How to Set SMART Marketing Goals That Translate to Sales
Setting goals using SMART criteria when preparing for your inbound marketing can make or break your plan’s success. Inbound marketing requires a methodical approach in order to be successful and drive sales or any other specific goals. That’s where SMART criteria come in. They help prioritize work, monitor progress and make it possible to identify which points are in need of improvement. So here’s our approach of setting SMART marketing goals for an effective inbound marketing plan.
The SMART Criteria
The SMART criteria serve as a guide in setting objectives that are easy to understand, carry out, and monitor. They are a ubiquitous method used throughout a host of varying principles, in order to set goals in most any type of scenario. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
“Specific” refers to avoiding ambiguity and communicating clearly all critical aspects of a goal such as what needs to be done, why is it required, who should do it, and when and how should they do it. “Measurable” means that a goal should have clearly defined criteria in order to assign a numerical value corresponding to its progress, usually a percentage of the current progress against the final goal. “Attainable” simply refers to set realistic goals that are within your reach in relation to your means and resources. “Relevant” specifies that any set goal should directly relate to a core aspect of your business. Lastly “Timely” means setting a satisfactory due date or duration for each goal. To help you set SMART marketing goals you can request a free one-on-one session with our marketing strategist.
Setting Your Goals
The trick to setting marketing goals is converting them to numbers, committing to carrying them out, and monitoring their progress. Buzzwords like “engagement”, “visits”, or “conversions” can be ambiguous and unclear. This can result in confusion over what exactly needs to be done. What’s even worse is when these buzzwords are used to justify their own shortcomings. The solution is that by using SMART criteria, even abstract terms can be easily flipped into goals. Defining, for example, the goal to “increase conversions” as “X% increase of website visitors that proceeded to fill-in an interest form within the period of next quarter” immediately turns this vague statement to an actionable marketing goal.
Prioritizing Your Goals
Of the many goals that can be set for marketers, the most recurring ones are increasing visits, working on contacts, and acquiring customers. We believe that companies need to assess their current state and focus on just one of these accordingly. Firstly, if you are just starting off with your website or already have good conversion rates, you should focus on increasing your visits to ramp up your business. Secondly, if you have enough traffic but are not getting enough sales leads, you should focus on working on your contacts. Lastly, focus on customer conversion if you have enough traffic to your website. Visitors show interest in your products and services converting to leads, but just don’t proceed to purchase and becoming paying customers.
Determining Key Inbound Marketing Metrics
When setting for measurable goals, it is important to be able to determine a key metric for each one. Then, compare this key metric to a pre-set benchmark. Of course, the list of different metrics can be endless, since it’s dependent on the goal. However, we’ve found that it helps to have certain metrics in mind when setting your inbound marketing goals. With regards to blog posts, these are CTA (Call To Action) clicks, overall blog page views, number of shares on social media, and number of inbound links. When setting up email metrics, key metrics to watch are open & click rate, delivery rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate. For measuring the effectiveness of content offers, it’s important to monitor the number of landing page visits, the readers to leads conversion rate, and social media shares.
Creating Your Plan
So you have set your SMART marketing goals, prioritized them according to your company’s current needs, and determine key metrics for each one. Now it is time to put it all together into an actionable plan to follow and implement. Consider this plan as a tool to assist you in concentrating all of your inbound marketing efforts around a single ultimate goal, and help you achieve it.
It helps to break down your plan into three main activity sections: attracting, converting, and closing. Firstly, attracting customers involves optimizing your marketing materials and web pages, defining your target demographic, crafting your message, and developing an ad framework by choosing the appropriate media and ad types. Secondly, for converting customers it helps having defined a clear conversion path to an offer, such as CTA, landing page, follow up emails, and top of the funnel offer. Lastly, closing a customer requires some type of marketing automation system, segmentation to specific groups, optimizing web pages, having appropriate content offers, and sending the right emails at the right time. These three sections are in line with the three sections mentioned in our one-page marketing plan article.
Taking Your Inbound Marketing to the Next Level
A lot can be achieved through setting and implementing a good marketing plan yourself. However, B2B companies have to keep up with the increasingly competitive industry landscapes and their specialized needs. This is why most B2B companies have the tendency to drift attention to core operations rather than focusing on marketing efforts. We at StepUp have been helping b2b companies and industrial manufacturers in strategizing, planning, and implementing their inbound marketing efforts, while they focus on their bottom line and core operations. Contact us to claim your discovery session on how to create and implement a positive ROI digital marketing growth plan for 2020.
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