Before we dive into your long term marketing goals, let me ask you this, “what are your business goals?” This is a basic question that should be easy to answer; however, many small business owners find it difficult to answer this because they’ve never actually worked out what their business goals are. I cannot place enough emphasis on the point that effective business goals are key to continued business success.
Business goals are basic, broad outcomes to help you plan your business efforts. They should be ‘what’ questions and not ‘how’ questions. They should connect to your company vision. And they should be shared across your team.
Common business goals can be found in the following areas (to name a few):
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Generate new sources of revenue
- Reduce operational satisfaction
- Increase community outreach
- Expand product or service line
- Find new markets
- Maintain profits
- Decrease debt
- Grow shareholder value
Don’t feel overwhelmed. And don’t think that you should have a goal in all the above areas. Small businesses especially have limited time as you wear several different hats within each role. So, make sure you craft goals that will work towards the success of your company. And success isn’t always a revenue goal.
You can think of your goals in a few different areas of your business:
Looking at your goals with the above lists as a guideline should help you start to think of goals specific to your business. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T and make sure you have both long-term and short-term (a quarter to just under a year) goals in your mix.
Mind the goals gap
The biggest mistake with small business goals is creating too many unrealistic goals for your business. Your goals should be achievable, not easy but achievable. You also want to make sure your goals are not too vague. This can be a bit elusive when you start setting your own goals. But don’t give up!
As you share these goals with your teams it should be clear where they contribute to the success of the business. It can also help the team innovate in a direction that the business can support.
A trick I learned was to keep my goals in sight almost all the time. I wrote them down and stuck them on my wall – and I see them daily to keep me focused.
Want to try it? Grab a Goal Card here for yourself.
Long term marketing goals
Your marketing goals should be based on your business goals because that is where you get direction around your revenue. How many sales do you need to make to reach that revenue?
Other questions to ask are: How many leads? From which channels? How much traffic is needed? What is the timing of these goals? What are the milestones per quarter? Slicing your goals into milestones is a less intimidating way to work on them. If the goal feels too large, you can lose your belief that achieving it is possible and you’ll simply stop working towards it! This is the fastest way to NOT achieve your goal.
When I first started working on my goals there was absolutely some resistance to setting them. I wanted to ACHIEVE my goals so what would happen if I didn’t? I would feel like a failure. I would feel like I didn’t work hard enough. I wouldn’t want to set new goals or I’d set goals that were too easy and didn’t result in any growth – just sustainment (which can totally be a goal but mine were about growth at that point)!
How do you know your long term marketing goals are going to work?
The best goals are those that are aligned with a plan to achieve them. This isn’t a trick. And I know how easy this sounds on paper. But the entire purpose of having a marketing plan is to achieve your goals. Without setting goals you are throwing things at your business to see what might stick not really knowing what will or understanding why some do and some don’t.
You should align your goals with your efforts.
For example, you may want to begin attributing prospects to something called a ‘Lead Source’ (where did they first enter your tracking). This is a great way to see which channel or lead source is leading to paying customers. Think about social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram), email lists (e.g. download opt-in, webinar attendee), podcast guest offer, online ads, speaking engagement (in-person or virtual). Setting up something like this will help you find the most lucrative channels to spend your time.
If you need help building out your marketing plan, I’m running a free webinar to show you the first step I use in building out a marketing plan for my clients – target audience research. Click below to learn more.