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Marketing plans are a never-ending involvement. The industry standards grow and change whenever something new comes up on the market. Your company needs to add ways to retain and grow its customer base and strengthen its brand recognition with each new competitor. With SMART goals, marketing can become almost effortless when you divide it into its constituent parts. Divide and conquer, as they say.
(Side note: One of the best ways to get what you want from life is to create and set SMART goals. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.)
What You Will Learn
What Are SMART Goals?
One of the easiest ways to get lost in planning is to use vague, long-term goals that the company doesn’t have a clear way of following or completing. That’s why SMART goals have quickly become one of the most popular methods of improving leadership and maintaining good habits.
SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.” These pieces join to create a manageable and easy-to-follow plan that can boost productivity and improve company morale by providing a solid foundation for future work. Here’s a rough breakdown of each aspect of a SMART goal:
One of the primary reasons a SMART goal works better is its narrowness. Rather than tackling the problem or project as a whole, specificity calls for handling only one or a few tangible objectives at a time. This way, the marketing plan can be divided into its constituent pieces, and team members have a more precise overview of how to handle the situation.
If you don’t know how fast you’re going, you won’t know when you’ll get somewhere. The same principle applies to any marketing campaign. To ensure the plan can succeed, you need to have a way to track progress and mark milestones.
Luckily, there are many ways to go about this, from free SEO services to more robust consultancy and tracking networks. In other plans, the metric can simply be the number of objectives reached in the goal, such as how many customers were gained in the previous period.
While it helps to go big, setting unrealistic standards will only hurt your planning. For example, if you start with 1,000 Twitter followers and want to increase that number within a few months, creating a plan to multiply that number tenfold will be challenging. On the other hand, a more manageable figure is more likely to be met with enthusiasm.
While planning to improve company morale by increasing the number of vending machines can indirectly improve productivity and sales, it’s usually better to stick to something that will truly grow your company’s marketing efforts. Attainable goals to improve running campaigns from a technical standpoint need to be relevant to the task. See how you can optimize your processes and output by diagnosing what sets them back rather than just how your employees can work better.
The best way to ensure timeliness and prevent procrastination is to set explicit time constraints and schedules. However, keep in mind that the time-bounding aspect will directly influence the goal’s achievability. Having goals that are too stringent and short-term will make you switch lanes every so often, while a goal that is too lax might be too vague to find the right way of tackling it.
By combining these five factors, you can create SMART goals. Marketing is an industry like any other, and success can be easily measured by how often you reach your objectives. Using clear and concise goals that leave minimal margin for error can provide an excellent foundation to build new products and campaigns.
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Marketing
Among the most common reasons marketing campaigns fail, two attributed to planning: unrealistic expectations and misguided objectives. The first aspect is the biggest downfall of new campaigns. When companies don’t have enough starting leverage to grow, they may set impossible standards to achieve, which becomes the cornerstone of future difficulties.
Without an achievable goal, the plan can quickly spiral out of control as there aren’t enough resources or strategies to get to the final objective in time. Furthermore, if the plan’s achievability hinges on time constraints, managers might set vague schedules and milestones that can’t be adequately tracked and won’t align with company growth.
Misguided objectives are another side of the same coin. If a marketing campaign aims to do too many things at once, it might fail on all accounts. For example, relying on a single campaign to increase your brand awareness, improve customer relations, and gain profit can turn it into too ambitious of a goal to track.
SMART goals can subdivide these objectives into clear and concise milestones to follow. By implementing a clear objective and a path to reach it, you can easily communicate what you need to get done and find a way to do it.
6 SMART Goal Examples for Marketing
1. We will increase our social media presence by posting at least three daily Tweets for the upcoming two months. The goal is to increase our Twitter following by 8%. In addition, we will provide educational and industry news content relevant to our industry.
S: This goal is specific to a single social media network and provides a clear avenue of growth: increased Twitter followers.
M: You can measure the campaign’s efficiency by tracking your company’s social media account's number of Twitter followers throughout the plan.
A: This is an achievable plan. Twitter posts are not cumbersome and won’t require a significant branding effort with proper management and social media planning.
R: This is one of the most relevant marketing-based SMART goals. Marketing relies on a powerful branding message, and increasing social media presence and customer interaction are crucial.
T: The time constraint for this plan is two months. Of course, this is only an example, so it’s possible to put a shorter or longer period. Just note its achievability and constraints. With a more aggressive campaign, you need a shorter period.
2. To improve customer interactions, we will redesign all our CTA content on the website. We will also perform A/B testing or outsource this to a company that can provide these services. The goal is to have redesigned and tested CTAs within four months.
S: The goal’s directive is to change the CTAs on the websites to improve customer follow-through.
M: You can measure the improvement through tracking services provided by A/B testing or by tracking how many CTA examples have changed.
A: This is an achievable plan. Companies can use plenty of marketing consulting services to perform CTA testing and improve customer interaction.
R: CTAs are one of the most potent forms of client interaction and allow for effortless tracking of what portions of the offers work and what don’t.
T: The goal’s time constraint is four months. You can typically plan this sort of goal by gauging how long internal or external testing services will take.
3. To get more SEO presence, we will increase the number and efficiency of backlinks from authoritative domains. To achieve this, we will perform an email campaign and provide at least 50 guest posts in the next three months.
S: This goal is to build up your company’s SEO presence and SERP by increasing the number of backlinks from authoritative domains.
M: The campaign manager can measure the goal’s progress via Google’s ranking and tracking methods. They also provide backlinking data.
A: This is an achievable plan. Many websites allow for guest blogging campaigns and allow for one or two backlinks per blog post, which will boost your online presence.
R: Improving the company’s SERP through backlinks can be directly responsible for increasing its authority and online presence in the modern marketing world.
T: The goal is to achieve the allotted blog posts in three months.
4. To reduce our bounce rate, we will improve the SEO on our website and optimize loading speed and performance. The goal is to reduce our loading times and website bandwidth use by at least 10% within three months.
S: While this might seem like a more holistic goal, the specificity lies in improving loading speed and website performance. Other avenues to reduce bounce rates, like improved website UX and searchability, can be tackled via separate SMART goals. In addition, marketing can be easily subdivided into different areas through these goals to improve the overall client experience.
M: You can directly measure the effectiveness of the goal by tracking the website pages’ bounce rates through SEO services.
A: This is an achievable goal, mostly dependant on potential website improvements such as reduced off-site requests and different infrastructure designs.
R: The goal is directly relevant to marketing by increasing the odds customers stay on your webpage and interact with your CTA or sales components.
T: The constraint for this goal is three months. However, this can be easily made into a longer-term task.
5. Our consultancy business needs six additional clients in the next two months. We will obtain them by polling our current clients on how they found our services, implementing a social media outreach campaign, and leveraging our referrals.
S: This plan aims to increase the number of clients the business serves in the upcoming months.
M: You can measure your current client satisfaction and gauge the results of the polling campaign directly. New client discovery and onboarding can also be tracked to ensure you’re hitting the mark.
A: This goal will be achievable based on your current client numbers and referrals.
R: The goal ties marketing with company growth, directly correlating the two aspects of your business.
T: You have two months for this goal to add new clients to the company.
6. We want to improve our branding and Instagram presence. To achieve this, we will increase the number of social media influencers we work with by 10 in the next four months. The final goal is to have at least 50 promoted posts on influencer pages.
S: While this is a multi-pronged goal, it is squarely situated around a single social media platform, leveraging the company’s marketing efforts on external influencer content.
M: You can measure the campaign’s efficacy by tracking the number of promoted posts on influencer accounts and increasing Instagram followers and CTA follow-through rates.
A: This is an achievable goal, provided you have enough support for the project and proper influencer vetting and interactions.
R: The goal is inherently relevant to the long-term goal of increasing your social media presence and brand awareness by using one of the most popular platforms.
T: The goal needs to be reached within four months.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Marketing
By improving your vision with SMART goals, marketing efforts can be turned from multi-faceted problems into clear-cut objectives to follow. The guiding principles of the SMART method might require some time to implement correctly and some effort to fully realize. Improvement is an ongoing process, but using these goals can provide more achievable and meaningful milestones.
If you want to learn more about professional development, check out some of our other posts.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.