Many businesses struggle to set realistic marketing goals. Setting grand, overly ambitious goals and inevitably failing to reach them can demoralize your company and marketing team. On the other hand, too simple of a marketing plan can cost your company its potential to grow.

As a business owner, you know that running a successful business is all about setting goals and working towards them. In essence, it isn’t hard to set a goal — you need to ask yourself what you want for your company. The tricky part is identifying and establishing an achievable marketing strategy that helps you reach potential customers.

Read on below to learn how you can determine realistic marketing goals for your company. We’ve put together tips, examples, and questions to get your marketing efforts started on the right foot.

Align Your Marketing Goals With Business Objectives

The first step to creating realistic marketing goals is to not confuse your marketing goals with your business objectives. The next equally crucial step is to align the two of them.

Your key business objectives are broader goals you want to achieve. Meanwhile, your marketing goals are more specific and should support your overall business objectives.

Let’s say you run a company that sells woodworking supplies and inlay kits. A broad business objective for this quarter can be to increase your website traffic and store revenue by 10%. For these objectives, your corresponding marketing goals can include launching a successful Google ad campaign and growing your digital presence.

Examples of Marketing Goals

There are countless marketing goals you can set for your company. Always consider your brand and business objectives when deciding on your marketing objectives.

Here are some common marketing goals that work with our earlier sample objective of increasing website traffic:

● Grow your social media presence

● Rank higher in search engine results pages

● Build brand awareness

● Generate more leads

● Improve content marketing

Be Specific When Setting Marketing Goals

It’s like saying your goal this year is to “be healthier.” Instead of being vague, you can specify how you want to achieve this by saying, “I’m going to follow the Keto diet and do yoga for 30 minutes each day to lower my blood sugar levels.”

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Poorly-Defined vs. Well-Defined Marketing Goals

One way to make well-defined marketing goals is to set numerical targets and clear benchmarks you need to meet. Let’s take some common marketing goals and turn them from poorly-defined to well-defined marketing goals.

●     Poorly defined: Grow your social media presence.

Specific: Increase followers of our Facebook page by 350, Twitter profile by 300, and Instagram page by 500 within the next four months.

●     Poorly defined: Rank higher in search engine results pages.

Specific: Rank first for the keyword term “Small Bow Tie Inlay” which is estimated to help generate 500 website visitors per month this fall.

Make Sure Your Marketing Goals Are Measurable

Ensuring your marketing goals, are measurable adds another layer of specificity. Additionally, it allows you to take accountability for your goals, the steps you take, and the end results.

Part of making measurable marketing goals is to set key performance indicators or KPIs and marketing metrics. These allow you to track and evaluate your progress within set time frames. Doing so will show you which goals are on track and which ones may require better strategizing.

Suggested KPIs for Different Marketing Goals

There are several dozen KPIs you can track, but take note that not all KPIs are universal.

Here are a few commonly used marketing KPIs for different business and marketing goals:

● Website traffic: You can track social media site traffic, referral link traffic, click-through rate, bounce rate, and time spent on the site with Google Analytics.

● Social media engagement: you can track the increase in fans over set periods of time and the number of likes, shares, and comments on your social media posts.

● Lead generation: You can track the number of marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, the total number of leads, and lead conversion rate. This will also help you recognize high-quality leads in the future.

● SERP ranking and Search Engine Optimization performance: You can track the number of backlinks, organic click-through rates, and bounce rates.

Check Your Business Calendar and Available Resources

After setting specific marketing goals, you need to familiarize yourself with the resources at your disposal and how they are being used. Resources can refer to your budget, people, time, and more. You also need to check your business calendar and plot your goals accordingly.

Part of defining your marketing goals is setting a time frame, so make sure to plan them out. By doing so, you will be able to track your progress easier and identify whether you’re behind meeting your deadline.

As you take stock of your resources, you better understand whether your marketing goals are truly realistic and achievable. While allocating resources, ask yourself if the time frame, budget, and people you assigned are practical enough to produce your desired results.

Explore Strategies That Match Your Goals

Once you have your realistic marketing goals, it’s time to build your marketing strategies to help you reach your objectives. You need to align your business objective, marketing goals, and actionable strategy to see positive results.

For instance, your business objective is to improve the website traffic of your online store. An aligned and realistic social media marketing goal is to “Increase followers of our Facebook page by 350, Twitter profile by 300, and Instagram page by 500 within the next four months.”

As for actionable strategies, you can consider the following:

● Run paid social media ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

● Post regularly (sharing blog posts, or news articles) and engage with followers on social media

● Be active on other websites, like Quora or Reddit, to build authority and send traffic to your social media profiles

● Utilize influencer marketing by sending free samples in exchange for reviews

No Such Thing as Perfect

Goals are your vision for the future and are essential for running and evaluating your business.  As long as your goals are realistic and attainable based on your data, resources, and capabilities, you should get started right away.

Need help determining your marketing goals? Schedule a discovery meeting today, and see how you can break down the barriers in the path of reaching your goals, saving you time, reaching your target customer, and putting you back in control.

Meet the Author:

Carl Lefever

Carl Lefever, Founder & Strategist

Carl is the founder of Improve & Grow, LLC, where his primary passion is helping businesses grow by improving their online marketing. He leads the team and is involved in developing and executing internet marketing strategies for our clients. Carl's background is in continuous improvement disciplines, focused on sales and marketing operations. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is a proud father of 4 girls and loves traveling and supporting missions work.