Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s set the record straight and discuss what a SMART goal actually is. According to HubSpot, SMART goals are concrete targets that you strive to achieve over a certain period of time.
“SMART” is an acronym that describes the most important characteristics of each goal. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. You should use each of these characteristics when measuring the success of the goals that you set.
In this blog, we’ll discuss each of the characteristics in more detail, outlining real-life examples to give you a clearer understanding of how the framework actually works.
You should then be able to go away, set some SMART goals for yourself and create your very own tip-top SMART goals template. You can then refer to it whenever you need to in the future.
So, let’s crack on and discuss the first characteristic of the framework - ensuring your goals are specific.
Setting specific goals
Whenever you set goals, it’s really important that they have specific descriptions. The more specific the goal is, the more realistic it becomes. Try to avoid being brief or generic and instead, really pin down on what it is that you want to achieve.
For example, there’s a huge difference between setting a goal like “Send better emails” and “The marketing team will improve email overall open rates by 5% in the next 12 months.”
Instead, you’ve specified an element of your email marketing which is underperforming, how it needs to be improved and who will be involved in making sure the goal is achieved.
A really useful tip when setting specific goals is to consider the five W’s: who, what, where, when and why…
- Who will be involved in achieving the goal?
- What will be accomplished?
- Where will the goal be achieved?
- When will the goal be achieved by?
- Why do we want to achieve it?
Once you’re happy that your goal is specific, the next step is to ensure that they can be measured. Let’s discuss this section of the framework in a bit more detail.
Measuring your goals
You’ll never be able to truly know whether you’re on your way to achieving a goal unless you can measure its progress.
This is where KPIs can be really beneficial. They make a goal much more tangible and allow you to accurately measure how close (or far away) you are from achieving it.
“Increase blog views” isn’t a measurable goal. You need to put some numbers in place which can help you measure success. For example, increase blog views from 25 per month to 55 per month by the end of 2019.”
This is a much more measurable goal as you now know what you’re increasing, how much you’re increasing it by and when the increase needs to be achieved by… no pressure.
Ensuring your goals are attainable
There’s no point setting a goal if you’ve got very little chance of achieving it. Your goals should be realistic and make you feel motivated. If you aim to overachieve then you're setting yourself up to fail.
For example, if the number of leads you generated last month increased by 3%, you should try and increase this by another 6-10% for the month after. Therefore, your goal is challenging but most definitely possible.
HubSpot state that it’s crucial to base your goals off your own analytics instead of industry benchmarks. This will stop you from trying to bite off more than you can chew and avoid disappointment in the long run.
Your goals should be relevant
Goals should relate to the overall direction of your business and account for current trends in the industry. You should always make sure that goals which are set will not only benefit you but the whole business.
A relevant goal should be able to answer “yes” to each of the five questions below:
- Does the goal seem worthwhile?
- Is it the right time to try and achieve the goal?
- Will the goal match our other efforts/needs?
- Are you the right person to try and reach the goal?
- Is the goal applicable in your business's current economic environment?
Setting deadlines against your goals
Whenever you set a goal, it should always have a set date which you hope to achieve it by. This will drive motivation and make sure that you don’t take your eyes off the prize.
The date which you set will be dependant on the size of your goal. If you want to increase your company’s revenue by 15%, your deadline might be two years away.
However, if your goal is much smaller, say something like “increase landing page conversions by 15%” - you’d set a tighter deadline of maybe one to two months.
Although setting deadlines is the final aspect of the SMART framework, it’s undoubtedly one of the most important. Without a timeline, you won’t be able to understand whether the smaller changes you may are taking you any steps closer to actually achieving your goal.
Creating your own SMART goals template
SMART goals are great at improving decision making and helping companies devise concrete plans which work in line with their overall business strategies.
To ensure that your SMART goals are as effective as possible, I’d highly recommend putting together a template which you can use whenever you see fit.
Luckily enough, HubSpot have put created an absolutely brilliant SMART goals template. You can download your very own version of it here.
Although goal setting is an important part of any company’s success, making sure that the backend of your marketing software account is set up correctly is also something which needs to be taken into consideration.
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