How to set your digital marketing objectives for 2021

Without clear digital marketing objectives, you’re basically directionless – and working to achieve vanity metrics that don’t necessarily help you achieve your overall business objectives.

Digital marketing objectives underpin all marketing strategy. After all, how do you know what you’re working towards without clear, actionable and achievable metrics? Setting digital marketing objectives should always be the priority as they will be the basis of your entire strategy.

By achieving your digital marketing goals, you’re also helping reach your overall business objectives, whether that’s boosting your overall sales or improving awareness of your brand.

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Set digital marketing goals and objectives

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Setting digital marketing objectives is, on one hand, a great way to motivate yourself and your team and work towards achieving better results for your business.

On the other hand, goal setting is much more than just saying “I want to achieve that and that” – it’s how you can develop a plan or strategy that will help support your goals and help you reach them.

But how do you set goals the right way?

In this blog post, discover how to set your digital marketing objectives for 2021, in order to maximize your results and grow your business.

Why you need set digital marketing objectives

Without clear goals, you’re basically directionless – and working to achieve vanity metrics that don’t necessarily help you achieve your overall business objectives.

For example, without social media objectives, you’re basically working to get more likes and engagement – but does that necessarily translate to success?

On the other hand, if your goal was to convert more followers – arguably one of the most popular objectives – then you won’t focus on creating content that gets you likes and comments.

Instead, you’ll test social selling strategies, work to drive more social media traffic to your website and landing pages and try to get more of your followers to sign up to your list.

In short, objectives give you a clear direction; and what’s more, they tell you how to develop your strategy in order to achieve these goals.

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The basics of setting objectives: how to set SMART goals

When it comes to setting objectives, there are various criteria you can use. However, when it comes to digital marketing objectives, SMART goals work best because they cover every important aspect of a proper objective:

  • Specific: There are two ways to interpret this and both are very useful. For one thing, you need to be specific with your goals and ensure that it’s a very clear objective; and for another, you also need to be very specific about what this goal means and what it encompasses.
  • Measurable: In other words, what KPIs will help you understand whether you’ve reached your goals or not. This is very important as you want to be able to understand whether your efforts actually paid off and how they translate to revenue. Also, it’s worth noting that with some digital marketing strategies, it can be difficult to quantify your results and understand how they translate into revenue (particularly with social media marketing).
  • Achievable: When setting goals, it’s a great idea to aim high – but not so high that they’re unrealistic. When you’re setting your digital marketing objectives, ask yourself whether they can actually be achieved or whether you’re simply setting yourself up for failure.
  • Relevant: Or, how do your digital marketing goals help you reach your business goals? As I mentioned earlier, this is very important because, at the end of the day, you’re developing all of these marketing strategies to help grow your business. In fact, you should start with your business objectives first and think of what digital marketing objectives will help you reach for the former.
  • Time-bound: Giving your objectives a clear deadline tells you when you need to measure your results and benchmark these results against past (and future) campaigns. This is another highly important practice as it helps you understand how to optimize your future strategies – and objectives – in order to achieve better results with each new campaign.

In short:

What are smart goals?

The reasons why SMART goals work so well with digital marketing objectives are that:

  • They give you a clear direction
  • They ensure that your goals are relevant to your business objectives
  • They put great importance on measuring your results, which is very important in digital marketing

Every time you set new digital marketing objectives, make sure you also go through this list of goal-setting criteria – it will ultimately help you set better, more achievable goals.

What kinds of digital marketing objectives can you set?

Now that we’ve gone over the theoretical side of setting goals, what do digital marketing goals actually look like in practice?

There is a plethora of goals you can set up, but here are some of the most popular:

  • Generate more leads: Generating leads is one of the top priorities for businesses and marketers.
  • Improve your conversion rate: Another popular digital marketing objective is to convert more readers/viewers/followers into customers.
  • Increase your sales: Which is, after all, the ultimate goal for many different businesses.
  • Increase traffic: For example, organic traffic, traffic from social media and so on

These are some of the most popular digital marketing objectives – but depending on what channels and strategies you use, your goals could be something completely different.

But, when you set your digital marketing objectives though, it’s not just about saying “I want more sales” – you have to be a lot more specific than that: how much do you want your sales to increase? Which channels will help you? What is your deadline?

That’s why the SMART goal-setting template is so good: it asks all the important questions that you need to ask about your objectives.

How to use your digital marketing objectives to develop your digital strategies

Marketing calendar for digital strategy

Whenever you put together a new marketing strategy or even when you use a digital marketing tactic, your overall digital marketing objectives should always be at the back of your mind.

In fact, your strategies should essentially be action plans for your objectives – the tactics and strategies you need to leverage in order to ultimately achieve each goal.

When you create a digital marketing strategy, always start with your goals.

And once you have clear, specific goals, think of what tactics you can use to help you achieve your goals.

For example, let’s say you wanted to increase your organic traffic by 15% in 60 days.

In that case, you’d use tactics like:

  • Research keywords and create content for keywords you want to rank
  • Update and optimize your content to help boost your rankings
  • Start a link building campaign to generate more backlinks

And any other tactics that can actually help you achieve your goal.


As you can see, setting digital marketing goals is imperative to your success online. Without goals, you’re essentially throwing stuff at the wall and hoping that something will stick – but in such a competitive landscape, using this method is not likely to get you far.

On the other hand, when you have clear goals for yourself, you’re motivating yourself and giving yourself and the entire marketing team a clear direction that they need to follow and action plan – or strategy – that fully supports that.

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