For your small business to grow and reach its potential, then you do need to make sure that you have a marketing strategy in place. It can all be very well having the main business plan and idea. But if you haven’t got a stellar way to let people know about what you do, then there can be little point. But what are the best marketing objectives to have? If you want goals that help you to support what you want to achieve long-term, then using the acronym SMART can be a good way to go.
If you’re not sure how to set SMART goals for your marketing plan or what that would even look like, then here are some ideas to help.
Your marketing goals, as you might imagine, need to be specific to your business and your aims. You may think that online marketing and social media can be a good idea. And while for most businesses it can be, if your business is predominantly aimed at older or elderly customers, then it can be a waste for your business as they are less likely to be on those channels. Likewise, furniture store marketing is going to be different to a smoothie bar or handmade item store. So look at your business and who your ideal customer is; you need to make sure that your marketing is specific to your business.
To see how effective your marketing is, it is best if you have goals that are measurable. What kind of figure or metric can be applied to your chosen form or marketing, to see what impact it has had? Take working with influencers, for example. You will be able to see how many click-throughs from their site to yours there has been, as well as comments, social media engagements, and reach. All of these things are measurable. Giving out leaflets to homes without speaking to anyone or following up isn’t going to be measurable. You’ll know how many you’ve given out, but you’ll have no clear idea about the impact that those will have had. So in terms of a SMART goal, that wouldn’t be the best route to go down.
Once you have put something in your marketing plan in place, then how can the information be used? There needs to be a purpose to what you choose to do for your marketing, so that you can then follow up with the results. Can the information that you gather be used to help performance? Can it be used to know what channels to market with next time? If you don’t change much as a result, then was the marketing even worth it? So be specific, and make sure that the results that you get in are actionable.
As well as the marketing that you choose to do needs to be relevant to your business and your ideal customer base, it also needs to be relevant. Can the information that you get help you to solve a specific problem or answer questions about how to do things next time? When it can be applied and helps you as a business or marketer, then it is going to be worth it.
Timing can be everything in business. Making sure that things are timed well can make or break how well things will go. Of course, there are several factors to consider, from seasonal timing, to industry news, to customer demands. So can the marketing objectives that you set for different times and time periods be used to see how things are going? Can they be used as markers to check targets against? The timing should be considered for your SMART targets.
There can be some mistakes in marketing, even if they seem like a good idea to start with. They can still achieve something on their own, but if objectives are not set with SMART in mind, then they aren’t going to be as effective. So don’t just think of each subheading as one thing to be looking at. Don’t only set your targets and objectives as specific. They should be considered as a whole, and all subheadings looked at when deciding what you are going to do. It will be the best way to make the most of your marketing opportunity. Another issue to consider is that you shouldn’t just set a long list of objectives when thinking about your marketing plan. A long list isn’t going to be useful, especially when trying to think about how to action them. Instead, think about grouping the objectives in a logical way, so it is easier to follow and to execute.
If you’re still scratching your head a little unsure as to how to go about your marketing plan, then here are some examples that you could use and relate to your own business.
- If you have a business with a heavy online presence, then you might make a SMART objective to be that you want to achieve over 15% more online sales within three years of setting the objective.
- An objective to help you to grow the business more could be that you want to acquire a set number of new online customers per year (say 10,000), with each spending at least $30, leading to around $5 profit per new customer. It is specific and measurable.
- In a similar vein, you might have a conversion objective that focuses on your existing customer base, but just getting them to spend more and more each time. Something like increasing the average spend online by $20 per customer, through discounts and add ons.
Have those examples helped you to see how to set your marketing objectives? Once you know what you are aiming for, then you can put a plan in place as to how it will be done. Being specific means you can measure weekly or monthly to progress how things are going and what is or isn’t working. It would be great to hear what you think.
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