As business owners and entrepreneurs, we know that dreaming big is part of the job description. Having a dream to chase is what leads us down this path and keeps us going when the road gets difficult to travel. But when it comes to setting marketing goals for the year, it’s time to trade those lofty dreams for clear-cut goals that provide a reasonable challenge and support your overall business goals.
Why You Need to Set Clear Digital Marketing Goals and Objectives
An astonishing 80% of small businesses owners don’t set goals for their business. Sure, they might have some in mind, but they don’t go through the process of putting those thoughts on paper and backing them up with real, actionable objectives.
In business (and in life), the words “goal” and “objective” are often used interchangeably. However, when you’re in a planning context, it’s critical to know the difference between the two. Simply put, a goal is something you want to achieve and an objective is how you’ll achieve that goal.
Setting goals and objectives for your business provides direction and focus, keeps you on track, and motivates you toward the success you want to achieve.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. Criteria
The growth of your business depends on you setting and meeting your goals. Setting the bar high pushes you to be better and always look for areas of improvement. If your goals are unrealistic though, you’ll find yourself frustrated and feeling like you can never measure up. Instead of setting lofty, unattainable goals, it’s important to set SMART goals. Here’s what a SMART goal looks like:
S – Specific. Don’t be vague about your goals, and be sure to set defined numbers you’d like to hit. “I want to sell more products” isn’t a very helpful goal. “I want to drive 25% more revenue than last year,” however, makes your goal much more clear.
M – Measurable. To know whether you’re making progress toward your goal, you’ve got to be able to measure it. Otherwise you’ll never know when (or if) you reach it.
A – Achievable. Be honest with yourself. It’s important to set goals that challenge you, but don’t set yourself up for failure with a challenge that’s impossible to meet.
R – Relevant. What’s your ultimate vision for your business? Be sure every goal you set is relevant to that vision and helps you get closer to achieving it.
T – Time-Based. Give yourself a deadline. Without a defined length of time to accomplish your goal, you’re much more likely to put it off for “someday,” which may never come.
Once you’ve set your SMART marketing goals, your next steps will be to plan out the objectives that will enable you to reach those goals and set a strategy for accomplishing those objectives.
Track Your Progress and Results
Goals and objectives are great on their own, but to truly know how close you are to reaching those goals, you need to consistently track your progress. For most marketing goals, you’ll need to be sure you have Google Analytics tracking set up on your site. If you’re new to using an analytics tracking tool, you can start small by simply tracking the metrics that are relevant to your unique goals.
You’ll want to report regularly on the progress toward your goals. We like to look at a full report monthly to gauge progress without getting bogged down by day-to-day details. By running a monthly progress report, you’ll be able to easily see if you’re on track to meet your goals and if there are any areas that need special attention.
Let Us Help You Build Your Marketing Plan
Developing goals for your marketing plan may feel like a shot in the dark. No matter what the coming year may throw at you, having goals to work toward will ease the decision-making anxiety if you’re faced with the unexpected.
Need a hand building your marketing plan? We’d love to help you set goals that will make a difference in your business! Contact us today, and we’ll get started building your marketing plan together.