How to set SMART inbound marketing goals

Google's Master Plan
You’re busy working away at your desk, when an email from your boss comes in.

Management has finally agreed to reallocate some funds next year to update and improve the company’s web presence.

“It’s about time!” you say to yourself.

As the head of marketing, you’ve been pushing - and at times - begging for this to happen for some time now.

For you, its means you’ll no longer have to look at that antiquated website or contact somebody every time you want to add a sentence (or two) to the site or a new page.

It also means, you finally get the chance to put a marketing game plan together.

Recently, management announced their growth plans for the upcoming year.

The good news?

The plan is going to rely on a good chunk of those new leads to come in from the company’s new website.

The not-so-good news?

They’ve decided to make this investment. It’s now up to you to justify it by (as Jerry MacGuire would say) showing them the money.

Sound familiar?

As this year comes to an end, some of you are probably starting to think about how you can make next year a “banner year” for your company.

In most cases, having a banner year requires generating more revenue and profit.

To do this, part of the equation involves generating more leads in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

As the head of marketing, for you, the answer is simple:

Part of your game plan must include “turning your website into an inbound lead-generating machine.”

It must also have easy-to-understand marketing analytics.

As a marketing veteran, you know that inbound marketing is a process, not an event.

Results aren’t going to happen over night.

You’ll need to bring the boss some ‘good news’ on a regular basis, so good - yet simple - reporting will be critical.

The pressure is on, where to begin?


Set SMART Marketing Goals

Some of you love to set goals, others don’t.

But when it comes to changing your website and inbound marketing, goals help us focus.

It helps us cherry-pick the inbound marketing activities we’ll actually need to do to hit a specific goal within a specific timeline.

Thing is, marketing goals are totally useless if they’re not specific, trackable, and grounded in reality.

That’s why it’s critical to set SMART marketing goals. (You’re about to find out that SMART is an acronym, but your goals should still, indeed, be “smart.”)

Here’s what I mean by setting a smart, and a SMART, marketing goal:

Specific: Set real numbers with real deadlines. Don’t just say, “I want more visitors.” Instead, you might say, “I want to increase monthly visitors by at least 20% in 2014 (compared to 2013).”

Measurable: Make sure you can track your marketing goals using software like HubSpot or Google Analytics. Most important, don’t hide behind buzzwords like, “We want to increase brand awareness.” (Great, how do you actually track that?)

Attainable: Work towards a goal that is challenging but not impossible. For example, don’t say you want your new website to generate - on average - 500 leads per month by the end of the quarter when it currently only brings in 50. Ideally, your goals should be based on historical benchmarks (Hint: look at your website analytics.)

Relevant: Want to get your boss’s attention? Make sure your goals relate back to the company’s overall business objectives (revenues, etc.)

Timebound: Give your goals a deadline. Don’t keep pushing towards a goal you might hit “someday.” Inbound marketing takes time so if you want to see results next year start making preparations today.


SMART Marketing Goal - An Example

Increase monthly visits by 50% (5,000 per month to an average of 7,500 per month) in 2014.

Specific - Visits

Measurable - 50% increase (5,000 to 7,500)

Attainable - Based on historical benchmarks (and/or your new inbound marketing game plan)

Relevant - Does it relate back to your overall business goals? [Hypothetically, in this example, a 50% increase is required to generate the amount of new leads needed to increase revenue.]

Timebound - In 2014 (or by end of year)


What are your SMART Marketing Goals for 2014?

Yes, goals are important, but they’re just a starting point.

Having a marketing system (or framework) and making continuous improvements to it is also required to ensure 2014 is, in fact, a banner year for your company.

Need help coming up with your SMART Marketing Goals? Contact us, we’re here to help.


Next up: The importance of persona development and creating an Inbound marketing campaign framework