We believe that there is no success in business or marketing if you don’t:
- First define what success looks like (goal setting)
- Then determine what path you will take to reach success (strategy development).
From experience, we have seen that many small- and medium-sized businesses struggle with goal setting because they are too revenue focused.
You’re a business. Of course you’re going to want to focus on revenue. But while making money is incredibly important (because no business can exist without it), you can’t solely focus on the bottom line.
TL;DR: You have to look at how your business will generate revenue to actually generate revenue.
Once you understand how you’re going to generate revenue, you can determine the actual steps to make it there, and in particular marketing, so you can meet your revenue goals.
(For marketing purposes, we like to use the S.M.A.R.T. method of goal setting, which you can see us breakdown here.)
In this blog, we’re going to take a step back and look at the time frames we use to set our own goals. This is important because it can help you prioritize your goal-setting, which will make your marketing efforts more effective and efficient.
Short-term goals are generally goals that you would like to achieve in the next 6-12 weeks. For this type of goal you want to look at things like product launches, big events, or holiday promotions.
Think about what would make the launch, event, or promotion successful. For example:
- Sell “X” number of New Product Alpha for our product launch in two months
- Have 30 signups for our free webinar next month
- Have a 20% increase over the previous year’s Christmas promotion
The key to making this type of goal work is to create buzz and a sense of urgency with your audience. Be clear on what you are doing, what the audience can expect, and give them a reason to “Act Now.”
Intermediate goals are generally goals that you would like to accomplish in the next three to six months. Use this type of goal to outline how you want to grow your digital footprint.
- Grow our Instagram followers by 25% over the next 3 months
- Double our email subscribers over the next six months
- Increase website traffic by 20% over the next four months
You can see how these goals are designed to grow your audience on digital platforms. This will make your short-term goals easier to achieve because you have a larger audience.
The key to making this type of goal work is to frequently check in to evaluate your progress. You do not want to enter month five of your email subscriber goal and realize that you have only grown your email subscribers by 10%. Review your intermediate goals every 2-4 weeks so you can understand the tactics that are working and the ones that aren’t.
Long-term goals are generally goals that you wish to accomplish over the next 6 to 18 months. Take time to think about where you want your business to be in the next year plus and determine what your marketing efforts will need to be.
Examples of a long-term goals could be:
- Have a new website, with a modern look and updated content, in 15 months
- In six month hire a Director of Marketing to take the marketing responsibilities off my plate
- Purchase new equipment and studio space for a podcast/video series
Evaluate how (and which) trends are impacting your industry and business. Determine how you might be able to capitalize on such trends and what needs to be done.
The key to making this type of goal work is planning and flexibility. Create a plan for how you wish to meet your long-term goals with specific milestones that need to be met at specific times. Along the way, remain flexible should circumstances change in your business or industry that force you to re-evaluate your long-term goals. Don’t be afraid to update a goal or even scrap the goal altogether if need be.
It is hard, and maybe impossible, to find success if you don’t know what success looks like. By setting short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals, you are defining what success looks like to you, and what it’s going to look like at different points in the life of your business. Your goals will serve as milestones on your path to success, making the journey much clearer and easier to walk.