Goals are the entire reason you have a marketing strategy. They’re also a driving force, guiding your business through decision-making. Set your goals too high and you’ll end up disappointed. If you set your goals too low, you limit your potential. Striking the right balance means setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive) goals. What does that mean for your business?
What Are SMART Goals?
Every year, businesses create new goals to guide their brand vision and foster brand growth. At the same time, those goals alone are too broad. The best goals are specific; rather than seek to “gain more customers”, look to increase your return customer rate by 10%. Instead of making your goal “to foster brand growth”, look to boost social media engagement by 20%. The important distinction is that specific-and measurable-goals leave little to interpretation. If your goal is to sell X amount of a particular product, you’ll know at the end of the year whether you achieved that goal simply by reviewing sales data.
According to a 2020 report from Clutch, just 5% of small businesses achieved all their goals over the past 12 months. At the same time, 65% of small businesses achieved at least half of their goals. What does that tell you? While there’s no limit to how many goals your business should have, most-if not all-should be achievable. There’s no harm in reaching for the stars, but if your business is consistently failing to achieve its goals, it sets a precedent for a discouraging culture.
Setting relevant goals means goals that matter to you and your business. Relevant goals align with the positioning of your brand and make sense, n where your brand starts in the marketplace. For example, you may wish to assert yourself as the dominant brand in your market-but is it the right time? More importantly, does it fit in with the rest of your goals?
Finally, your goals can’t be open-ended. Every goal needs a deadline. It gives your business something to work towards and can even incentivize your staff. At the same time, setting time-sensitive goals helps you prioritize what matters now and what can be handled tomorrow. Setting SMART goals will not only help your business stay more organized, but it can help lead to a more well-defined vision for your brand.
Do They Really Work?
A 2014 study by Michigan State University found 76% of participants who outlined SMART goals achieved their goals, a 33% increase over those with unwritten or disorganized goals. There’s inherent value in taking the time to brainstorm and analyze the most applicable, well-organized goals for your brand.
Businesses set themselves up for failure by setting goals that are general, value, or broad. Doing so outlines no clear direction and almost guarantees failure. Say for example, your goal is to “be the best brand in your industry.” That goal is neither specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, nor time-sensitive. It’s completely up for interpretation, meaning you already failed.
In a nutshell, setting SMART goals helps you figure out which goals are worth achieving in the first place. It will also help you more closely understand how your business is doing. Start setting the right goals for your business today and watch how your brand grows!