We all dream. We have big dreams, grand ambitions, and smaller dreams, things we desire on a daily or weekly basis. Every business owner shares the dream of seeing his or her business grow and thrive. When it comes to business, marketing is integral to growth, and when it comes to marketing, goals are integral to success. A dream, after all, is just a dream. A goal, in contrast, is a dream with a plan and a deadline.
Why Set Marketing Goals?
Short and long term goals are an essential part of any marketing strategy. As Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Of course, it’s not just about making marketing goals you’ll never meet. You have to eventually walk the talk. The process of setting goals, however, puts you in the right state of mind for accomplishing work and seeing positive results. Marketing goals, properly planned and executed, are the stepping stones to financial achievement.
Marketing goals are not just far-fetched desires; they are vital markers to success. You need a way to gauge your marketing efforts. Otherwise, how will you know if what you’re doing is working, or if it’s simply luck? Marketing goals enable you to stay on track with the objectives for your small business. Setting quantifiable goals allows you to properly allocate time and money to marketing strategies that work, and to do away with those that don’t. Some quantifiable marketing goal examples are follower counts, ROI, weekly or monthly sales, site visits, and other “countable” items.
Short Term Goals for a Business
Short term marketing goals are, as the name implies, goals that can be completed within days or weeks. Long term goals can take several months, or even several years, to meet. While long term goals are key to establishing your ultimate vision, and while they guide the direction of your short term goals, they are not as actionable as short term goals.
Short term business and marketing goals are things you’re going to be focusing on on a daily basis. Without them, your long term goals, all those grand “big fish,” will never see the light of day. Here are some examples of short term business goals as they relate to marketing:
- Website Traffic: If you are like most businesses in today’s modern age, your website serves as your digital home-base. Site visits either mean attracting and getting more clients, who visit your website for information. Regardless, the more website hits you have, the better for your business. Try to set weekly or monthly website goals, such as a 10% increase in website traffic each month.
- Conversions: In marketing, conversions are defined as the act of converting site visitors into paying customers. Conversion marketing incorporates a variety of techniques to lower the barriers of entry to purchase and encourage site visitors to buy a product. For example, a company might offer new site visitors 20% off their first purchase in order to encourage them to place an order right away with the goal of increasing conversions by a certain percent.
- Engagement rates: Engagement rates indicate the frequency at which people interact with your posts. On social media, they are usually quantified as post shares or comments. High engagement rates indicate that your content is actually resonating with your customers. A good short term goal is to increase engagement rates or to decrease your response time to customers. The more you engage with potential customers, the better.
- Follower counts: While follower counts are not as meaningful as engagement rates, they are essential for making your business more well known. The more followers you have on Facebook, the more people can see your posts and engage with them. Set reasonable markers weekly or monthly to make Facebook work for your small business.
Long Term Goals for a Business
Long term goals take longer to acquire, and are not necessarily as quantifiable as short term goals. They often start as seemingly impossible goals to attain but over time, and with hard work, long term goals become easier to reach.
The secret to business success is reaching long term goals through consistent marketing, something that many business owners struggle with.
Some examples of long term business goals include:
- Name Recognition: As consumers, we’re more likely to trust the names of companies that we know or have heard of. Getting your business name recognized in your local market will help you get more customers and grow your business. Make getting your name recognized in your local market a long term goal of your business. Get involved in local events, post on forums and Facebook groups, and network in order to create a buzz about your business in your community!
- Brand Awareness: As your business grows and more people become aware of it, you’ll naturally begin to pick up more brand awareness and exposure in the appropriate places. Make brand exposure a long-term goal, whether it’s being featured in the local news, authoring syndicated articles, or being featured on a certain website by an influencer or popular blogger.
- Reputation: A business’s reputation builds over time. Depending on the nature of your business and the industry you’re in, your reputation goals may be different. If you are, say, an investment firm, your goal may be to be known as one of the most trustworthy firms around. If you are a clothing company, you might want to cultivate an aura of being “cool” and “trendy.” If you are a plumber, your goal may be to become known as fast and reliable. Consider your own business and how you want people to talk about it.
- Google Search Ranking and Search Engine Optimization: A long term goal for any business should be to rank on the first page of Google. Google and other search engine rankings are what will get you the most organic website traffic and potential leads that you don’t have to pay for. Perhaps your goal will be to appear on the first page of Google within 6 months.
Search engine optimization, while well worth it, takes a great amount of time and effort and should be a static long term goal for every small business. Set small goals to rank for certain keywords and work your way up to rank for more and more keywords. It will likely take a few re-workings of your website and regular updates to ensure that you keep climbing the search rankings. You can do this by optimizing your website for local SEO and by becoming an authority in your industry through blogging on topics related to your industry.
When it comes to marketing, both long and short term goals are essential to grow your business. For more information on incorporating your business goals into a marketing plan, check out these 6 example marketing plans for small businesses of any stage.
Do you have marketing goals? Share them in the comments below!