Goal setting in marketing isn’t easy. Different businesses have different goals. However, the key to success isn’t the goals themselves: it’s the way you structure them.
To us, there’s no more effective method than the SMART goal framework. Here, we’ll introduce you to the SMART goals definition and talk you through the benefits of this approach, as well as how you can implement it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT ARE SMART GOALS?
If you’re wondering ‘what is a SMART goal’, it’s a strategic way of planning your business objectives based on an acronym. Don’t worry, it’s easy to remember as each letter has a specific, simple meaning:
Specific. You need to set real, definable targets. ‘I want 1,000 new visitors’ rather than ‘I want more traffic’.
Measurable. Again, you need to be able to track the results. ‘Improve social media presence’ can’t be tracked. ‘Get 50 new followers’ and ‘Get 2,000 more impressions’ can.
Attainable. Your goal has to be challenging, but shouldn’t be ridiculous. ‘Add 10 new email subscribers a day’ would be manageable. ‘Add 500 an hour without spending any money on ads’ not so much.
Realistic. Be honest with yourself and your business. Know what you’re capable of if you work hard, and always take potential hurdles into account.
Time-bound. Have a deadline. It’s no good having a ‘someday’ goal. You need to have a date and ideally a time written down, and to hold yourself accountable to it.
A GUIDE TO SMART GOAL SETTING
So now you know what SMART goals are, here’s how to get started:
1. Summarise it in writing
What doesn’t get written down doesn’t get followed up on! Ensure you have a specific goal saved somewhere, and circulate it to the relevant staff on your team.
Having your specific goal written down will give you clarity. Whenever you’re deciding what actions to take, you’ll be able to look at your target and ask ‘will this help me achieve what I want to achieve?’.
2. Break your goals down into categories
The chances are you’ll have more than one overall goal as a business, so ensure they’re broken down into relevant sections.
So, if you’re in marketing, you might have one goal related to lead generation, one to traffic generation, one to revenue and so forth.
(Pro tip: don’t have more than one goal in each specific area. You want total clarity in each part of your business. If you achieve a single challenging goal in every part of the company, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.)
3. Set the number of specific targets
Your target needs to be a set number. If, on deadline day, you can’t look at your targets and confirm whether you’ve succeeded or failed, you’ve done it wrong.
Why number-based targets? Because they can’t be manipulated, unlike verbal goals! Either you’ve achieved that number or you haven’t: it’s completely black and white.
The number can be anything: a price, a percentage of traffic, a sales total.
4. Choose your completion date
Without this, you’re not working on a goal, you’re working on a dream.
Choose a sensible but challenging deadline, and write it down.
5. Commit to giving a realistic amount of time to the goal
Not every business is going to be able to dedicate five hours a day to growing their email list.
The key is to choose a realistic number of hours on which to work on the goal and to then stick to it. Even 30 minutes a day can add up over the long term.
6. Prepare for obstacles
Sometimes, things will get in the way of your goal. It’s guaranteed, and it sucks. However, the chances are you already know what’s most likely to go wrong.
So, plan for your roadblocks in advance.
If you know your resident e-mail genius is going on holiday and you won’t get any growth for a week, adjust your daily targets to compensate. Or if your revenue is season-based and most of your sales come in the summer, take this into account.
So many businesses don’t like to think about the hurdles. If you do, you’ll be ahead of the game.
You can also use this handy template [https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33898/How-to-Set-SMART-Marketing-Goals-for-2013-TEMPLATE.aspx] to help you set SMART goals for your business.
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