If you can clearly articulate the dream or the goal, start. - Simon Sinek
Starting any web marketing campaign or project requires a first step, that surprisingly a lot of businesses overlook or don’t define clearly: setting a goal. Without a goal, or expected end result it’s impossible to measure whether your efforts were successful. With Inbound Marketing, goal setting is the very first step as it defines the roadmap and gives you a clearer path as to how to make sure you reach your desired results. But it’s not just goal setting, it’s SMART goal setting that is key.
What is a smart goal?
It’s a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound and relates to tactics you are implementing to drive website visitors, conversions and new customers (AKA new revenue).
When creating a goal, you want it to be as specific as possible. For example “I want to generate more revenue from my website” isn’t really a goal. It’s a reflection of how you want your website to be a revenue generator. Be specific! “I want my website generated customers to account for 30% more revenue this year.”
Oftentimes, companies say they want to “increase something”. For example: " we want to increase our social media following so more people see our content." While that is a goal, it's not a trackable goal. If you start the new year with 100 Twitter followers and end with 101, technically you have met your goal. But if you switch that goal to read: "we want to increase our social media following by 25%.” Suddenly, you can measure your progress every month to see if you're on track to ultimately jump from 100 to 125 followers. Now you really know you hit your goal -- hopefully it's more ambitious than this example!
Your goals need to be realistic. If in your company history you've generated an average of 10 leads every month, jumping to 2,000 leads per month would be a drastic change. It’s always great to dream big, but if you are realistic about what the true end results can be based on the resources you are dedicating to achieve the goal then you are just setting yourself up for failure.
Why have a goal if the goal doesn't matter? SMART goals will always be ones that drive your company forward or support other defined company strategies and vision.
While meeting the criteria of specific, measurable, attainable and relevant help develop a solid Inbound Marketing goal, you need to ensure that you have a timeline for meeting that goal. This helps you focus your energy on efforts that help you reach that goal and not be distracted by the day-to-day fires and workload.
Goal: I want to increase site traffic
SMART Goal: I want to increase site traffic by 30% by December 2014.
Goal: I want my generate more leads from my website
SMART GOAL: I want to increase our website leads from 25 per month to 45 per month by December 2014.
Setting SMART goals is the first step for inbound success. Having the strategy and plans to meet that goal is the next step, along with regular metric reporting and analysis to know if you are on track. Have you tackled goal setting with your business? If you need to take a step back to see the big picture of your plans to drive business with your website, take a look at our free inbound marketing assessment service. Sometimes you have to take a couple steps back to get where you need to be!
Photo Credit: innovategov.org