Every successful business owner understands the value of setting objectives for themselves and for their team. Marketing is no different. If you want to see significant increases in sales numbers or brand awareness, then you need to put a plan in place to achieve those goals. But how do you set realistic marketing objectives? What’s the best way to determine what’s reasonable for your company to achieve, and what isn’t? And why does that matter in the first place?
The Value of SMART Marketing Objectives
If you’ve studied marketing for any length of time, chances are you’ve come across the acronym SMART in relation to goal-setting. (Quick refresher SMART= specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely.) Some entrepreneurs don’t bother with setting SMART goals, however. Instead, they set big targets like “becoming the best company in the industry,” or “surpassing every competitor.” And while there’s nothing wrong with having big aspirations for your business in the long-run, you need to start working with tangible figures and reachable goals if you ever want to fulfill long-term ambitions. Before you can become a distinguished chef, you need to learn how to crack an egg, for example. Setting little goals may not be glamorous, but they lead to big results over time.
Analysis and Projections
The best way to get a handle on the direction your company is moving is to study its past performance. Trying to draw in fifty qualified leads next year might sound like a solid target on paper; but if you only managed to bring in twenty good leads in the previous two years combined, then you might be reaching too far too quickly. Understanding your company, (and your industry) is vital to good goal-setting. Some businesses rely on drawing in lots of leads, while others only need to land a few specialized customers with deep pockets to turn a profit.
Study the Competition
You should always have one eye on the competition, regardless of your business’s standing. Savvy entrepreneurs know how to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Additionally, they recognize that analyzing the competition will help them set intelligent goals for their business. For example: say you want your website to attain the number one position on Google for a keyword related to your business. This is a good goal because it’s specific, measurable, relevant, and timely. But is it attainable? That depends largely on your competition. Indeed, the current number-one-ranking website may be out of your reach for the foreseeable future. Instead, a better goal might be to try and reach the top four in Google rankings for a long-tail keyword, or alternatively, to explore ranking a quality piece of content instead of your homepage.
Many small businesses are concerned with one thing: profitability. Obviously, it’s a big deal to focus on your bottom line. However, if you’re looking to improve your marketing process, you need to take the trouble to analyze every aspect of your operation. From content engagement, to lead generation, to conversion rates –– the more you study yourself the better you’ll be able to identify areas where you can improve, and thus set more beneficial marketing objectives.
Not All Campaigns Are Created Equal
There are a million different ways to market yourself. You can adopt an aggressive approach and up your marketing spend to try and get significant returns quickly. Or you can attempt a more measured method with an emphasis on long-term growth and sustainability. The point is, how you decide to market yourself should affect the way you craft your goals. The amount of time, money, and resources you have to expend on your marketing efforts will often influence how much success your company can reasonably expect to have. Remember, strategies such as SEO take time to bear fruit which should be considered in your planning.
Setting cogent marketing goals is a difficult task, but it’s one worth undertaking. That’s because if you create a marketing strategy that enables your team to focus on relevant and attainable objectives, you’ll increase your chances of attaining overarching goals in the future. As always, a little consultation can go a long way in this effort. Contact the Leap Clixx team today if you’re looking to get more from your marketing department. We understand the unique challenges companies face, and know how to make a significant impact for your business. Want more information on how to implement a better marketing strategy? Download our free guide to inbound marketing best practices: