Marketing Basics: Defining Your Goals

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Note: Make sure to check out part 1 and 2 of the Marketing Basics series:

Defining Your Target Audience

Competitor Analysis

A marketing plan is useless if it doesn’t include goals. Goals provide you with a direction for your business. They also act as a measuring stick for the performance of your marketing plan. After all, how can you know if your marketing strategy is effective if you don’t have anything to measure it against?
When setting goals for your business and marketing plan, it’s important to set both long-term and short-term goals. More importantly, you need to be realistic. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, but unrealistic goals will make it impossible to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan.

Here are just some of the questions to ask yourself when setting goals.

1.    What do I want my business to look like in 5 years? Do you remember how your high school counselor would ask you “Where do you want to be in 10 years from now?” The point of that was to help you create a vision and a purpose for your life. Well, that’s why you need to ask this question of your business. By having a long-term vision for your business, you’ll be able to keep your eye on the bigger picture. This will help ensure that the daily decisions you’re making are in line with your ultimate goals.

2.    How many new clients do I want by the end of this year? This is an example of a more short to moderate-term goal. The reason this is such a good question is because it forces you to set an actual number. See, a lot of people will say “My goal is to have more clients by the end of the year.” But how many more? By setting an exact goal, you can precisely measure how successful your marketing strategy is at achieving it.

3.    How many unique visitors do I want to my website by the end of the year? If online marketing is a part of your overall strategy (and I hope it is), this is a good question for helping you set a goal. Of course, a high quantity of traffic doesn’t always guarantee success, but it is one easy way to tell if your online presence is expanding or not.

4.    What conversion rate do I want my website to achieve? Like I said, quantity is no substitute for quality when it comes to website traffic. That’s why you should also set a goal for the conversion rate you want your website to achieve. If, over time, you see your conversion rate is just not meeting your expectations, you need to redo key areas of your website (content, design, keywords you’re targeting, etc.).

5.    How much profit do I want to achieve this year? In 5 years? Of course, financial goals will probably be the most important goals you set. Because, when it comes down to it, your business is only as good as the profit it achieves. Before implementing your new marketing plan, determine how much profit you want to earn. At the end of the year, if you aren’t anywhere near that mark, it’s time to take another look at your marketing strategy.

There are dozens more questions you can ask to help set goals for your marketing plan. The point of this exercise is to help you understand that you need to set realistic goals that can easily be measured. That’s the only way you’ll be able to tell if your marketing campaign is meeting expectations.

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