Setting marketing goals is like driving a car. When we drive our car, we have a destination in mind. If we don't, we might as well ask ourselves, "why are we driving?".
This is the same concept we can apply to setting our marketing goals. If we are not setting any tangible and specific goals in marketing, we may as well be 'driving to nowhere'.
How do we know what is working, what is performing? Are we working well? Is our marketing working?
All goals for our marketing campaigns should be centred around our business goals. The goals and objectives for the business inform our marketing efforts, what kind of content we put together, how we reach our audience, and more.
What we need to do to develop our marketing plans is to look at setting some marketing goals to help the business meet its business goals.
That's where SMART goals come in.
The SMART goal setting framework
Hopefully you've heard about setting SMART goals before. The SMART framework is designed to help you set short term and long term goals. This can be any goal from personal goals to business goals, or from marketing goals to sales goals.
A great basis for marketing planning, the SMART Framework will help you set timely and achievable goals and objectives.
SMART stands for:
- Specific: Your goal must focus on one clearly defined metric that you can measure and achieve.
- Measurable: You must have a way to measure the goal you've set so that you can track the progress of your goal.
- Achievable: Your goal must be attainable. A 10% increase in leads is possible. A 1000% increase in leads without increasing budget accordingly is unlikely to be achieved.
- Relevant: Is the goal important to the business, reasonable, and able to be resourced so that it's achieved?
- Time-bound: Create an attainable deadline.
The SMART framework is about helping you set goals that you know you can achieve. We want our marketing goals to be measurable and achievable. So this really does become a great way to set out goals and truly 'see' our results.
Consider setting the goal: "Increase leads from our website."
That seems like a great goal, we want to achieve leads from our website. But by how many leads do we want to increase? One? More than one? How much time do we have to accomplish this goal? In reality, the goal is too vague.
I can guarantee you that I can get you one more lead on your website in the next five years, but this does not signify growth and strong performance?
If we take this goal and modify it with the SMART framework, it might read more like this: "Increase leads from our website by 10% per month by December 2020."
See the difference? The goal now becomes:
- Specific - We want a 10% increase in leads
- Measurable - We can measure a 10% increase in leads easily.
- Achievable - A 10% increase seems possible based on our experience and historical data.
- Relevant - For most of us, an increase in leads is very relevant. Notice this is leads and not website traffic. For many businesses, the goal isn't website traffic. It's leads, orders, signups, etc. Traffic itself isn't relevant, it's what the traffic does that is.
- Time-bound - This goal needs to be achieved by December 2020, which is a very reasonable timeframe if we are planning six months in advance.
The SMART framework is an excellent guide to help you set realistic and achievable goals, at any experience level. It's a great test to keep you on topic and ensure you don't slip with unmeasurable, irrelevant goals.
This is evident from the A and R of the framework, Achievable and Relevant. If you are making goals that have no real chance of coming to fruition - well, what's the point? You probably won't achieve them and even if you do, how can you really be sure you have?
So...where do I start?
When starting your goal setting, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Don't set unreasonable and unattainable goals. This won't work. You'll want your goals to be as specific and realistic as possible.
For example, trying to get 100 new leads as a startup business in your first month of operation is not very reasonable or realistic. Aiming for five to ten leads within the month is much more reasonable and attainable.
In setting these specific and realistic goals, there are three things you should also consider.
This refers to the timeframe in which you can achieve your goal. This includes time allocated to reaching the target.
This relates to the resources you have at your disposal to achieve the goal.
This could be anything from the number of marketing staff in your company to the software systems that you have in place.
A resource is also your budget. A 10% increase in leads this year with no budget increase could be possible through optimisation. However, a 100% increase in leads in the same period could also be possible if you increased the resources you allocate to meeting the goal.
Past data helps make informed estimates in predicting future trends. This usually helps to assess whether your goal is realistic.
Each of these three considerations is very important to put in place when planning any marketing goal. Without them, it might be impossible to meet the goal, and we're simply setting ourselves up for failure.
A final note
Ultimately you can't just wish for better results or more revenue within your business. Goal setting doesn’t work like this. There are always leads to capture, KPI's to hit and budgets to work with. There is also a lot more to consider.
When we decide on marketing goals, careful planning and thought should prevail. There must also be an element of achievability within marketing goal setting too. This is exactly what the SMART framework allows for. The framework also aids with setting future goals and intelligently tracking progress.
Working with SMART goals, we can structure our aims and business objectives much more accurately. There is more potential to reach our desired targets if we measure them out and know what we're aiming to achieve. Rather than making a goal a wish or hope, make your goals a reality by using the SMART framework.