others.

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About the authors

We have a single goal together, to make our customers a billion euros in profit. This won't happen in one year, it might take five years, but we will not stop until we have generated a billion of provable profit for our customers.

We love meeting and talking to new people! Get in touch with us. Come have a pint with us! We are available for projects, especially in warm places with great fishing opportunities and/or great beer.

Steve Jackson

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