Every successful inbound marketing strategy Human Marketing has led begins with the same chief cornerstone: SMART goals. Creating goals is like using a map to get to a treasure chest. You'll only know where to begin if you know where you're headed.Surprisingly, most businesses don't have any clue what their goals are or where to start. Let's be honest. Mapping out your goals can seem daunting, whether they're business or personal.
If you're not setting the right type of goals, you're not intelligently measuring your marketing efforts.
Can I share my success with you? Every SMART goal I've set for both businesses and myself has been accomplished. Setting SMART goals is an exercise that should be repeated and evaluated yearly, quarterly, monthly and even weekly.
Think about it this way: There is nothing more discouraging for an employee than being given a completely unattainable goal from his or her superior. Goals should motivate and excite those who are reaching for them.
Here's why SMART goals are important:
- They give you a framework to craft your marketing plan.
- They're benchmarks to measure marketing ROI and performance.
- If you're not hitting the goals, that's a cue you need to change either the strategy or the goal.
What Are SMART Goals?
You may be wondering what "SMART" stands for in "SMART Goals" and how to apply it to your business.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Below each topic are smart goals examples to guide your goals this year.
S = Specific
Specificity is key to actually achieving your goals. Imagine if you were invited to a party but weren't told where it was located. You'd have a really hard time getting there. The same is true with your business goals. The more specific you are with creating goals, the clearer the path is to achieve them. "I want to grow my business" is not a specific goal.
An example of a specific goal: "I want to increase online sales leads."
M = Measurable
For your goals to be "smart," you need to be able to hold yourself accountable to them. Every goal you set should have some kind of measurable benchmark associated with it. Let's take a specific goal and add a benchmark to it.
An example of a specific and measurable goal: "I want to increase online sales leads by 500%."
A = Attainable
Attainability is key in constructing smart goals. This is where SMART goals start to get smart. Taking a hard look at the attainability of your goals forces you to be honest about where your business is so you can start customizing goals to your unique business case. By thinking through the attainability of your goals, you can reverse engineer these objectives and understand how to best reach them.
An example of a specific, measurable and attainable goal: "I want to increase online sales leads by 500% from my inbound marketing efforts."
R = Realistic
Attainability dovetails nicely into the "R" part of "SMART": being realistic. Our prior example was specific and measurable, but is increasing sales leads by 500% realistic? For some businesses, perhaps it is. While being ambitious is healthy for any business, being realistic is equally important.
An unrealistic goal looks like this: "I want my ecommerce business to grow from $0 to $1 million in revenue in its first year." If you want your ecommerce business to boom in year 1, you've got to be prepared to spend a pretty penny on advertising.
An example of a specific, measurable, attainable and realistic goal: "I want to increase online sales leads by 300% from my inbound marketing efforts."
T = Timely
The final piece of the SMART goal puzzle is timeliness. Making your goals time-sensitive is one of the most important components of successful goals. If you don't have a deadline for your goals, you won't be able to construct a plan to work backward to achieve them.
If we want to increase sales leads by 300% in the next 6 months, we can say each month should bring a 50% increase to hit 300% in month 6. That 50% increase will become a monthly benchmark to measure our efforts.
If we're not driving 50% more online sales leads each month, perhaps our goal isn't realistic or attainable. If we're surpassing that monthly benchmark, then maybe we need to increase our goal. Either way, creating a monthly benchmark for your goals holds you accountable to business outcomes and signals whether you need to revisit your goals.
An example of a SMART Goal: "I want to increase online sales leads by 300% from my inbound marketing efforts in the next 6 months."
SMART goals take practice and experimentation. That's why we're providing you with this SMART goals worksheet to get you started:
For further help setting your goals, check out these resources: