Do you want to increase sales, drive traffic to your website or become a social media sensation? These goals are all examples of high-level marketing objectives that you can use to guide your business-promotion strategy. Defining and achieving your marketing objectives is easy when you take the SMART approach to goal setting.

Becoming an Objective Success

An objective is a goal that can help you focus and refine your approach to marketing. Your objectives should focus on important areas of improvement for your business. They can touch on things like profit, sales, customer retention, lead generation, social media conversion, brand awareness and digital content promotion. Having an objective makes it easy to zero in on areas for improvement so you can devote time and effort to making those areas better.

Above all, marketing objectives aren’t about making magic happen or achieving the impossible. Instead, your objectives should be an actionable guide for your next steps. That means you want to choose the right objectives. Using the SMART goal-setting system can help. Make sure your objectives meet each of these criteria.

  • Specific: Don’t set vague goals like “I want to get better at social media marketing.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a broad goal like this — where should you start? What’s the to-do list going to look like? Instead, you can focus on a specific goal, such as “I want to increase engagement on Instagram.” Specific objectives allow you to create a feasible plan of attack.
  • Measurable: Quantifying your goals makes it easier to determine whether you’ve succeeded. It can also be a way of making sure you actually challenge yourself to do better than you’re doing now. Go back to the vague “I want to get better at social media marketing” example. Setting a goal like this would allow you to be either too easy or too hard on yourself. Put a number on your objective, like “I want to increase engagement on Instagram by 25 percent.”
  • Attainable: Make sure that you don’t set the bar too high for yourself. You want to give yourself a bit of a challenge, sure. But don’t do the marketing objective equivalent of trying to go from being a couch potato to running a marathon right away. This relates to both the specificity and measurability of your objectives. If you’re focusing on a major improvement to an area that’s been a consistent problem, start small and work up to big changes.
  • Realistic: Your goal should also depend on what’s possible based on what you know about the circumstances surrounding your business. This can include everything from market forces (for example, increasing sales for luxury products can be challenging in a recession) to your target audience. Say you offer goods and services for senior citizens who generally don’t use Instagram. In that case, even an attainable, specific and measurable goal may be impossible to meet. You can focus on a different objective that’s more in line for what’ll actually work for your business.
  • Time-based: Hammer down a timeline for when you want to achieve your objective. Again, this is a way of guiding your path to success rather than giving yourself an unrealistic challenge. For example, you may not be able to increase Instagram engagement by 25 percent in a single week. However, two or three months might work, particularly if your current engagement is pretty low but you have a lot of authentic followers. This generous timeline gives you the chance to research your strategy, try a few things out, analyze whether they’re working and iterate until you succeed.

SMART goals aren’t guaranteed to work out in your favor. However, one of the benefits of using this strategy is that you’ll develop a healthy and results-oriented approach to your objectives. If you happen to not meet your exact percentage or timeline goal, for example, you can extend your deadline. Staying flexible and optimistic helps you succeed in the long run.

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