Setting your digital marketing objectives is the first step in any digital marketing campaign. Without them, you lack the ability to focus and be targeted with your work. You won’t know if a campaign has been successful or not and you have no way to calculate the return on investment correctly.
Yet clear digital marketing objectives are few and far between.
How many times have you heard someone say they need more visitors to their website or more social media followers? Or even I just need more sales? I hear this regularly when speaking to people about their marketing objectives for the first time.
The problem is objectives like these are too vague, they provide no information to guide the process and are either too easy to complete or impossible to achieve. Would 1 new visitor or follower do or are we talking 1 million?
When it comes to setting marketing objectives, it’s hard to know where to start, or it’s thought to be too difficult. It doesn’t have to be the case.
In this article, we’re going to teach you about SMART marketing objectives, what they are, and how to write them to get your digital marketing campaigns off to a great start.
What are smart marketing objectives?
SMART marketing objectives is a method used to set goals for your business marketing or campaign. SMART goals are used across business disciplines to set realistic, achievable goals that can easily be measured, improved and built on overtime. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
Without marketing objectives…
• Your team do their best but pull in different directions, slowing your organisation’s growth.
• Your team feel deflated when they can’t see the results of their efforts and aren’t motivated to achieve more next month or quarter.
• Your team rely on micromanagement to know what tasks to do, how and when to do them. This puts a lot of additional strain on you and slows down the growth of your business.
Setting SMART goals alleviates the pressure and keeps your whole team on track.
It helps to write your marketing objectives down in a smart goal sheet template. This way you can easily track your progress and success.
1. Why set SMART marketing objectives?
Setting marketing objectives isn’t like your new years’ resolution, there’s actually a point to setting marketing objectives. According to CoSchedule’s survey of over 3,599 marketers, marketers who write down clear goals and objectives are 376% more likely to report success than those who don’t.
The truth is that setting goals and actually writing them down goes a long way towards achieving your overall objectives.
Using SMART goals takes this one step further. By making your goals SMART, you create a clear, trackable process and encourage positive feelings within your team as you see those goals being achieved. SMART goals help to add a sprinkle of gamification in your marketing department, which can only be a positive thing.
2. Be Specific – Target an Area for Improvement
When setting smart goals, select a specific goal. Your goal should be easily defined to set you up for success.
Consider your organisation’s broad overarching business goals when determining the goal you’d like to set for your marketing objectives. Select a goal that you’d like to improve upon that will directly help your business grow.
For example, if you want to increase the visits to your website saying “I want more visitors to my website” isn’t going to be specific enough. There are many ways to bring people to your website, through search, social, mouth to mouth etc.. Instead try “I want to increase our search engine traffic by 15% over the next 3 months”. This has provided more information about what you’d like to achieve giving your team a clearer understanding of the tasks they now need to put in place to achieve your goal.
3. Identify How You Will Measure Success From the Start
Measurable goals are essential to show how far you have come and if that target has been hit or not. Without measurable marketing objectives, you will not be able to track the return on investment in your marketing efforts. Help yourself by writing a goal that has a clear metric of success.
Measures of success in marketing goals can range from email signups to website sessions. Pick a goal with numbers so you can prove the success of your campaign. For example, in our previous statement, we point out that we are aiming for a 15% increase over a period of 3 months. We can track how successful we have been using analytics, each month, we can look at what growth we have had and if we’re on track to reach our goal. In month 3, we can look back and assess what did and didn’t work. From there we can set our goals for the next period.
Free tools like Google Analytics or social media platform metrics are helpful ways to create benchmarks for your measurable goals. Use these tools to measure your KPIs (key performance indicators) along the way.
4. Be Realistic, Make Your Marketing Objectives Achievable
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure your SMART goals are realistic and achievable during your set time frame. Remember that it’s okay to start small.
Make your goal attainable and not aspirational. Work your way up to the bigger goals, by proving success along the way. Select KPIs that are in-line with your previous marketing efforts.
Use current benchmarks to establish what is realistic for your campaign. For example, if you haven’t been putting time into Instagram don’t set a goal to increase your Instagram following by 50%. Try 10% this month and evaluate the results for future campaigns.
By cutting your objectives down into manageable chunks your team will be more motivated, your work will be more targeted, and before you know it, you’ll be achieving big-picture goals you hadn’t expected to get to yet.
5. Set Goals that are Relevant to Your Organisation
This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how often we see marketing objectives that aren’t relevant to the organisation or department it’s been presented to.
If your goal is related to increasing sales for example but it’s during the sales call or sales meeting that your leads tend to drop off then setting this goal for your marketing team may not be relevant.
Unless your marketing and sales team are the same people then your marketing team have very little control over the final stages of that process. Your marketing team is there to generate leads, your sales team are the people responsible for the actual sale. It doesn’t matter how many leads your marketing team generate if your sales team cannot close the deal.
Knowing who is responsible for each aspect of the customers journey is vital if you’re going to develop a smooth, measurable process for business growth.
6. Create a Timebound Campaign
All of your smart goals need to have a specific timeframe or a target end date. This is essential to keep your objectives realistic. It’s challenging to measure success on a campaign that doesn’t have an end date.
Select a timeframe that makes sense for your organisation. Analyse previous successes and base your timeline off of those. Consider following traditional business timelines such as the previous month, quarter, or fiscal year.
7. Understand the Goals of Your Business or Campaign
When choosing your smart goals, know what both you and your business expect to see when the campaign wraps. Start by selecting an overarching mission for your goals.
Try to marry your business goals to your marketing objectives. If your business goal is to grow brand awareness, then consider setting a smart marketing objective, such as increased website traffic or social media shares.
Your business and marketing goals should work together hand in hand, not in silos.
8. Analyse Previous Results (yours and competitors)
Learn from the past to grow in the future by analysing previous campaign data. Use tools such as Google Analytics to compare results from old campaigns to prove that you were more successful this time around.
For example, if your previous search campaign wasn’t as successful as you’d like, what are you going to do differently this time and what areas worked in the past that you’ll do more of in the future.
This is where data plays a big part in your strategy. Using competitor analysis data you’ll be able to see when an up or down is the result of your work or a fluctuation in the market, you’ll be able to see if a different strategy worked better or worse than the one you chose.
One of the benefits of digital marketing is how readily available this data is if you know how to find it, but you must implement the tracking of this data BEFORE the campaign begins. Trying to collect this data after a campaign without the proper code snippets in place is a fool’s errand.
After each campaign creating detailed analytics reports will help you compare results for the future.
9. Know Your Audience
Don’t set a smart goal without understanding your audience. You need to speak the consumer’s language to complete successful marketing goals
Try to develop audience personas for each of your target groups. This will help you understand what they are interested in, what they want, and who they are.
Use demographic and psychographic data on your business’s social media channels to dive deeper into your audience. The more you know who you are talking to, the more targeted you can be with your SMART goals.
10. Follow Your Plan, but Optimise Along the Way
It’s essential to make a plan and follow it in the beginning. However, as results start to roll in, it may be time to adjust your work to reach your goals. In digital marketing, it is essential to optimise your plan along the way, keeping an agile mindset.
Is one audience group outpacing the others? Try adjusting the targeting or budget behind your campaign. This will help you stay on track while getting the best results for your campaign.
Remember that it is okay to try something new. Testing is an integral part of success in digital marketing. If you’re testing something new, monitor it closely, so you know when to change things up..
Ready to Create Your Own SMART Marketing Objectives?
Smart marketing is essential in a successful business. Now that you know how to set your business goals, it’s time to take action.