Develop your small business marketing plan by setting marketing goals

Define Your Marketing Goals

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them.

There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them.

And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.”  Jim Rohn

There are many reasons why small businesses reach out to us. Often they’re looking for help with marketing tactics (they want to improve their social media or get a better return on email marketing) which we can help with. But the best way to improve your marketing results, hands down, is to set marketing goals.

If you try to implement marketing activities without properly defined goals (and the supporting strategies to achieve those goals), you’ll end up with ineffective marketing and poor business results.

The most common questions I get asked about marketing goals which I’ll answer here are;

  • Do I really need a vision apart from giving up the day job and having a really successful business?
  • Do I really need to set goals apart from sales revenue?
  • Are marketing goals really different from business goals?
  • How do I set marketing goals for my business?

Do you need a vision for your business?

Yes – when your vision is clearly defined, it’ll inspire you, give you direction and keep you on course.

Having a clear vision allows you create marketing goals that move you closer to your ideal future. For example, if your vision is to have a business turnover of over €100,000, then your goals need to align with what you need to do to achieve that growth (sales, leads and brand awareness).

Defining your vision and the supporting goals will allow you to;

  • Focus on where you should best spend time, effort and resources. If an opportunity arises that doesn’t help you achieve your goal and get closer to your vision, it is easier to say no to the distraction. Don’t get distracted (a very common thing to happen) – remember not every knock on your door is an opportunity.
  • Streamline your efforts and avoid time wasting projects. Using your vision and goals as a guide, you can get rid of tasks that take you away from those important projects that move you closer to where you want to be.

Developing a small business marketing plan requires that you understand what you are trying to achieve in your business within a set period of time and the activities that will help you get there.

Lots of small businesses pick marketing activities based on what everyone else is doing rather than on what their business needs to be doing to be successful. Lots of marketing activities are effective but are they the right ones for your business at this time? Are they getting you closer to your goals?

What is the difference between business and marketing goals?

Your business goals usually address different elements in your business such as revenue, sales, customer service, operational efficiency or human resources. Marketing goals normally support the revenue and sales business goals.

Marketing goals should address areas such as how to:

  • Drive more business for your products/services
  • Generate better quality inbound leads that turn into customers
  • Increase the awareness of your brand
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Generate more repeat clients
  • Develop a quality brand reputation
  • Increase customer value.

Once you’ve set your marketing goals, you can then define the strategies, projects and tasks needed to accomplish those goals.

How to set marketing goals

Work down from your goals to your strategies, projects, and tasks. Your high level goals can be accomplished through different strategies, all requiring unique projects and their subsequent tasks.

For example, if your marketing goal is to generate €10,000 per month or to attract 3 new clients per quarter, your marketing strategies should be selected to achieve those outcomes.

Then you can define the projects within each strategy and break them down into manageable tasks. Even if you are trying to accomplish more long term goals such as brand awareness and reputation, your projects and the tasks aligning with those goals should be things you can do in next few months.

Set SMART goals

I often come across poorly-defined goals or targets such as “I want more web traffic” or “I want to rank number 1 on Google”. It is easy to say you want more traffic but how much more traffic do you need to achieve your marketing goal – another 500? Another 1,000? A more clearly defined goal such as $10,000 per month or 3 new clients per quarter would suggest an inbound marketing strategy as a way of achieving this. Projects to hit this target could include;

  • Create a new lead magnet that will add 200 new subscribers to your email list and generate 15 qualified, inbound leads per month (assuming you can convert 3 customers from 15 inbound qualified leads)
  • Create and promote one new piece of content per week so that it drives more traffic to your website, leading to 100 new subscribers and 15 qualified inbound leads.
  • Online advertising campaign that will have a set number of click throughs and a set % of conversions.

Your marketing outcome goals and projects need to be measurable and have a time based component.  Understanding an outcome goal for your business helps you focus on the important marketing activities that will get you where you want to be.

Without goals, you run the risk of being unfocused and possibly missing opportunities that could grow your business to a new level. I know you want to jump into the tactics (it’s the fun bit for many business owners) but if you miss this step, you won’t have the clarity.

Get in contact if you need help getting clarity on your business and marketing goals.

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