How to Set Marketing Goals: A Small Business Guide

How to Set Marketing Goals: A Small Business Guide

Marketing

Learn how to set marketing goals to help you achieve your business goals, reach your target audience and grow your small business.


Table of contents

Updated: January 24, 2023

Setting effective and achievable business goals is the key to success. If you’re looking for how to set marketing goals that will help drive results, then look no further! We’ll discuss five important steps towards setting realistic objectives: defining your goals, identifying your target audience, setting SMART goals, creating an action plan, and tracking progress.

So let's get started with learning how to set marketing goals today!

Define Your Goals

When it comes to marketing your business, setting goals is essential. Goals provide direction and help you measure progress. Your marketing goals must align with your business goals. Like business goals, marketing goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Start by thinking about what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts.

  • Are you looking to increase brand awareness?
  • Generate more leads?
  • Drive sales?
  • Or something else entirely?

Make sure that the goals are realistic and attainable within a specific timeframe.

Next, decide how you will measure success for each goal. This could include tracking website visits or conversions from social media campaigns, measuring customer satisfaction through surveys, or tracking revenue generated from email campaigns. Clear metrics will help you track progress toward achieving your objectives over time.

It’s also important to set milestones along the way so that you can adjust course if needed and celebrate successes when they occur. For example, if one of your goals is to generate ten new leads each month via social media advertising, then break this down into smaller weekly targets, such as generating two new leads per week on average per month — this will make it easier for you to stay on track and monitor progress regularly.

Finally, review your goals periodically throughout the year and make adjustments where necessary based on changes in market conditions or customer needs/preferences, etc. This will ensure that they remain relevant and achievable at all times.

Beware vanity metrics like the number of followers you have on a social media platform.

Once you clearly understand your goals, it's time to identify who you want to reach with your marketing efforts.

Identify Your Target Audience

Knowing who you are targeting will help you create campaigns that resonate with them and ensure they get the message.

Start by researching your target audience’s needs, interests, values, and behaviors. This will give you a better understanding of what motivates them and how best to reach out to them. For example, if you’re targeting college-educated women business owners in their mid-30s to late 40s, consider what topics would be most relevant for this demographic.

Once you know your target audience, think about where they spend their time online or offline.

  • Do they prefer social media platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn?
  • Do they read certain publications?

Understanding where your potential customers hang out can help you determine which channels are best for reaching them with your message.

You don't need to be EVERYWHERE. Pick 1-2 social channels to focus on first.

You should also look into the types of content that resonate with this group of people – videos versus written articles; long form versus short form, etc. – so that when creating content for marketing purposes, it appeals to the right people at the right time in the right way.

Once you have identified your target audience, it's time to set SMART goals to help you reach them.

Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals is an integral part of any successful business plan.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By following these criteria when setting your goals, you can ensure that they are realistic and achievable while pushing yourself to reach higher levels of success.

  • Specific: Your goal should be specific and clearly defined so it’s easy to measure progress. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 10%, set a target number or dollar amount you want to achieve in a specific time frame.
  • Measurable: It’s essential to have measurable goals so that you can track progress over time and make adjustments as needed. For instance, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 20% within six months, then create monthly benchmarks so you know how close (or far) you are from achieving this goal at any given time.
  • Achievable: Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable within the timeframe specified. If they aren’t attainable, then there’s no point in setting them because it will only lead to frustration when they aren't met on schedule.
  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to what matters most for your business right now - whether it's increasing revenue or expanding into new markets — make sure whatever targets you set align with those objectives before anything else.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines for each of your goals so that there's an end date associated with them; otherwise, it's too easy for things like this to slip through the cracks without ever getting done. This also helps keep motivation high since there's always something tangible looming ahead which needs completion before its due date arrives.

Key Takeaway: Set SMART goals to ensure they are realistic and achievable. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals should be set with a deadline for completion.

Diving in. Planning and goals are only effective when you take action.
Planning and goals are only effective when you take action. Photo by Ethan Elisara / Unsplash

Create an Action Plan

Creating an action plan is essential for achieving your goals. It’s a roadmap that outlines the steps you need to take to reach them. Here are some tips on how to create an effective action plan:

1. Identify Your Goals: Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve and make sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. This will help ensure that your action plan is focused and achievable.

2. Break Down Your Goals Into Actionable Steps: Once you have identified your goal(s), break them down into smaller tasks or milestones that can be completed over time, such as creating content or running ads. Make sure each task has a timeline associated with it so you know when it needs to be done to stay on track with your overall goal(s).

3. Assign Responsibilities: Determine who will be responsible for completing each task within the action plan and assign deadlines accordingly so everyone knows their role in helping achieve the desired outcome(s).

4. Track Progress Regularly: Set aside time regularly (e.g., weekly or monthly) to review progress against the original timeline of tasks set out in the action plan – this helps keep everyone accountable and allows adjustments if needed along the way towards reaching those goals.

Finally, don't forget to celebrate successes along the way — no matter how small — and learn from any mistakes made during the action plan implementation so these can be avoided next time. This will help ensure that you stay on track with your overall goal(s) and reach them promptly.

Once you have created an action plan, it's time to track your progress and ensure you're on the right path.

Key Takeaway: Creating an action plan for marketing goals is essential. It should include SMART goals, broken down into actionable steps with assigned responsibilities, and tracked progress regularly. Celebrate successes along the way.

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Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is essential to ensure that you meet your marketing goals. By using analytics tools, you can monitor the performance of each campaign and make adjustments as needed.

For example, if you’re running a social media ad campaign, use an analytics tool to track how many people click on it or engage. If the numbers aren’t where they should be, try changing the copy or image to get more clicks and engagement.

You can also use analytics tools to measure website traffic and conversions from specific campaigns. This will help you determine which channels are bringing in the most leads so that you can focus more of your efforts there. Additionally, tracking website activity allows you to identify potential issues, such as broken links or slow loading times affecting user experience and conversion rates.

Analytics data can also provide insights into customer behavior so that you can better understand who is visiting your site and what content resonates with them most. This information can then be used to create targeted campaigns tailored specifically for those customers, which increases their likelihood of converting into paying customers down the line.

Finally, tracking progress over time helps you keep yourself accountable for reaching your goals while allowing for course corrections if needed. Set milestones throughout each month or quarter so that you have measurable objectives against which success or failure can be measured objectively rather than relying solely on subjective opinions about how well things are going at any given moment.

Key Takeaway: Analytics tools are essential for tracking progress and reaching marketing goals. Use them to measure website traffic, conversions, customer behavior, and performance of campaigns. Set milestones to objectively measure success or failure over time.

Wondering what now? Explore the FAQs below.
Wondering what now? Explore the FAQs below. Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

FAQs: How to Set Marketing Goals

What are marketing goals examples?

1. Increase brand awareness: Utilize various marketing channels such as social media, content marketing, and email campaigns to reach potential customers and increase recognition of the business’s services.

2. Generate leads: Develop targeted strategies to attract qualified prospects likely to convert into paying customers.

3. Improve customer loyalty: Use customer feedback surveys, loyalty programs, and personalized offers to encourage repeat purchases from existing customers and build long-term relationships with them.

4. Drive website traffic: Optimize the website for search engines so that it appears in relevant searches and use paid advertising campaigns on Google Ads or other platforms to drive more visitors to the site.

5. Increase sales: Utilize persuasive copywriting, effective pricing strategies, and upselling techniques to boost the number of orders placed by customers.


What are the 4 common marketing goals?

1. Increase brand awareness: Establish a recognizable market presence and ensure potential customers know your business and its offerings.

2. Generate leads: Attract prospects who may be interested in what you offer so that they can become paying customers.

3. Convert leads into sales: Turning those prospects into actual buyers by giving them an incentive or offering a special deal that makes it easy for them to purchase.

4. Retain existing customers: Keep current customers happy and engaged with your products or services so they can regularly buy from you.


What are the 7 goals of marketing?

1. Generate Awareness: To make potential customers aware of your product or service and its benefits.

2. Establish Credibility: To build customer trust by providing reliable information about your business and products/services.

3. Increase Engagement: Engaging potential customers in meaningful conversations will lead to sales opportunities.

4. Drive Traffic: To direct more traffic to your website, social media channels, or other online platforms where you can capture leads and convert them into paying customers.

5. Build Loyalty: To create a loyal customer base who will return for repeat purchases and refer others to your business as well as provide positive reviews on third-party sites like Yelp.

6. Convert Leads: To turn prospects into paying customers through effective marketing strategies such as email campaigns, targeted ads, content marketing, etc.

7. Retain Customers: To keep existing customers engaged with new offers and promotions while also encouraging them to leave positive reviews on external websites, which helps attract new buyers


What are the 5 SMART goals in marketing?

1. Increase brand awareness: Create a marketing plan that includes tactics to increase the visibility of your business, such as social media campaigns and content marketing. Avoid vanity metrics: followers are not leads.

2. Generate leads: Utilize strategies like email campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive potential customers to your website or landing page.

3. Convert leads into sales: Develop an effective sales funnel with automated emails, webinars, and other tactics designed to move prospects through the buying process.

4. Retain existing customers: Focus on customer service initiatives that will keep current customers engaged with your business while encouraging them to refer others in their network who may be interested in your offer.

5. Measure results: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, lead generation rates, conversion rates, customer retention rates, etc., so you can assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts over time and make adjustments accordingly for maximum ROI

Ready to Set Your Marketing Goals?

Learning to set marketing goals is essential to running a successful business.

With the right plan in place, you can identify your target audience, set SMART goals, and create an action plan to help you reach them. By tracking your progress along the way, you'll be able to adjust and refine your strategy as needed to continue growing and thriving.

Setting marketing goals doesn't have to be overwhelming or intimidating — with the right approach, it can be both manageable and rewarding!

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Jen McFarland

Founder, Women Conquer Business. Marketing pro. Leadership nerd. Project strategy innovator. Obsessed with creating solutions that help women-led businesses lead, strategize, and market confidently.


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