You undoubtedly have marketing goals for your company website, but are they SMART?
When you’re formulating your website marketing strategy, it’s important to create a set of discrete goals that will move you toward your overarching goal. Too often, this kind of project kicks off with a general idea. Unfortunately, that lack of clarity means false steps, lost time, difficulty in measuring progress and frustration.
SMART goals provide a clear roadmap to success, whether you’re putting together a website marketing strategy or implementing any type of new initiative. When I say “SMART,” I don’t just mean that your goals should be intelligent and carefully considered—although, of course, they should be those things. SMART is a specific checklist to help you define workable goals to help move your business forward. Each goal you set forth should be:
“Get business from my website” is not a specific goal. Of course, it’s the overarching aim of your website marketing strategy, but it doesn’t give you anything to aim for or lend itself to particular action steps. “Increase traffic to my website” is better, but still too formless to provide a framework for progress. “Increase targeted traffic to my website by 50% over the next ninety days” will take you much further.
It’s fruitless to set a goal if you can’t quantify your results. Notice that in the example above, the more specific the goal becomes, the easier it becomes to measure progress and determine success or failure. You can certainly look at numbers and determine whether you’ve increased traffic, but at what level will you consider the effort a success? How much of an increase is sufficient to say that your website marketing strategy is working? How long should it take? But, when you include specifics such as the target increase, you can easily gauge your progress.
There’s an upside to setting ambitious goals, but when those goals are so ambitious that you’re unlikely to reach them, they’re not truly serving a strategic purpose. Setting attainable goals means not only being realistic in your planning, but investing in the research required to determine what type of results you can expect in a given time period and what kind of investment of time and resources will be necessary to achieve that goal.
Never lose sight of your larger goals; every smaller goal you set should help move your business along the path toward that larger goal. Otherwise, you’re not only wasting time but veering off of that path. For example, a goal like, “Break a website traffic record,” may sound good, but without more specifics may do nothing to drive you toward your ultimate goals. Perhaps the best way to ramp up your traffic numbers is to put up a viral picture of a cat; when you post that picture and get 5,000 visitors in a single day, you’ll have achieved your goal but (unless you own a pet store) probably done nothing to advance your business. Make sure the goals you set are strategic.
A goal without a time frame isn’t truly measurable or attainable. That’s why, in the sample goal above, I included “over the next ninety days.” Creating time boundaries aids productivity by making it possible to track progress, make necessary adjustments, check off goals and set new ones. It also helps keep you and your staff motivated and ensures that goals don’t fall off the radar.
Goal-setting is an important element of any business development program, including your website marketing strategy. Set SMART goals to keep your efforts clear and productive.