When building a doghouse, do you need a hammer or a saw? You probably need both, but it’s likely that you need to use the saw first and the hammer second. The modern business era is paradoxically plagued with both immense opportunity and the overwhelming distraction of having too many options to get there.
It is crucial to first identify your end goal, and only then evaluate which sequence of tools will get you there. This is true whether you are building a home for your four-legged pal or planning a digital marketing campaign. How do you know what’s right for your business? The answer of what tactics to choose and where to focus your time depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
In other words, the end goals of your project dictate the correct tools to get you there.
One strategy for setting goals is the S.M.A.R.T. goals method, which is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. The concept of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals dates back to the mid-1960’s, when Edwin A. Locke and his research team studied the impact goals have on human activity. Locke’s research indicated, “Goals that are deemed difficult to achieve and specific tend to increase performance more than goals that are not, and people are more likely to be persistent and work through setbacks while pursuing a goal.”
Another key tactic for setting goals is to write them down and review them regularly. A 10-year study of the graduates of Harvard’s prestigious MBA program were asked one simple question – “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”
The survey produced these surprising results:
- 84% had no specific goals at all
- 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
- 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them
The research team followed up 10 years later, and learned the 3% of students that wrote down their goals and tracked their progress were earning 10x more than their classmates. Money isn’t the only motivation to write down your goals; athletes and Olympic champions also keep careful records of their efforts and progress towards a goal. By analyzing their actions and watching videos of their results, they look for ways to make minor adjustments that will improve their future performance.
Here are a few ways that setting goals will impact your digital marketing campaigns:
Set priorities and manage time
The first benefit of writing down and measuring goals is that it helps you set priorities and manage your time. It’s tempting to use a shotgun approach to marketing and do everything under the sun, or jump on the latest trend that catches your eye. Having a written plan helps you set priorities as it provides the benchmark to evaluate the best way to use your time and limited resources. Every activity is either making progress towards your goals, moving away from your goals, or spinning your wheels.
Knowing your desired outcomes makes it a whole lot easier to decide which bucket you’re in, and it helps you say “No” to tasks and commitments which don’t support your goals. Another key benefit to stated goals is improving your time management, which includes both the practice of accepting or declining tasks followed by blocking out focused time on your schedule to complete them.
If writing goals is good, scheduling goals is better. The act of scheduling forces you to examine the task, determine the resources, and estimate the time needed to complete it.
The power of consistency
The easiest example that demonstrates the power of consistency is physical fitness. If your goal is to get in shape, it’s vital to set an intention, determine your course of action, gather any equipment or materials needed, and commit to a training schedule. Many people start out their exercise program strong, but the efforts taper off after a few weeks when the new practice becomes inconvenient. A fitness program doesn’t work if you skip a few weeks then try to cram several hours into one day. A fitness program also doesn’t work if you planned to do it, and then got busy and let it slide.
The same theory works for your digital marketing campaigns. Communicating with your audience on a consistent basis makes the message feel natural and relevant, while hammering them with messages out of the blue feels disjointed and desperate. Just like physical fitness, the benefit of inbound marketing efforts builds over time so the work you’re producing today is an investment in the future success of your company.
Uncover inefficiencies and outdated practices
Another way setting goals benefits your digital marketing campaigns is that measuring your progress will ignite creative thinking and lead to better solutions. It’s easy to get into a rut and conduct your marketing campaigns the same way year after year, but the reality is the digital market is constantly evolving and firms that don’t keep pace with these changes will find themselves missing opportunities or becoming obsolete. Setting time-bound goals provides the milestones to evaluate your team’s efforts throughout the year, and evaluate if there are any new techniques or technologies that would provide more impact.
I hope these ideas put you on the path to setting impactful goals to grow your business, and here’s a link to HubSpot’s goal-setting template to help you get started. Opportunity is abundant in the digital age, and there are countless ways to reach your target audience and form a meaningful bond with them through digital campaigns and social media platforms. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is an impactful way to manage your time, set priorities, make consistent effort, and make adjustments along the way.
At Hunter & Bard, we’re experts at setting digital marketing strategies that help your business thrive. Our agency helps you set goals and monitor to progress and achieve rapid results, and we also offer full branding services and visual identity design. Contact us today to speak with our digital marketing specialists and learn how the inbound marketing methodology can benefit your company today!