Every business that invests in marketing needs goals. Without them, you don’t know if your marketing efforts are having an impact.
Goals help you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and can tell you whether to invest more in a certain channel and less in another. They can also be used to benchmark your strategies and help you set better goals for other campaigns. Unfortunately, setting marketing goals can be confusing for small business owners. But, if you haven’t already set goals, now is the time.
Here are tips for helping you set marketing goals for the new year.
Define your target audience
Before you set your marketing goals, you must know the people you’re trying to target with your promotions.
Knowing your audience can help you set up more effective marketing strategies, allowing you to target specific customer segments to offer more personalized campaigns.
But how does defining your target audience help you set goals? Most importantly, it tells you the types of actions your customers take. For example, if you sell pet products online and your target audience is pet parents, you could include goals like views on product pages, number of items per purchase, customer loyalty, and sales.
Set SMART Goals
Your marketing goals should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Let’s break down the features of SMART goals to give you a better understanding of the concept.
- Specific: Your goal should center around a clearly defined metric. For example, if you want to increase leads, your goal shouldn’t just be to increase leads. Instead, it should be to increase leads by a specific amount.
- Measurable: You’ll use first or third-party data to track your marketing goals, so you must choose the metric that aligns with the goal. For example, to increase conversions, you’ll measure sales, form submissions, contact button clicks, and whatever else you define as a conversion for your site.
- Attainable: When setting goals, you must be realistic. While this might seem obvious, many businesses set goals they couldn’t achieve in their given time frame. Look at past data to determine what a realistic goal looks like. For example, if you receive 100 phone calls every month, you can’t expect that number to increase to 1,000 in a short amount of time.
- Relevant: All of your goals should be relevant and align with your objectives. For example, if you are using an API or e-commerce you may want to consider providing top notch security for your customers and brand.
- Time-based: You should set an end date for when you’ll achieve your goals. Of course, your timeframe will vary based on your objectives, but having a time-based goal is crucial because it tells you when to stop measuring and start analyzing to identify what you could have done better.
Understand your business goals
For marketing to be successful, it must align with the overall goals of the business, which means communicating with various stakeholders to address various needs. For example, maybe your goal as a marketer is to increase website traffic, but how does this improve the business in some way?
Ultimately more website traffic means increased brand awareness and the potential to convert more visitors into customers.
These objectives make a meaningful impact on the overall business, so when setting goals, make sure they’re relevant to the overall success of it. Unfortunately, the marketing team doesn’t set business goals, so you must understand the overarching business goals. If you’re unsure, meeting with key stakeholders can help.
Outline your marketing goals
Now that you know what SMART goals are, you can begin to collaborate on outlining your goals by writing them out. Each should include the who, what, where, and when of the goals. For example, you might say, “We will reach 200 leads by March.”
Once you’ve outlined your goals, you can begin mapping them out to see how they align with the various stages of your marketing funnel. The basic structure of the funnel consists of Discovery, Consideration, and Purchase.
Discovery refers to brand awareness and people learning about and discovering your business. Consideration is the middle of the funnel when the customer is learning about the brand, product, or service and is considering whether you offer the right solution for them, and purchase is more obvious and refers to when you close the deal.
You should determine goals for each stage of the funnel, focusing on metrics that center around brand awareness at the top of the funnel and conversions at the bottom.
Measure and analyze
It’s one thing to set goals but completely different to reach them. To understand whether your marketing efforts are helping you work toward your goals, you have to measure them. You’ve already chosen metrics you’ll use to measure your campaigns, but you must measure them over a period of time. Consider revisiting them every month to review the progress you’ve made. For example, if your goal is to increase leads, you should track leads per week, month, and year to determine the period-over-period change. If your marketing efforts are working, you should see some changes over time.
Once you’ve reached the deadline or your goals, revisit all your campaigns to determine their effectiveness. With the metrics you’ve viewed over time, you should be able to determine which tactics yielded the best results.
While reviewing your goals to ensure you’ve achieved them after the deadline is crucial, you should measure your goals beforehand to ensure you can make timely changes and improve your efforts. With digital marketing, you can make real-time changes to various campaigns to ensure their outcomes.
Setting marketing goals requires data skills to ensure you not only set realistic goals but can measure your efforts throughout each campaign. If you’re not measuring your data, you won’t be able to determine whether each campaign or tactic is actually working.
However, with the right data, you can set goals and achieve them, enabling better business decisions and ensuring the marketing department is using its budget wisely.
About the author
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.