In business, successful people measure their success based on the goals they’ve set for themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are freelancers, oil tycoons or even athletes. So why is it that so many small businesses lack a focused goal? When we ask small business owners what their goals are they’ll commonly respond with something like “I want more business.”
Saying you want more business is not a measurable goal. Saying you want to convert 30% more online leads through the website within the next 12 months; that is a clear, focused goal that you can measure successfully. The way you can start defining these target-based objectives is by establishing some SMART goals.
What are SMART Goals?
The first step of our client onboarding process is to have a SMART goal planning and strategy meeting to identify your Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound goals. These goals will let you know in the end if all of this inbound marketing work has proven effective and that you made the right choice. Part of this is done by taking your past performance and finding deficiencies and improvements that we can set goals against.
During this meeting and throughout the project it’s important to discuss and develop a set of personas for your organization that will ensure all content and objectives are set to the right audience, ensuring success and a full sales funnel.
These discussions are also a place to strategize for things like what social media services will reach your personas as well as site design, structure, blog frequency, offer types, landing pages, calls to action, etc. By measuring and weighing these goals we ensure that time is spent on the right things to get visitors and leads for your brand.
Once you’ve established your SMART goals you can begin putting together a plan to get there.
“A goal without a plan is a wish.” – French writer Antoine de Saint Exupéry
So Let’s set an Example SMART Goal
Let’s pretend we’re an insurance company. the SMART acronym says we need to start with a Specific and Measurable achievement:
“Obtain $100 billion in new automotive insurance clients in the Moncton area.”
Great start. We’ve set a clear achievement for the business and attached a number that we can measure against. The next part of the acronym asks us if this is an Attainable goal. Now as far as I know, none of the 20 richest sultans in the world have been driving their solid gold Bentleys around Southeastern New Brunswick lately.
So $100 billion is probably out of reach. But $1 million is almost certainly realistic. Our SMART goal is now “obtain $1 million in new automotive insurance clients in the Moncton area.” We’re getting there. The next part of the SMART acronym asks us if this is a Relevant goal. For this we need to examine the market. Moncton is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Canada, so we know there’s a large number of new people arriving each year. It’s also a town that relies heavily on vehicles to get around. New auto sales are up. Have there been any new competitors set up shop lately? No? Great! Our goal is still Relevant to the realities of the market.
Finally, any business goal needs to have a Time frame tied to it for it to be effective. So what kind of time frame are we looking at?
“Obtain $1 million in new automotive insurance clients in the Moncton area within the next 12 months.”
Perfect. Now that we have a clear, measurable objective we can start breaking that goal down into smaller specific sets of tasks to accomplish this goal.
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