Examples of S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals

What are your personal and business goals for 2016 and beyond?

While "growing my company," "making more money" and "networking more often" are some that may come to mind for many professionals, goals are doomed to fail without more specificity, measurable outcomes, action planning and more.

This is where S.M.A.R.T. goals enter the picture, and while the meaning behind the acronym "S.M.A.R.T." has evolved over the years, many are satisfied with the definition of "specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and timed" goals. 

What does that mean?

Specific - Setting a goal like "I want more website traffic" is great, but goal-setters need to consider the who, what, when, where and how of their goals to actually achieve them. Being more specific and saying, "I want to increase qualified leads by 10 percent," from the start, makes answering the rest of the questions more manageable.

Measurable - What metrics will be in place to ensure the goal is either being met or will be met by the deadline? For a 10 percent increase in qualified leads, brands should determine what a qualified lead looks like. Looking at past conversions for a service provider, for example, could indicate that those professionals who hold a director title or above are the ones making decisions on their product. The service provider will then need to set up qualifying forms (such as to download a whitepaper or at sign-up) or leverage social advertising (e.g. Facebook can provide that level of targeting) to capture those leads. The company will then want to track that lead's progression through the sales process to determine whether they converted (measurable), but before that, whether they were actively engaging in content (measurable). What's more, the goal-setter will eventually need to prove the return on investment from this goal.

Achievable - Sometimes in the real working world, our imaginations, drive and knowledge can make our eyes bigger than our business bellies in the sense that we want to do more for our companies than resources (time and money) will allow. For a goal to be achievable, Web professionals will need to determine how many staff members can be leveraged for a project (and what projects they may have to re-prioritize to do so). Alternatively, they need to think about whether a person needs to be hired on a freelance or full-time basis - and how much that will cost versus what the goal is expected to return.

Results-Focused - Not everything goes as planned in personal and professional projects, relationships, sales and more. There will be challenges and outlining those challenges with results in mind, will help goal setters keep moving forward.

Timed - What day will the goal be achieved? What milestones should be set up to make sure the goal is achieved by that date? Setting deadlines is key to getting a goal accomplished. In this example of "I want to increase qualified leads by 10 percent," perhaps there are smaller goals with shorter deadlines leading up to the ultimate deadline to keep everyone accountable along the way and look to the metrics to see if anything can be tested and tweaked to ensure the goal is met.