Without goals, your marketing plans have nothing to aspire to. It’s like going out to sea without a destination in mind.
While the journey might seem fun and carefree for a little while, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by the potential opportunities and threats laid out before you. Even worse, you may mistake opportunities for threats because you feel like you can’t possibly add anything else to your marketing plate.
There’s a better way to deal with that “adrift in a sea of marketing ideas” problem, and it’s the SMARTest thing you can do for your marketing plan.
Why Setting Goals is Critical
According to CoSchedule, a leader in content marketing scheduling products, “Marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t. And 81% of those successful, goal-setting marketers achieve them.”
It’s hard to ignore those numbers. Without understanding why your work is important, and how it helps build future successes, you’re likely to find yourself aimlessly drifting from one project, task, or idea to another, without discovering your marketing’s true potential.
Settings goals gives you something to work towards. Like a rousing locker room speech, marketing goals encourage and inspire you to find new ways to tackle old problems. It provides you with the structure and accountability you need to be successful.
Common Marketing Goals
Before you start deciding how you’re going to achieve your goal, you need to set a goal. Some pretty common marketing goals include:
- Acquire new customers
- Up-sell complementary products
- Increase web traffic
- Increase blog readership
- Increase social media engagement
- Post more relevant content more often
- Retain old customers
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it is a good place to start. Maybe none of these goals directly align with what you hope to accomplish. That’s okay, too. Make your goal as relevant to your business as possible. If it feels personal, you’re more likely to buy-in and invest your time.
SMART Goal Setting
Before you spend a single dime on marketing, you need to have a very clear plan for what your money is going towards, what your company would consider “success,” and how long you’re going to keep your campaign active.
One of the best ways to assure that your goals are meaningful is using the SMART goal method. Often used in data-driven environments, like schools, SMART goals outline why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’re going to do to be successful.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By following through on that list of requirements, you are setting yourself up for success. SMART goals strive to create a comprehensive plan that helps you decide how you’re going to approach your marketing objectives.
Check out the chart below to learn more about writing better SMART goals.
|SMART Goal Step||How to Write It|
|Specific||Think about the who, what, why, when, and how of your goal. Ask yourself what exactly needs to be accomplished, who’s going to be involved, and how you’re going to get there.|
|Measurable||Use data to track your success. If you want to increase sales by 20% over the next year, you need to look at both a) your current sales, b) what a 20% increase would be, and c) how often you’re going to check your progress.|
|Attainable||Perhaps the easiest piece of writing a SMART goal is determining whether or not it’s even possible. If your goal sounds too good to be true, it’s not attainable.|
|Relevant||Be sure that your goal aligns with the trajectory of your business. If it’s not relevant, why are you doing it?|
|Timely||Give yourself a deadline. Deadlines keep you accountable and provide more data than you may have had previously. If you’re looking to grow 20% in a year, but you do it in 8 months, you can start to adjust your goals to reflect your abilities.|