If we had a dollar for every time we heard the term ‘SMART goals’ flung about by an marketing strategist… we’d have enough money to trademark the bugger.
In case you’ve had a bit of a brain fade, SMART is an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Which is a handy little memory prompter, but it doesn’t get us very far unless we really understand its applications.
Every business will – or at least, should – have unique goals. So, while we can’t tell you what goals to set, we can teach you how to set them.
And according to Coschedule, it’s absolutely in your best interest to jump aboard the goal setting bandwagon. They found that companies who set goals were 376 per cent more successful than those that did not. 376 per cent!
In this week’s blog we’ll provide tips for setting SMART goals that are specifically geared towards the ambitious digital marketers out there.
If you take ONE thing away from this practice, it’s that vagueness is the villain of SMART goal setting. Specificity is absolutely key, for the following reasons:
- It helps you proceed with clear intentions
- It provides a method to gauge your success by setting benchmarks to meet
- It sets a clear beginning and end to adhere to in reaching your goals
For instance, if I set you the goal of ‘becoming more famous on Instagram’ – would you even know where to begin? Unlikely since the term ‘famous’ is wildly ambiguous. Plus, who even knows what the benchmark to being deemed ‘famous’ is.
On the other hand, let’s say I set you the goal to ‘increase your Instagram follower count by 15% over the next 2 months by increasing post frequency from two to four times per week’. You’re given a specific hoop to shoot for – the follower count. Plus, you know exactly what you need to do to get there.
The remaining SMART components will help solidify the specificity of your goals.
Having measurable goals is absolute crucial to succeed. And it’s as simple as attaching a quantifiable figure to your statement. In the example used above, our measurement was to increase follower count by 10%. In another scenario you may want to increase average view time on your Facebook videos from 1:15 to 1:45 by adding captions to retain attention.
Essentially, you’re building in a way to track and quantify the goal’s progress.
It doesn’t always have to be quantitative. Let’s say you want to improve customer sentiment.
That in itself is a very vague statement, but it’s also hard to quantify with numbers. In this case, customer surveys can be a great tool to collect large samples of qualitative data. Conduct a pre and post intervention survey where customers plot their attitudes on a scale. You can then measure any increase or decrease in sentiment to derive a quantifiable ‘measure’.
‘Achievable’ or ‘attainable’ – depending on what goal-guru you consult – goals should be challenging yet realistic for your employees to achieve.
How do you find that sweet spot? By leaning into your own historical data.
By this, we are of course referring to your performance metrics and marketing analytics. For example, your analytics might tell you that last month your bounce rate dropped from 60% to 57% after you reduced the load time of your landing page.
Going by these figures, a goal to reduce your bounce rate by 15% over the next month is likely not an achievable benchmark to set. Whereas a reduction of 4% is more realistic target for your team to strive for.
Remember – don’t get caught up in where your competitors are at. Keep your gaze inwards to devise goals based on your own abilities and opportunities.
This is essentially the ‘why’ behind the SMART goal you’ve set. Hopefully, your goal aligns with your overall business objectives. In any case, it should be deeply connected to your own company’s performance, not the wider industry.
Your business might be superstars at customer retention, with the bulk of your business coming from return customers. The last thing you want to do is lose sight of this by spontaneously setting the goal to acquire 100 new customers in the coming quarter. Too often we see clients shifting away from what they’re good at doing, to what they think they should be doing.
Rather than a goal focused on new customer acquisition, you might choose to focus on brand affinity. An example could be to increase your Facebook engagement rate by 2% in the next quarter by creating a Facebook community for your customers to interact in.
And finally, let’s set a due date for this assignment – or goal. This puts a sense of urgency behind the practice while also scheduling a date to check in on its progress and success.
The right deadline will tie back into your achievable parameters. It might be a month, it might be a year. For example, one of your SMART goals may be to see a 10% increasing in email sign ups by December 30, by promoting it through socials, website pop ups and email.
Keep in mind that a long term goal of over a year should be broken down into micro-goals. This allows you to stay motivated for your larger goal while ensuring you’re on track with milestone achievements.