“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you’re inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act on them. — Jim Rohn
The best way to improve your marketing results is to set marketing goals.
When companies try to implement marketing activities without properly defined goals and supporting strategies to achieve those goals, the result is ineffective marketing and dismal business results. Without goals that can be tracked and measured, how will you know if you are succeeding?
Do you have a vision for your business?
Your vision is what you want your business to look like at some point in the future. When clearly defined, your vision becomes a beacon that inspires you, directs you, and keeps you on track.
Having a clear vision allows you to create marketing goals that bring you closer to your ideal future. If you find that you have goals that you never achieve, the problem may not be the goal. The problem may be that the lens is not aligned with your vision.
For example, if your vision is to:
- Grow your business into a $3 million company with 30 employees, and then your goals should align with what you need to do to achieve that growth.
- Create a lifestyle business that offers select services to small business owners, then your goals will be compatible with remaining independent.
Relationship between vision and goals
Defining your vision and accompanying goals gives you the tools to make decisions more easily and with more certainty. Now you can:
- Focus on where you spend your time, effort and resources. If an opportunity presents itself that isn’t helping you reach your goal and move closer to your vision, it’s easier to say no to the distraction. If, however, the opportunity helps point you in the right direction, you can choose to add it to your projects and tasks.
- Streamline your efforts and avoid wasted time. Using your vision and goals as a compass, you can decide if you’re doing the right thing at the right time for your business. It helps you eliminate tasks that take you away from important projects that bring you closer to where you want to be.
Why set sales and marketing objectives?
Develop a effective marketing plan requires you to understand what you are trying to accomplish in your business in a limited amount of time and initiate the activities that will help you get there.
Unfortunately, most small businesses determine marketing activities based on what others are doing rather than what their business needs to do to be successful. Selection of marketing strategies such as advertising on Facebook, Google Ads, content marketing, social media, and email marketing are all effective marketing strategies. But are they the right ones for your business?
Let me ask. How? ‘Or’ What:
- Are you measuring success if you haven’t set goals?
- Should you allocate resources – time and money – to the right activities if you don’t know if they will lead you to your vision?
- Will you know when to adjust what you’re doing if you can’t measure its success?
Having clear goals guiding your efforts allows you to make choices:
- What should I work on today?
- Does this activity bring me to my vision?
- What can I eliminate from my to-do list?
- What activities can I outsource to free up more time to do what’s important to growing my business?
Whenever you’re faced with a new opportunity to add another item to your list, ask yourself these questions. You may find that you can better manage your to-do list, eliminate non-essential tasks, and achieve your goals successfully.
What is the difference between sales and marketing objectives?
Your business goals can relate to many different elements of your business, such as revenue, sales, customer service, operational efficiency, or human capital. Marketing goals will normally support revenue and sales business goals. Some can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time. Others may take longer to achieve the desired result.
Marketing objectives should address areas such as:
- Generate more business for your products and services
- Generate higher quality inbound leads that turn into customers
- Increase your brand awareness
- Get more repeat customers.
- Develop a quality brand reputation
Once you’ve defined your marketing goals, you can now define the strategies, projects, and tasks needed to achieve those goals.
How to set marketing goals
I like to set up a hierarchy of goals -> strategies -> projects -> tasks. High-level goals can be achieved through different strategies, all of which require unique projects and their subsequent tasks.
If, for example, your bottom line goal is to generate $10,000 per month from your signature service or attract 3 new clients per quarter, your marketing strategies should be selected to achieve those results.
Then you can define the projects within each strategy and break them down into manageable tasks. Even if you’re trying to achieve longer-term goals like brand awareness and reputation, your projects and tasks aligned with those goals should be things you can do in 90 days.
Trying to create a marketing plan beyond 90 days is futile. The market and the landscape change too quickly to try to plan so far in advance. You want to remain flexible and adjust your marketing activities according to your results and the evolution of the market.
Set quantifiable and measurable goals
Let’s choose inbound marketing as the strategy to hit your bottom line goal of $10,000 per month or 3 new customers per quarter. Your projects can be:
- Create a new lead magnet that will add 200 new subscribers to my internal mailing list and generate 15 qualified inbound leads per month.
- Create and promote one new piece of content per week so it drives more traffic to our website, leading to 100 new subscribers and 15 qualified inbound leads.
- Develop and promote one webinar per quarter that results in 50 warm leads and generates $5,000 in revenue through our signature service.
Note that your marketing results goals and projects are measurable and have a time component. Achieving these goals now becomes an exercise in defining the detailed tasks and resources needed to achieve the desired results.
Understanding your unique outcome goal for your business helps you focus on the important marketing activities that will get you where you want to be. Without goals, you run the risk of wandering aimlessly throughout the year, losing focus, and missing opportunities that could elevate your business to a new level.