Digital marketing is fast claiming its place in the investment repertoire of more and more companies. Indeed, at its most effective, it is very profitable with clearly measurable benefits. However, one can’t escape the impression that some latecomers invest in it just out of fear, doing a little bit of everything just because their rivals are doing it. While it’s undeniably a good idea to keep your finger on the pulse of things, you should also understand why and how digital marketing is profitable to fully unlock its potential. While being self-explanatory to many companies, others still struggle completely grasping what the profitability of digital marketing is based on. Marketing is rarely successful with just blind luck: every campaign should be smartly planned with clear goals. These specific marketing objectives constitute a marketing plan and act in concordance with a greater marketing strategy.

“500 euros worth of digital marketing, please”

Many entrepreneurs and and businesses get discouraged by failed forays into the field of digital marketing. However, the main reason for failure is poorly defined marketing goals or even the total absence of them. Many a times a client is more concerned with the cost of online marketing rather than its results. This is understandable, if past failures have left them wary. Well-planned advertising is nonetheless successful. Any marketing campaign should be a well thought-out venture with clearly set goals and expectations, not just a useless expenditure. Don’t be content to just stab wildly in the dark and hope for the best — one of the greatest advantages of digital marketing is the easy measurability and verifiability of its results, which in turn enable constant evaluation and adaptive adjustment.

Focus on the things that count, be SMART

Every company obviously has its own objectives. Digital marketing is an instrument in your arsenal to reach the proper market niche. It is used in concordance with your marketing plan, where you’ve already set a budget and defined the most important objectives. You know how much to sell and how much you can pay for one additional client at a certain volume of business to ensure a desired level of activity. You’re probably aiming for at least a growth rate typical to your field, using effective digital marketing as to enhance your performance.

You can build a good basis for digital marketing with the help of SMART ​guidelines for project management. Whether your aim is to or promote brand recognition or lower customer acquisition costs, your marketing goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive.

  • Specific — do you have a specific area of improvement in mind?
  • M​easurable — what is the most informative metric to track success?
  • A​chievable — is the goal actually feasible?
  • R​elevant — does it make sense to pursue it?
  • T​ime-sensitive — what is the time-frame for reaching the goal?

Keep track of the right numbers

Start with the aspects most relevant to success and find out what you really need. Should you be primarily concerned with raising your rate of return, if the volume of your business is too low? Or, similarly, is generating more website traffic necessary, if you are only able to convert 0.1% of visitors into buying customers? On the other hand, a highly relevant objective could be acquiring a hundred new customers through search engine marketing a month, if you reach 20% of your customers through it and you need 500 new customers a month to reach your target growth rate. These objectives can also include conditionality: for example, the cost of customer acquisition can only rise to 7 euros and the goal must be reached within two months.

Setting such objectives might pose a challenge if you have no reference point for comparison. In this case, you’ll need a trial budget and realistic starting goals, like a positive rate of return after the first two months, for instance. Whatever your marketing goal, however, achieving it should produce tangible benefits and allow you to set even more specific objectives. The reasons for failure should always be known.


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