“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” Yogi Berra had a humorous way of stating the obvious but when it comes to your business, winding up somewhere unknown is not funny. Most business owners understand the value of having marketing goals, but many never take the time to set them, evaluate progress and adjust them as necessary. Then they wonder why their marketing is ineffective and draining their resources. When creating your marketing plan, one of the most critical elements is how will you know if you are successful?
Do you have a vision?
Successfully defining your marketing goals requires you to have a vision for your business. Your vision is what you want your business to look like and what is driving you to have a business in the first place. A clear understanding of your vision for your business will remain constant over time.
Having a clear vision allows you to set goals that help get you there. If you find that you have goals that you never achieve, the issue isn’t with the goal. The issue is that the goal isn’t taking you where you want to go – that is aligned with your vision.
If your vision is to grow your business into a mid-sized virtual company with employees, then your goals will align with what you need to do to achieve that growth. However, if your vision is to remain a solopreneur that offers select services to small business owners, then your goals will be congruent with staying independent.
Understanding the intersection between your vision and goals helps you to:
- Focus on where you spend your time, effort and resources. Now you can assess the many opportunities that become available and make choices based on whether the opportunity gets you closer to your vision.
- Streamline your efforts and avoid time wasters. Now you can assess whether you are spending your time on the right activities that lead you to your vision. This helps you eliminate tasks that take away from you getting to where you want to be.
How do you define your business and marketing goals?
What do you want to achieve in the coming year? Take an initial stab at things you want to achieve. Some of these things may be business goals and some may be marketing goals:
- Business goals are internally focused and help you evolve your business.
- Marketing goals are externally focused and help keep you in business.
Goals need to be quantifiable, measurable targets.
State business goals in terms of how you will transform or evolve your business in the coming year. Example business goals could be:
- Create a new eBook on creating a marketing plan by March 1.
- Add a new service offering and announce by February 1.
- Turn my blog into a revenue producer by June 30.
State marketing goals in terms of what you want to achieve in your marketing. Example marketing goals could be:
- Increase the number of qualified, inbound leads per month by X by September 1.
- Obtain Y new speaking opportunities per quarter.
- Grow my in-house email list by XY% by April 30th.
Why Set Business and Marketing Goals?
Here’s the deal – without setting business and marketing goals you will find yourself wasting time and effort on activities that are not producing results. Setting goals and staying focused on achieving them help you make choices:
- What do I need to work on today?
- Is this activity getting me to my goals?
- What can I eliminate from my to do list?
- Which activities can I outsource to gain more time to do what is important to the growth of my business?
Ask yourself these questions each time you go to add another item to your list. You may find that your list remains manageable and you successfully achieve your goals.
Before the end of the year, take some time to determine your business vision and your goals. Think hard about what you truly want to achieve and how you need to get there.
- Write them down and if you use Evernote (if you don’t you should), put them in a note so you can get to them from any of your devices. You may also want to get a copy of the marketing goal template from Hubspot.
- Let them sit for a day or so then go back and take a hard look at whether you have defined goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based (SMART).
- Review these goals to make sure they are aligned with your vision. Remove those that are not.
- Split them into business and marketing goals and then prioritize each group.
- Take the top three goals from each category and that will be what you will work towards.
The next step is to put the marketing plan in place to achieve these goals. That will be coming in my next post.
Have you defined your vision and goals for your business?