One of the most common mistakes you can make when developing an inbound marketing campaign is failing to set specific goals you wish to achieve. While usually the aim is to generate leads or improve sales, these goals may be too general. Each piece of content is a step toward this goal, but to realistically maximize the efficacy of each inbound campaign, you have to set SMART goals that are in line with specific objectives for each piece of content or campaign that you create.
How to Establish SMART Goals
To help you understand why SMART goals are such an important part of your inbound marketing campaigns, let’s first look at the criteria that sets them apart from abstract, or general goals:
- Specific- your goals should be clearly defined, such as, “10 qualified leads/submissions for ebook download”, rather than just “increase leads”.
- Measurable- If you are unable to measure the success of your goals, how will you know if your campaign is successful? In the above example, you would simply measure the number of downloads to see if your campaign is on track.
- Attainable- Challenge yourself, but don’t set your sights so high that you’re bound to fail before you begin. For example, doubling your current lead generation or downloads based on past performance might be too ambitious. If your last ebook generated 8 downloads, increasing your goal to 10 should be attainable.
- Realistic- Closely tied to being attainable, realistic also involves accounting for hurdles you may face while trying to achieve your goals as well as the limitations of your team. It’s also important not to set too many goals for each campaign. As an example, if you wish to increase your lead generation yet you do not currently have a means to accommodate additional clientele, this may not be a realistic goal at this time.
- Time-Bound- Since you will create goals that are attainable and realistic, lock yourself into a deadline. When you set a time by which to accomplish your goals, you aren’t hoping to hit your target at some time in the future; you can measure your success at the end of the time you’ve allotted and examine what made your goals successful or what factors caused you to fall short.
Using Goals to Maximize the Success of your Inbound Marketing Campaigns
Once you have established goals based on the SMART principle, you will have a clear objective for your inbound marketing campaigns. While marketing in general is to grow your business or professional practice, breaking down that overall goal into SMART goals allows greater focus on each stage of the buyer’s journey and maximizes your success. Referring again to the example of increasing qualified leads to 10, the next campaign might focus on converting 20-percent of those new leads into customers. Remember to measure your success and make adjustments as needed so you reach your campaign goals by your deadline.