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Setting Goals And KPIs For Your Course

Digital Courses: Setting Goals and KPI’s For Your Course or Training to Measure Success


Before you get too far into creating and selling your course, you need to set some goals and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator) to measure its success. This might sound difficult for some of you. After all, you are creating a course from what you know so the goal is to help others, right?

Yes and no. You do want the ultimate goal to help others achieve success from your training. But you also need to know your KPI’s and have the ultimate goal of the financial and successes of the participants from the course.

What does KPI mean? KPI stands for key performance indicators. KPIs are defined as measurable values that demonstrate how effective your course is meeting the needs set for the overall goal.

Goals Versus KPIs

A KPI is not a goal but you need to use it with your goal to make your efforts more effective. Goals are the desired results you want your course or training to achieve. KPI is the metric that tells you if you are on track to achieving the goal.

In other words, your goal is your desired outcome while our KPIs track how well you are doing toward the goal.

KPIs and the goals you set for your course give you a way to:

  • Measure your participant’s progress
  • Let you know when you need to make adjustments
  • Help you see and solve any problems that might come up
  • Demonstrate the overall ROI of the course

There are different kinds of KPIs you should be tracking in your training program. They might focus on something directly related to the training. This could be how many participants completed the course or how many quit. Another reason to set goals and KPIs is to track participants’ progress.

Setting the Right KPIs and Goals

Goals and KPIs are an important tracking and management part of your course. That means you need to set the right ones. KPIs are the guideposts that illuminate your path. They help you keep the final goal in perspective.

When setting your actionable KPIs use a five=step approach when defining your KPIs. You want to set actionable targets that are tangible and relevant. If you set your targets too high, you risk getting disappointed quickly.

  1. Determine your strategic objectives
  2. Define what successful course outcome would be
  3. Decide on how you will measure it by setting short and long term KPI targets
  4. Write Your Smart KPIs
  5. Review the progress and readjust where necessary

Step 1: The first step is to determine what strategic objective you’re trying to gauge. You should already have these sets. Is the goal of the course to increase revenue? Increasing sales by x amount, boosting customer satisfaction, and expanding follow-through are also common goal examples.

Step 2: What will your successful course outcome look like? Will it be a certain percentage of students completing the course? Is the outcome to be to reach a specific number of satisfied participants? Are you measuring the student attendance rate?

Are you measuring your traffic leads ratio, cost per lead, or social media mentions? How about your viral co-efficiency?

For example, if your goal is to increase engagement for your course, the KPI you set might focus on the time they spend on a page and your bounce rate. For a goal of increasing organic traffic, your metric focuses on inbound link numbers and improved search rank.

Step 3: How will you measure your KPIs and Goals? Which specific analytics tools will you use? You may want to consider a few such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and SEMrush. These are the most popular tools for measuring KPIs and tracking your progress toward the goal.

Other tools include

  • Facebook Insights
  • ClickFunnels
  • Hootsuite
  • Ahrefs
  • Buffer
  • Hubspot
  • SproutSocial
  • SocialReport
  • Moz
  • Buzzsumo

Step 4: Use the SMART technique to create a goal and to determine your KPIs for your digital course. SMART goals are the first step to setting KPIs.

  • Specific – the goal is specific, clear, and focused on one thing. You want the goal to as clear and as exact as possible so it’s easier to measure.
  • Measurable – Is the goal something that can be measured or a way to quantify it? Your KPIs will be the actual measurement.
  • Achievable – You want your goals to be a challenge, yet they need to be realistic enough that you can accomplish them. Unrealistic goals will be discouraging.
  • Realistic – The goal should align and be realistic with the overall outcome. You should be able to achieve it realistically within the time frame.
  • Time-bound – The goal should have a specific start and finish date. Does your goal have a deadline for when you want to achieve it?

Step 5 Review the progress and readjust where necessary. Determine how often and for how long you will do a review to see if your course is performing as you like.

Measuring your course for every goal

Once you’ve decided on the goals, you need to determine the best KPI for each goal, as well as how you plan to track them to measure your progress and goal success.

Measuring Organic Traffic Increase

Tracking the increase in organic traffic to the course landing page tells you how your traffic campaign is. You should be focusing on traffic growth, drops, and spikes. This helps you identify what keywords to prioritize or if you need to make some type of changes on the landing page. A specific tool to use: Google Analytics

Measuring Changes In Search Rankings – Instead of looking at traffic growth overall, look at specific social media posts, blog posts, or emails that target your course. You can use a tool or check your rankings manually. Simply use an incognito window using the keywords you’ve targeted on specific posts to see your rankings. You want also want to measure impressions. A tool to use: AccuRanker, Google Search Console

Measuring Audience Engagement – Analyzing your course’s effectiveness is about measuring the level of engagement it has. Focusing on the course’s engagement metrics like traffic to the page, time spent on the page, and the audience. Set up which metrics to see: sessions, page views, average time on the page, bounce rate, and goal completion. The amount of time your students spend on a page suggests how effective the content is. Tools to use: Google Analytics.

Measure Generated Leads and Conversions

Determine how many conversions you get. This can be micro-conversions like visits to the contact page, subscribing to your social media, track lead-gen form completions, completed purchases, and content downloads if it is a part of your course. You can use a tool or include unique tracking links on your sales page. Tools to use: Google Analytics

Measure Traffic From Social Media

To measure the engagement of your students, on social media, pay attention to the number of likes, shares, saves, and clicks. You also want to measure social referrals.

Tools to use: Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Google Analytics

The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you track affects your goal and determines the tools you use.

Knowing your KPI and Goal

Ask yourself what your overall goal is for your course.

  • What is my desired goal?
  • Why does this goal matter?
  • How long will it take to reach the goal?
  • How will I know when I’ve reached the goal?
  • How often do I measure progress?
  • How will I know when I reach my goal?
  • What will I use to determine if changes are needed?

Ask yourself these questions and others to set your overall course goal and to set the KPI metrics for the course outcome.

Next Up

Once you determine your goals for your course, you should set up your KPIs to begin tracking your progress.

The first step in doing this is to determine the KPI of each goal of your course. Then, measure your traffic, conversions, student retention, and other course goals.

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