Marketing results are only as good as the goals you set. Without a clear objective, the campaign turns into a random set of tactics to no defined end.
Setting marketing goals may seem complex at first. What metrics do we care about? How do we ensure we set reasonable targets? These questions and more can be daunting, but with a little strategy, goal setting can be streamlined into a highly productive process. It can build the framework, making the strategy easier to implement and keeping the entire team on the same page.
SMART goal setting is an efficient approach to creating a clear campaign plan while bringing goals in line with the company's needs. Let's take a closer look at what SMART goals are and how you should go about setting them.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART is a goal-setting framework:
- S — Specific — a focused and tangible outcome
- M — Measurable — a definitive way to track results
- A — Achievable — a challenging but reasonable ask given your current resources
- R — Relevant — aligns with your values, business needs, and long-term objectives
- T — Timely — a clear timeline, milestones, and deadlines to reach your goal
Examples of SMART marketing goals are:
- 1,000 leads per month by December 2020
- Achieve a 10% increase in page views per month by January 2021
The key to setting SMART goals is clarity. The more specific you are about a goal, the easier it is to design a plan for achieving it. If your goal isn't time-bound or doesn't have specific numbers attached to it, your team members will have a tough time understanding how to achieve it in the most efficient manner possible.
Here are the key seven steps to setting SMART goals for your marketing campaign.
1. Identify the Metrics
Identifying the right metrics is the most important part of SMART goal settings. They can help you measure the progress and take the campaign in the right direction. The metrics you choose will depend on your company's needs and the state of the current marketing effort. Here are some examples of metrics that might make sense for your team.
For marketing goals:
- Leads converted
- MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) generated
- SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) generated
For marketing and sales goals:
- Number of new leads
- Close rate
- Created opportunities
For service goals:
- Retention rate
- Churn rate
- New revenue from existing customers
- Lifetime value targets
By identifying the main KPIs and matching them to your goals, you can build a clear plan for your team to follow. KPIs for digital marketing to consider are:
- Natural social shares of content
- Branded and non-branded SEO traffic
- Bounce rate
- Form submissions
- Funnel abandonment rate
- Client loyalty
The more metrics you can develop, the easier it will be to measure your success and move toward achieving the top goals.
2. Gather Historical Data
To understand how realistic your goals are, you need to look back at the history of your marketing efforts. If, in the past year, you only managed to achieve 100 page views per month, reaching 1,000 views in a quarter is probably out of your league.
Take the metrics identified for your goals, go back at least a year, and compare monthly values. Even if you plan to change the entire marketing strategy, you are unlikely to achieve a 900 percent increase in page views or conversions in the nearest future.
3. Evaluate Current and Upcoming Efforts
To set a SMART goal, you need to keep in mind which marketing efforts you have planned. For example, if you are launching a paid ad campaign, you can expect a sharp rise in generated leads. Then, it's reasonable to adjust that particular metric.
While looking at the historical data, analyze the spikes in values to see what worked for you in the past. If you plan to implement a set of tactics that generated highly visible results, it's likely to reflect on the goals.
4. Determine a Realistic Target
When it comes to setting goals, consider aiming for an increase of five percent to 10 percent on a monthly or quarterly basis. That's usually much more realistic than coming up with a specific figure greater than what you've managed to achieve in the past.
For example, if the page traffic increased by five percent last month, setting a goal of a 25 percent increase for next month may be unrealistic. Aim for an eight percent increase instead. For some goals, a month may not be enough time to gauge success. You may want to consider quarterly timelines with monthly milestones to track progress.
Setting unachievable goals is one of the critical mistakes marketers make with SMART goals. Even the best marketing campaigns can “fail” when measured against unrealistic performance expectations.
5. Assign a Goal Owner
Accountability is an integral part of the SMART goal-setting framework - you maximize your chances of success by assigning someone on your team to be responsible for each goal. While this particular person doesn't need to do all the work, it’s their responsibility to manage the process and report the progress.
Assigning a goal owner will go a long way when aligning your sales and marketing teams. A responsible team member can recruit other departments to help achieve the goal on time and inform which strategies make a difference in achieving goals.
6. Do the Math
To see how realistic your goal setting is, you need to do the math. While a 10 percent increase in revenue looks great on paper, it may not be attainable no matter how hard your marketing team plans to work.
For example, if your goal is to achieve a $50,000 revenue from your marketing efforts, you need to attract 5,000 visitors, bring in 300 leads, and convert ten prospects in the next three months.
Is it something your marketing team can achieve if it only converted four prospects in the past three months? Doing the math and seeing real numbers can help you set specific, realistic, and attainable goals.
7. Set Up Your Tracking
Tracking your progress is the key to achieving SMART goals. Using tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Analytics can show you real-time and historical data of your performance so far. Set up a spreadsheet with milestone dates to see your progress toward your goals and how the numbers change over time.
Using a tracking system doesn't just help you see progress but simplifies accountability and keeps all team members on the same page.
SMART Goal Setting Streamlines Your Marketing Effort
Learn how Beacons Point will help you reach your goals through the 30-day Inbound Blueprint.