meet a lot of small business owners who are frustrated because they try one or two marketing strategies like email or blogging, and then don’t understand why those techniques don’t send them traffic.

What I tell them — and will tell you — is that you have to start with the right foundation and have marketing goals if you want to actually move the needle and get results.

Why Goal-Setting is Key

Any marketing technique you could do — from having a strong online presence to sending promotional emails — needs a tether. That tether is your plan, along with your goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish can help you measure results.

Making SMART Goals

There’s a popular strategy for setting goals that I’d like to apply to creating marketing goals. It’s the SMART strategy, which says to make your goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

So rather than saying “we want to increase sales,” to qualify your goal as SMART, you could say “we want to increase sales by 25% by the end of 4th quarter.”

Now you’ve got something to measure against when you start pulling out different strategies. I encourage you to get out a notebook and jot a few high-level goals down for your marketing. What do you hope to achieve through all the efforts you’re putting out there? Here are a few examples you can tweak:

  • Increase sales by X% over Y period
  • Boost web traffic by X% over Y period
  • Increase social followers by X% over Y period
  • Increase average sale amount by X% over Y period

You get the idea, right? Feel free to customize these example goals or create your own. There’s no limit to the goals you can have, although I’d say feasibly, it’s easier to measure if you stick to 3-5 goals.

Continually Building on Your Goals

Once you’ve set your goals, break them out into monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals, then put a reminder on your calendar at the end of each to measure results. You can look at your conversion rate, sales numbers, web traffic, and social media followers to gauge results. Once you assess how well you did in regards to those goals, consider whether you want to keep the same goal moving forward or tweak it. If you easily hit that sales goal, consider increasing it for the next time period. If a particular marketing channel didn’t net the results you wanted, switch it up or put emphasis into the channels that delivered better results.

Establishing goals for your marketing can give you a target to aim for. Only then can you truly measure whether what you’re doing is working or not.

One of your marketing goals should be to boost your social media presence. Download CorpNet’s Social Media Tips Guide for free to find out how.