SMART Marketing GoalsJan 11, 2019
updated September 1, 2022
Why Set Marketing Goals?
Goal setting is the foundation of your marketing strategy and the marketing tactics you use to fulfill on it. If you want people to make purchases, then shouldn't you be tracking conversions?
And if you are posting to social media and writing blogs every week, wouldn't you like to have a clear understanding of what is working (or not working)?
It is logical that you want to see the effect of your marketing tactics and be able to measure that success or failure. This line of thinking leads you to today's topic: Goal Setting.
How do you create achievable marketing goals?
First, let's look at your business objectives or goals. Wait, you have those setup... right?
Does your company have a mission, vision or values? Usually, your mission or vision represent your passion for what your business delivers. People who are passionate about the outdoors start companies that inspire others to spend more time outside. Leaders who are passionate about health and wellness are often doctors, dentists, and other wellness practitioners. As the leader of a business, the good place to start the conversation about goals is with the question of "why are you in business?"
For those of us in small business, we often focus on growth and that's why we put so much effort into a marketing strategy. We want to grow as quickly as possible, but there's a lot of other stuff going on... finances, taxes, contracts, etc. Where do we start?
We've created a very simple guide to help you begin thinking about and (more importantly) documenting your business goals.
STEP 1: Evaluate Your Current Situation
One key to setting achievable marketing goals is to spend time evaluating your current situation. But how do you evaluate something you haven't been tracking?
It's easier than you think.
Start simple with your website traffic.
If you have Google Analytics setup and plugged into your website, then you already have a ton of information to work with. Yes, it can be overwhelming. So we'll give you a few ideas of items to focus on in the beginning. Start by filtering your analytics to review the past 3-6 months, and choose to compare it to the previous period.
You want to see a recent history of how you're doing so you can make a thoughtful and calculated goal.
Check on the following numbers:
- Monthly "sessions" (the number of times people visited your website)
- Monthly "users" (the number of people visiting your site)
- Acquisition channels (how people arrived on your website- directly, online search, social media, email, etc)
Obviously, these are not the only data points you should review in Google Analytics, but it's a good starting place so you do not feel overwhelmed. Look at how you are doing in comparison to the previous time period.
Has there been an increase, decrease, or has it stayed the same?
How much of a change, if any, was there in sessions?
Which acquisition channels are doing the best and the worst?
If you have seen a small, but steady increase of maybe 1% each month, then that should be your starting place.
You may also want to consider diving deeper into your marketing analytics by doing a full blown marketing audit. I wrote an article about marketing audits last year that you might find helpful.
STEP 2: Set SMART Marketing Goals
Following the evaluation of your current situation, you'll have a clearer perspective on where to start with setting your goals. And with your goals in mind, you will know what KPIs to regularly measure. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. It's a fancy acronym that marketers like to use for the benchmarks along the way to achieving your goal.
When setting goals, keep in mind the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. If your goal is to increase your website traffic, then it doesn't fit the SMART requirements. Adjust it to be more like this: We want to grow website traffic (sessions) by 6% over the next 90 days.
If you marketing goal is to increase website sessions by 6% over 90 days, then you can divide that by three to get your monthly KPI. Each month, you want to get as close as possible to a 2% increase in website sessions.
With this and other marketing goals in mind, you can begin looking at the marketing tactics it will take to achieve your these goals, as well as the possible benchmarks along the way.
STEP 3: Measure KPIs Each Month
The beauty of a setting KPIs is that they give you some peace of mind. Rather than waiting until 90 days have passed to see if you reached your goal, you get to check in at the end of each month to see if you are on track. If you are not on track, then it's an opportunity to adjust.
Monthly adjustments to marketing can make a BIG difference if you are thoughtful and strategic. An example of an adjustment to your monthly marketing strategy may be as simple as increasing the frequency of posting to a particular social media platform. You see that there have been the most click-throughs to your website from LinkedIn and that those visitors are staying on the site for several minutes. Rather than posting twice per week, you may want to increase it to three times per week for the next month and see if that helps increase click-throughs.
Knowing what to adjust...that is a whole other conversation. However, we are happy to talk with you about that and help you figure out what should be adjusted.
START NOW: Set 1 Goal and 2 KPIs
If you have not set any goals or KPIs for your marketing, then today is a great day to get started. There's no need to pick 10 goals and 30 different KPIs to measure. Begin simply by picking one thing you think tells you about your success in business.
Here are a few ideas for simple marketing goals:
- Social Media Post Engagement: What is the average number of engagements with your social media posts on one particular platform?
- Website Users: How many people are visiting your website each month?
- Website Sessions on a Specific Page: How many times did people visit your Contact Us page?
- Form Conversions: How many people filled out a contact form?
- Email Clicks: How many clicks do you get per email?
Your marketing challenge, if you choose to accept it:
Write down 1-2 core goals that impact your company's business objectives.
Then write below those goals 2-3 supporting goals that can be achieved through your marketing efforts.