Specifying Objectives for Your Web Site

What can convince you that your site is successful? After you establish goals, you need to specify the criteria that satisfy them. That means establishing measurable objectives. First, enter your calculations from Chapter 1 for break-even point, return on investment (ROI ), and budget onto the Financial Profile section of the Web Planning Form in Download Section. Your budget and ROI expectations might constrain how much you can spend on marketing and, therefore, on how much traffic your site will receive. Take this into consideration as you specify numerical targets for your objectives and the dates you expect to accomplish them. There’s no point in setting unrealistic objectives that doom your site to failure before you start.

Table 2-1 suggests some possible measurements for different Web site goals, but you have to determine the actual quantities and time frames for achievement. Define other objectives as appropriate. Enter the numbers and time frames for the criteria you’ll use on the Sample Objectives section of the Web Site Planning Form. These numbers are specific to each business.

Table 2-1Site Goals and Objectives

Site Goal

Possible Objectives to Measure

Managing customerNumber of phone calls and e-mails, amount of traffic to service
BrandingOnsite traffic, time onsite, activities performed, coupons downloaded, gross revenues
Generating qualified leadsNumber of phone calls and e-mails, conversion rate of visits to leads, conversion rate of leads to sales as compared to other lead sources, traffic to various pages, number of e-mail addresses acquired, cost of customer acquisition
Generating online salesConversion rate of buyers to visitors, sales revenue, average dollar value of sale, number of repeat buyers, profit from online sales, cost of customer acquisition, promo code use, sales closed offline that are generated from Web, if possible (that is, enter phone orders into the system)
Generating ad revenueAd revenue, click-through rate, page views per ad, traffic to various pages, visitor demographics
Measuring internal goalsConversion rates for various actions, site traffic, other measurements (depending on specific goals)
Transforming the businessSite revenues, costs, profit, time savings, costs savings, other measurements (depending on specific goals)

If you don’t have objectives, you won’t know when you’ve reached or exceeded them. Setting objectives ahead of time also ensures that you establish a method for measurement.

For instance, you can obtain site traffic numbers from your Web statistics, but you can’t count leads that come in over the phone that way. Your receptionist must ask how a caller heard about you and tally results. Or you can display a separate number, e-mail address, person, or extension for Web visitors to use, just as you would establish a separate department number for a direct mail campaign.

Try to track data for a 13 month period so you can compare same date results. Almost all businesses experience some cyclical variation tied to the calendar.

Planning to Fit Your Business Goals

Before you state the goals for your Web site, you must be clear about the goals for your business. Your answers to a few basic questions establish the marketing framework for your site. Answer the questions in the Business Profile section of the Web Site Planning Form in Downloads Section. These questions apply equally to businesses of any size and to not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, and governments.

Here are a few examples of business profile questions:

  • Are you a new company or an existing one with an established customer/client base?
  • Do you have an existing brick-and-mortar store or office?
  • Do you have an existing Web site and Web presence?
  • Do you sell goods or services?
  • Do you market to individuals (which is called B2Cfor business-to-consumer) or to other businesses (which is called B2Bfor business-to-business)?
  • Who are your customers or clients (generally referred to as your target markets)?
  • Do you sell — or want to sell — locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally?

Answer the other questions of the Business Profile section of the form to get an overall idea of what your business looks like.


Your Web site is the tail, and your business is the dog. Let business needs drive your Web plans, not the other way around.

Preparing an Online Business Plan

If you’re starting a new business of any type, you need to write a business plan. If you’re adding online sales to an existing operation, dust off and update your current business plan as well. Opening an online store is like opening a new storefront in another city; it requires just as much planning. Even if you’re only launching or revamping a Web site, I suggest writing a shortened version of the business plan outlined in the following list.

Most business plans include some variation of the following sections:

  • Summary
  • Description of Business (type of business and goals)
  • Description of Product or Service
  • Competition (online and offline)
  • Marketing (target market, need, objectives, methods, promotion)
  • Sales Plan (pricing, distribution channels, order fulfillment)
  • Operations (facilities, staffing, inventory)
  • Management (key players and board)
  • Financial Data (financing, financial projections, legal issues)

The SBA (Small Business Administration) site includes free online business advice for start-ups, or search the Web for sample business plans at sites like Bplans.com .


Going into detail about the process of writing a business plan is beyond the scope of this blog. If you need assistance, business attorneys or accountants can help you get started and are familiar with local business organizations. For free help, check out the business program at the closest community college or university or locate a nearby small business support office at one of the following sites:


Web sites don’t solve business problems; they create new challenges. If your business is experiencing any problems, fix them first! Any difficulties with computer infrastructure, record-keeping, manufacturing, supply chains, customer service, order fulfillment, staffing, cost controls, training, or pricing are only magnified when you go online.

Planning for Web Marketing

Chapter 2
Planning for Web Marketing

In This Chapter

  • Getting ahead of the game
  • Establishing goals for your site
  • Finding out about target markets
  • Applying the four Ps of marketing
  • Understanding why people buy
  • Putting it all together in an online marketing plan

It’s easy to get so involved with the Web that you lose sight of your business goals. In this chapter, I show you how a few, simple, planning tools can help you track the big picture while maximizing the contribution of your Web site to your bottom line.

If you mastered marketing principles in business school long ago, this chapter connects cybermarketing to your memories of business plans, the four Ps of marketing (product, price, placement, and promotion), and Maslow’s Triangle. If your marketing knowledge comes from the school of hard knocks or if you’re new to business, these conceptual marketing tools enable you to allocate marketing dollars in a new environment.

As you go through the planning process, I suggest that you summarize your decisions on the forms in this chapter. Refer to them whenever you’re uncertain about a Web marketing decision. These forms also make it easier to convey your site goals and objectives consistently to developers, graphic designers, other service providers, and employees.

For your convenience, you can download full page versions of these forms from Downloads section