It's good to set goals, right? Goals give you something to strive for, something to drive you to keep improving and moving forward, and something by which you can measure success. With that being said, we know that when you commit to a marketing plan, you're going to have some goals in mind that you want to achieve which is great but...
I hate to break it to you, but you aren't going to get a 200% increase in social media interaction on Facebook when you only have 10 followers and are only posting every once-in-a-whenever-you-remember. If you want to actually achieve the goals you set, it's not enough to just set a goal or two you think sound nice, you have to put some thought into your goals and turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals.
"Hey, that looks like some kind of acronym!" you're probably thinking. That's because it is some kind of acronym! Check out what it stands for:
It's Important to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
In this acronym, S stands for Specific, M stands for Measurable, A stands for Attainable, R stands for Relevant, and T stands for Timely. These ingredients are a recipe for success because they give you a clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish; once you have a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve, it's easier for you to put together the best plan of action for reaching that goal.
Your goal should be written clearly and concisely, and it should include all relevant details (why the goal is important, who's responsible for the actions related to the goal, which constraints are in place, etc.). The more details you include, the easier it'll be for you to plan for and accomplish.
Your goal should define criteria for measuring progress and what the final results need to be. The most common and easily measurable goals usually center around visits, contacts, and customers, so take some time to record and set company benchmarks so you can have some data to measure against. Or, if you're a brand new company, reference industry benchmarks.
Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach. This is probably my favorite one. It's can be so easy to get caught up in the moment and overestimate how much people love your brand/product/service, and then delusions of grandeur can seep into your goal-setting; making sure your goals are ATTAINABLE keeps you grounded in the real world and can get you REAL results.
Your goal should matter to your business plan and address core initiatives. Why bother setting goals that don't mean anything at the end of the day, or the end of the quarter, or end of the fiscal year? Yes, low hanging fruit is tempting to grab, but think: the tallest giraffes eat the highest leaves. (It appears that that analogy really got away from me.) All I'm saying is just make sure your goals are actually helping you achieve what matters (get more leads), not just what seems easy (send more email newsletters).
You should have an expected date that you will reach the goal. Put the pressure on yourself. Anyone can achieve anything eventually, but you've got to set a date you want to achieve your goal by so you can move on to accomplish even greater things!
Examples of SMART Goals
So, what does a smart goal look like? Let's look at and break down 2 examples:
- Increase social media interaction on Facebook (likes, comments, shares) 5% by the end of the quarter.
- S - Increase social media interaction on Facebook (likes, comments, shares)
- M - 5%
- A - If you see a collective 50 likes, comments, and shares per week, 5% is only 2.5 more interactions per week.
- R - If your business is just starting out and awareness is low, building a social media presence and facilitating interaction can help you build brand awareness, establish your company's voice, and build trust.
- T - By the end of the quarter
- Capture 15 new leads via our online forms (contact, blog subscriptions, newsletter sign ups) in the month of April.
- S - Capture new leads via our online forms (contact, blog subscriptions, newsletter sign ups)
- M - 15 leads
- A - If you're a fairly established business and you average 12 new leads per month, 3 more is capturing less than 1 new lead per week.
- R - Any business can benefit from new leads which they can then nurture into healthy, paying customers.
- T - In the month of April
Framing your goals to be S.M.A.R.T. goals will not only increase your chances of accomplishing what you set out to do, but it will also help you achieve results that will actually make a difference in your business all while keeping your expectations realistic. That's a win-win-win in my book!