As we inch closer to the New Year, I want you to think about the online marketing goals you’ve set for yourself and your business. At the end of almost every fourth quarter, successful online marketers typically sit down and analyze how the past 12 months have gone before moving forward and developing their goals for the upcoming year.
Without engaging in goal setting activities, you’re flying blind and possibly wasting a lot of time, money and resourses taking a direction that isn’t the most beneficial one for you to achieve your ultimate success.
There are many different types of goals you can set for yourself. Some are monetary, some are strategic, and others are built around the type of lifestyle you hope to have, including those measured in time and happiness. There are five specific goal setting activities you can work on in your fourth quarter to help you make the most of 2022. In the end, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and start your year off on the right foot.
Narrow Down Your Focus for Business Models and Niches
One thing you need to do when preparing for your upcoming 2022 year of online marketing goals for your business is look back and see where you focused your attention in terms of business models and niche markets.
Many people suffer from a scattered mindset when it comes to latching onto the latest, greatest business models that are hyped up in the online marketplace. It may sound as if it’s a big moneymaker, so you get onboard, only to find out that it’s not the income producer you hoped it would be.
The same goes for niches that you pursue. Sometimes, you will hear about a fellow marketer who is making bank in a particular niche market, so you give it a try yourself. When it doesn’t pan out, you are stuck with a domain and content, or possibly even an info product for a niche that’s nothing more than dead weight for you.
Before the New Year arrives, you need to sit down and tighten up your business model pursuits as well as the niche markets that you plan to focus your efforts on. Start by looking at the niches that you have a passion for and an understanding about.
You want to be able to easily lead your audience in the best direction possible, so choosing a niche that you are clueless about and will have to spend a lot of time learning could be more of a burden than a blessing.
You also want to make sure that the niche you select has ample money making opportunities, in terms of digital or tangible earnings – or both. Not only will you want to make money as a vendor, but also as an affiliate marketer, so see what’s already out there as well as what gaps in the marketplace you can identify and possibly fill those needs. Be as objective as possible as you evaluate your chances of success before you spend your precious time with anything. Yes, I believe you must be passionate about what you offer in your business, but make sure you’ll maintain your enthusiasm for the long haul.
Decide on the Online Marketing Goals You Have for Each Niche Business Model
Once you narrow down your focus for the type of business you’ll be building in the coming year – as well as what topic it will be built around, you’ll need to develop some project ideas for them. It’s okay to have more than one niche or business model, as long as you can adequately handle the responsibilities of running both operations or don’t mind slower growth.
If you focus on more than one niche or business model, it will take you longer to see success in most instances. If you put all of your efforts into one niche, and one business model, the growth will skyrocket faster. So sit down and come up with your goals. Do you want to develop a line of digital info products? Do you want to build an authority affiliate review site? Do you want to accrue a certain number of coaching clients in your niche?
Get specific. Don’t just adopt empty, vague goals such as, “I want to succeed online.” Success can be many different things to many different people. You want a narrow, specific focus on your goals so that you know what you’re aiming for and what needs to be done.
If you want to do many different things within one niche, then you might set goals for each business mode. For example, let’s say you’re in the parenting niche. You might have a goal to develop a line of eBooks and print books.
What are some other things you can do in this niche? You might set up an affiliate blog where you promote things that parents need to buy for their children, and provide reviews and advice to them. You might want to be a parenting coach. There are parents these days who hire coaches to help them be better parents to their little ones. You can do this in a virtual setting online.
Think of how many clients you’d like to have for your coaching activities. Or how many product reviews you’d ideally like to have for an affiliate site. What about the number of books you’d like to publish in a year? Making concrete goals with hard data can help you move in a trajectory that gets you from A to Z faster than if you just woke up each day trying to figure out what would be best for you to work on.
If you can get even more specific, such as writing out a list of the six topics for books that you want to publish, or the dozen topic categories you want to cover on your blog, or the ten main areas you can help parents who come to you for coaching, then that will help you with the next steps even more.
Create a Realistic Timeline for Project Completion
Once you know what projects you’ll be working on, you can nail down the time it will take you to go from idea to completion in the 2022 year. You always want to overestimate the time it will take.
This gives you a bit of a cushion for those moments when life happens and you fall ill, or have to deal with a household emergency – maybe your laptop bites the dust and you have to get a new one delivered.
If you make a schedule based strictly on the time you think it literally takes you to write an eBook or blog post, then you’ll inevitably suffer from a feeling of defeat when your schedule gets knocked off course.
You don’t want to end 2022 feeling like you got behind in schedule. You want the opposite feeling – one of triumph that you were able to achieve more than you thought possible.
If you aren’t sure how much time it takes you to create an eBook, start by making a list of all of the things that have to be done to make one. You have to create an idea first, followed by an outline of the chapters.
You have to have time for research, writing, editing, too. Then you need to have a sales page created, graphics, and list the product on a platform where it can be processed for sales.
You also need to recruit affiliates for it, and that means networking. Remember to think about the follow-up tasks, too – such as handling customer service issues if someone fails to get their download properly.
Work all of that into your time frame, because if you only consider the time spent writing, you will end up falling far behind in your schedule as you frantically work to handle all of these other tasks you didn’t make room for. Time management is crucial for your success.
Do this with every business model. Know how long it takes you for each task – writing a page, picking a product to review, uploading images, etc. You might even want to make a cheat sheet you can refer to that reminds you of how fast (or slow) you are with each task.
By doing this, you might discover areas where your time is drained, and this would be a good things to consider outsourcing to a freelancer who can take it off your hands and allow you more time to focus on other things.
Don’t fill every moment of your day. Give yourself some room in your schedule for unexpected things to pop up, like a crash of your server or unexpected outage of electricity. Having online marketing goals does not mean you do not also have a personal life and goals.
Put a Number on the Spending and Earnings You Plan to Pursue
Budgeting and earnings are an area many amateur entrepreneurs ignore until something major happens. Either they get far into debt and panic, or they earn a substantial amount and want to focus on it.
A well-prepared marketer will sit down and have spending limitations for the year as well as financial goals they want to achieve with their online efforts. You won’t find many businesses that work off of a mindset of “whatever happens, happens” – and you shouldn’t, either.
Start by setting a budget that keeps you from going into debt. You don’t want to take out a mortgage on your house or have to fall behind with your bills just to try to make a go of it online.
There are many free and low cost alternatives to the expensive tools and courses you may think you need in order to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to create a video membership product, you don’t have to spend money on Camtasia – you can use the freeware CamStudio for now and then upgrade later.
You can always level up later. If there’s a course you want to buy to learn something, first start by looking at what you can learn about that topic for free on blogs and on video sites like YouTube.
Then, look for cheaper courses or books to educate you and help you get started. If there’s only one course or tool that you feel you need and there’s no less costly workaround, then approach the vendor and ask if there’s a possibility for a coupon code you can use.
Set a goal for monthly spending limits. This will make you shop smart and not just grab any and every product some savvy marketer hypes up in your email inbox. You want to stop spending carelessly.
At the same time, you want some earning goals, too. Take your current earnings to the next level. Not only do you want concrete monthly, quarterly and annual earning goals, but you also want to set a goal for consistent earnings, too. Many newbie marketers can pinpoint an amount of money they want to take in, but not on a schedule – so they rush to hype something up to their audience, rather than set a daily limit such as $20 or $100 a day in earnings. I began with setting online marketing goals that would help me to earn at least three hundred dollars each day, as that was the amount I needed in order to cover my fixed costs and monthly expenses.
When you know you have a mark to hit, it helps you sit down every day to achieve that monetary goal and avoid the frantic push at the end of the month when bills are due and you suddenly have a choice between missing your car payment or pushing something that is not in integrity to your subscribers just to earn a quick buck.
Make a List of Things You Plan to Master in the Coming Year
As an online entrepreneur, one of your goals should be to level up in many different areas. You want to make a list of the things you want to improve on and set some goals for these things.
For example, maybe you want to learn or get better at video marketing. Or maybe you bought a neat page builder, but haven’t set aside time to learn how to use it yet. There might be strategies you need to improve on, like sales copy or something more narrow, like coming up with better headlines or a call to action.
First, make a list of the resources you feel will help you learn more in these areas. It could be a great blog about the topic, a video series, a paid course, a new tool – whatever you feel can help you do more, better.
You want to work this learning process into your schedule each day or a few times per week. You might set aside one day of the week to learn and practice something new. Or, you might have it worked in as half an hour every work day.
Not everything will be something you need to learn. Sometimes, it’s just getting past your fears and putting yourself out there to be a better leader. You might need to work on networking with other online entrepreneurs to secure affiliate promos. Or, you might want to excel as a niche leader and simply set aside time to soak up all of the latest information about your niche topic possible. Maybe you’ll read consumer and trade magazines or books about the topic.
You might watch other experts’ videos or attend a seminar about the topic in person or even virtually. You can meet with experts in person or approach them for interviews to learn more and share with your readers, too.
Setting online marketing goals for your upcoming year in business is not only a wise thing to do, but a necessity for anyone who wants to grow their business in a manner that’s professional and profitable, rather than unstable and financially insecure.
With a little bit of planning and brainstorming, you’ll be setting yourself up for success without being burdened by indecision at a time when others are veering offtrack and you’re sticking to the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Keep in mind that goals can be flexible. You don’t have to worry that your decisions in the fourth quarter of the year have to be set in stone. If you discover along the way that something needs to change, you have that option as your own boss. Setting online marketing goals will give you an edge and set you apart from more than ninety percent of entrepreneurs and business owners.
I’m a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, an independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.