A big part of setting goals for your business is getting a grasp of what the future of your company might look like. But it’s not going to be that easy in 2021. In fact, it has never been more difficult to predict the future than right now, as the outlook on business can change daily.
Whether it’s losing a few pounds or quitting a bad habit, there is nothing more rewarding than setting a goal and achieving it. But the process of setting goals can be just as rewarding as the results they bring. So, when it comes to planning your marketing goals for the new year, we recommend starting with your first quarter marketing objectives for a more targeted and realistic approach. Here’s how to get started.
Review the Past Year – Take a Look Back at Your Marketing Performance
Before looking forward, you must look back at what you’ve already done. One of the most overlooked aspects of growth is reviewing the past to improve the future. Not only should you look at what you need to change and improve on in 2021, but you should also carry over any successful marketing tactics into the new year.
There is not a single set-in-stone strategy to ensure a successful marketing campaign. There will be a lot of trial and error on your way to a successful campaign, especially in 2021. But by taking the guesswork out and tracking what has and hasn’t worked in the past, you have already gotten off on the right foot. So, get a head start on setting your goals for the new year by looking at your previous strategy.
Identify Benchmarks – Understand Where You Are Right Now
It’s time to look at yourself in the mirror. The first two things you need to ask yourself are: “Where is my business right now?” and “Where do I want my business to be?” Self-evaluation isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to get an idea of what you want your business to look like down the road.
From tweaking a product’s features to changing the scope of the services you offer; benchmarking is the process of measuring the performance of your marketing against a competitor in your industry. This allows you to figure out what improvements and adjustments your business can make to get to the top. Constantly studying what is effective in your industry can only improve your chances of propelling your business forward.
After determining what marketing tactics, you want to benchmark (e.g., social media engagement or Google advertising), decide which competitors you should benchmark against. Then, gather information on their performance and identify gaps in your company’s strategy and results. The next step is through the goal-setting process, where you should aim to adopt similar strategies to those companies.
Important Questions Your Business Needs to Answer When Setting a Goal
Now that you’ve evaluated your business performance against competitors in the industry, it’s time for you to ask yourself the important questions when setting goals.
- How do you measure success?
- What is the driving force behind what you want to achieve?
- Did your business accomplish its goals last year? If not, why?
- Is this goal relevant and realistic?
- What obstacles are in the way of achieving this goal?
Create SMART Goals for Your Business
Failing to complete lofty New Year’s resolutions is a tale as old as time. Luckily, if you’re reading this, you have the drive and determination to separate your business from the rest by completing your goals. And while ambition is a key characteristic of success, it is important to be realistic with your goals. Because of the unpredictable nature of the times, 2021 might force you to break up lofty goals into more achievable short-term goals.
Analyze your benchmarks and see what you’ve done so far. You may have to adjust your goals based on what your data and benchmarks are telling you. When setting goals, remember the importance of laying out SMART Goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound. These will all serve as key components to the goals you make.
Specific – Don’t just say, “I want my business to grow clients.” If your business increases by just one client, you will have technically accomplished your goal. Instead, create a more specific goal, laying out how many clients you wish to grow. For example, “I want to increase from five new customers per month to eight.”
Measurable – When getting specific, attach measurable numbers and figures to your goals. This is the most effective way to track concrete progress. It’s helpful to utilize the appropriate key performance indicators to measure your progress.
Attainable – Making realistic short-term goals is an effective way to maintain the momentum of your business. To make sure your goal is attainable, consider what you have done in the past to project growth for the future.
Relevant – Before setting a goal, it is pivotal to make sure it aligns with your business objectives. Ask yourself if the goal is going to have an impact on your overarching targets.
Time-Bound – Set a time limit to your goals. Nothing will motivate you more than a deadline. Deadlines will also allow you to keep track of the progress you’ve made over a certain time period.
Understanding SMART goals will not only help you gauge your progress, but it will aid in creating more impactful achievements.
Identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
In today’s age of social media, monitoring your engagement can be stressful. Between sending the right message to the right audience and articulating it properly, there are so many aspects to making an effective post. After posting, we typically check the likes and comments to gauge the engagement of the post.
In other words, likes and comments serve as engagement indicators to determine what our audience thinks of our post. Similarly, marketing has its own indicators, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI), to measure marketing success. KPIs are specific metrics that tell us we’re getting closer to achieving our marketing goals.
Figuring out your KPIs may be the most important part of the goal-setting process. You need to know where to look to determine what kind of success your business is having. KPIs refer to measurements used to calculate a company’s overall performance in the long term.
For example, if one of your goals is to increase site traffic by 15% in the next year, you would have several different KPIs to analyze in order to determine the progress of that goal. In this case, your KPIs wouldn’t just be site traffic, but they would also include traffic sources, social shares, bounce rates and promotional click-through rates. Notice how all of these KPIs are measurable and can tell the story of how you’re performing on a specific goal.
After identifying KPIs, you need to keep an organized location of data. This is the strongest way to communicate where you are in the progression of your goals.
At PALO Creative, we are always discussing different ways to achieve our next goals. But before that, we take the time to make calculated objectives. So, make sure you keep your drive and determination close by because you’ll need it soon. But first, define your goals and bring your vision to life. Once you do that, it’s time to get your hands dirty. And that’s where the fun begins!