The start of a new year is a good time to evaluate performance and set goals for the next twelve months.
Focused consideration of which areas of your business you are targeting for improvement and setting goals that are measurable are the keys to success.
In other words, goals that follow the SMART template. When you set SMART goals, you can check periodically on your progress, make any necessary tweaks, and precisely assess your performance at the end of the year.
Make it relevant
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive. The “Relevant” criteria might be the best place to start when determining your marketing goals for the new year.
What areas of your marketing do you want to focus on in 2018? What would be the most impactful marketing improvements for your business? What marketing initiatives would be most helpful to your customers?
Answering these questions will result in goals that are highly relevant to your business and your marketing success.
Setting relevant goals also means being honest about where you are. Understanding your website traffic over the past several months, for example, will help you set realistic benchmarks for 2018.
Aggressive goals are great motivators, but goals that are too lofty may lead to frustration if benchmarks aren’t met.
Also understand the resources you will be bringing to the table for marketing in 2018. Set goals that are in line with your marketing budget and personnel.
Make it measurable
Once you have determined the goal-setting areas that are most relevant to your success, make sure your goals are measurable. Use specific, objective benchmarks such as “increase my Facebook following to 1,000 people by the end of the April.”
Including an end date is a critical component to a measurable goal. Avoid goals that are open-ended.
Identify your strategies and tactics
Now that you have specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive goals, what are the strategies and tactics will you use to achieve them?
Strategies and tactics have slightly different meanings in the context of marketing goals. Let’s say your goal is to increase your website conversion rate - the ratio of your website visitors who supply their contact information by filling out a contact form - from 5 percent to 15 percent by the end of the year.
A good strategy for achieving this goal would be to re-evaluate the way your web pages are designed to optimize conversions.
A tactic that falls under that strategy might be to change the placement of your call-to-action, or to reduce the number of fields you are asking people to complete.
Check in and tweak
Why wait until the end of the year to determine if you’ve reached your annual marketing goals? If you’ve designed goals in a measurable way, a quarterly check-in will provide valuable information.
Tweak your strategies and tactics if you are not seeing results, or consider modifying your goal to make it more realistic. Periodic evaluations will keep miscalculations from lingering and affecting your entire marketing year.
Set yourself up for a great 2018 by setting the marketing goals that are most impactful for your business. If you make them measurable, choose good strategies, and are open to mid-year tweaks, you will have a successful year!
Thanks for reading,