French writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So true. In fact, this is true in all aspects of life, even inbound marketing. Without concrete, reachable goals, your efforts to generate leads, get more website visitors or convert more leads into sales are likely to end up in nothing more than frustration and wasted time. So, how can you set effective marketing goals? And, once you’ve set your goals, how can you reach them? In this post, we will discuss some practical steps you can take to set solid marketing goals for your company.
What Kind of Goals Should You Set?
The best goals are SMART goals. SMART goals will keep you focused and working hard to do your best. What exactly are SMART goals? They are goals that are:
- Specific. Make sure your goals have specific deadlines. In addition, don’t be afraid to set real number goals. For example, don’t say, “I want more people to visit my website and I want more leads.” Instead, say, “I want to see at least 100 more non-bounce visitors on my website and at least 10 new phone inquiries each week.”
- Measurable. You will need to track your results on the way to reaching your goal.
- Attainable. Your goals should always be realistic. Challenging is good, but don’t go overboard by setting goals that are neither realistic nor reachable.
- Realistic. When setting deadlines, be honest with yourself. Take into consideration any challenges or obstacles you might face along the way.
- Timebound. Give yourself specific deadlines. “Someday” is not an acceptable deadline.
Now that you know what SMART goals are, it might be time to reevaluate your existing goals. Make sure all of your marketing goals are indeed “smart.” If you are currently goal-less, the following steps can help you to set, and reach, your marketing goals.
Define Your Goal
The first step in goal making is clearly defining your goal. How can you do this? Write it down. Writing down your goal, whether it is to get more leads, improve your social media marketing or generate more sales, will help you to gain clarity. Clarity, in turn, will give you focus.
Make Your Goal Numerical
Now that you know what you are working towards, it is time to get specific. This may require you to do a little research. For example, if your goal is a higher website visitor to lead conversion rate. In this case, you will need to find out your current rate. That information will equip you to set a realistic goal to strive towards. Make sure you have a way to track your progress numerically.
Set a Deadline and Commit
Set a deadline that you feel is realistic to reach your new goal and commit to it. Honestly evaluate how much time each week you can invest in your marketing efforts. This will help you to stay organized and set deadlines you can actually reach.
Be Aware of Potential Obstacles
Lastly, identify your potential obstacles ahead of time. Write them down and then write down how you plan to overcome them. This will help you to stay prepared and avoid unnecessary disappointments and frustrations.
By setting SMART goals and laying out a realistic plan, your goals will no longer be just a wish, they will become reality.
What are your goals for this year? How has setting SMART goals helped you in your marketing efforts in the past?
Photo by: Paxson Woebler