Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. -Tony Robbins
To succeed at anything, we need to know where we are starting from. That's why our marketing efforts have to start with a baseline measurement of our current performance. But just as important as setting that foundational measurement is setting goals that we can look and work towards. Without something to aim for, our marketing will become disorganized at best, frantic at worst. Knowing where we're going is the first step to figuring out how to get there, which is why setting marketing objectives is an essential part of your inbound strategy development.
Right now, you probably have some idea as to your inbound marketing goals. You know you want more leads, for instance, or more visitors to your website. But those vague yearnings are not going to get you very far.
So how can you set marketing objectives that make sense but still challenge you and your team? Keep reading to find out.
Step 1: Visualize Your Success
Why did you start developing an inbound strategy in the first place? What did you hope it would do for your business? Before you can set a goal, you have to imagine what success looks like. It might sound a little silly, but it can work. Did you imagine your business growing? Expanding to new markets? Maybe you have been saying all along that you need more visitors to your site, but what you imagine is attracting more high-value customers so that you can give each sale the attention it deserves.
This vision will inform your ultimate, attainable goals.
Step 2: Assess Current Data
Before you can decide where you're going, you need to know where you've been. As HubSpot points out, inbound marketing objectives tend to fall into one of three categories:
- - Attracting more visitors,
- - Converting more visitors to leads
- - Converting more leads to customers.
Before you settle on your ultimate objective, collect the data you have in these three categories and look at how it is trending.
Step 3: Get SMART
A SMART goal is one that is:
For a thorough explanation of the SMART criteria, including information about its first appearance, check out Wikipedia.
Think through the first steps of this tutorial, and your overall inbound strategy development, and use that information to brainstorm some goals that meet the SMART criteria. From that list choose the ones that most clearly lead you to your vision for the future of your business.
Step 4: Write it Down
When you have taken the time to consider the marketing objectives that make the most sense to you, it is essential that you write them down. If you've already signed up for HubSpot, they make it easy to enter your goals directly from the dashboard. If not, be sure to keep a document with the specifics of your goals where you will see and refer to it regularly.
Step 5: Set a Deadline
Part of SMART goal setting includes timeliness. If you want to attract a certain number of visitors but do not give yourself a deadline, you could technically achieve your goal but it might take months or years. Instead, put a date on the calendar that you can see on the horizon. Whether that means a month or quarter, you need to have a deadline for your objectives.
Step 6: Allocate Resources
You cannot expect to encourage new results with the same tactics. Before you set off on achieving your goals, you must be sure that you can commit fresh resources - namely people and time - to achieving your goals. Figure out the best team for your objectives, and you'll go far.
In future blog posts, we'll talk about breaking your goals into tasks and taking steps to achieve, measure, and celebrate your results. For now, feel assured that you are on your way to developing a successful inbound marketing strategy and creating the business you want.