2018 is just around the corner, and people are busy evaluating their lives and how they want to change them in the coming year. The same applies to businesses - this is a good time to take stock of how well you achieved your goals in 2017 and to figure out what you want to accomplish in the 12 months ahead.
As far as goal-setting goes, it’s important to set SMART goals i.e., goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It’s easier to achieve goals which possess these attributes because they’ve been finely tuned to your needs.
And, who doesn’t want to be SMART? So, why not put some time into goal-setting?
When you set a goal, it should be specific. Don’t just say you want to increase your customer base, be specific about how much you want to increase it, and set a specific date by which to achieve that goal.
Have you defined the demographic/s you want to target? Do you want to develop online customers in addition to the customers who come to your store? Do you want to start cross-selling or up-selling to increase your income? Be as specific as you possibly can in your goal setting.
This is also a good time to look at how specificity - or the lack of it - affected your 2017 goals. Were you specific enough at the time of goal-setting? If not, you can start now and be ready for next year.
You must be able to track your goals. For example, if you want to increase sales, you can make this aim measurable by saying “I want to increase sales by 5%” or “I want to increase sales by $–” (insert dollar amount).
It’s not just sales which are measurable - you can also aim to get more “Likes,” “Shares” or “Followers” on social media, or get more traffic to your website. Just remember to put a number to each of these goals so you can track them.
Remember to consider your 2017 goals. Did you reach the numbers you were aiming for? Did you surpass them? Did you even set goals with specific numbers? Take this into consideration when you set 2018 approach.
You should also set goals that are challenging but achievable.
Think about setting “stretch” goals. If you’ve just started an Instagram page for your small business, for example, and you want to get a million followers by the end of the first quarter, you might be aiming too high.
Instead consider how many customers you intend to gain in that quarter and aim for getting that many followers. This will prevent you from becoming disheartened because you’ve set an unattainable target.
Be honest with yourself. You know what you and your team are capable of.
You need to think about exactly what your company needs at the moment and set your goals accordingly i.e., your goals have to be realistic. If you feel like your company image has become old and stuffy, you can aim to get a new look in 2018. Set up a new website, blog and social media pages, and keep updating all of these things as often as possible so people come to associate you with exciting new ideas and cutting-edge technology.
The fact this goal aims to rectify problems your company is facing, makes it realistic.
Don’t forget to look over your 2017 goals. Did you make an effort to keep these goals realistic? Did they turn out to actually be realistic?
Sometimes, you set one goal but different issues come up during the year, which redner the original goal irrelevant. So be sure to consider how 2017 played out before setting 2018 goals.
And lastly, you need to ensure you set a specific time by which you intend to achieve each of your marketing goals.
If you want to increase traffic to your website by 5%, you need to also mention how much time you’re giving yourself to achieve your goal. Do you want to increase it by that much in the course of one month, three months or the whole year?
Look back at 2017. If you had set goals which were achieved ahead of time, then you can set goals for shorter time periods in 2018 and vice versa.
Using the SMART methodology is a great way to increase accountability and build a sense of achievement into your marketing approach. The more specific your goals can be, the better, as this will clearly reflect your level of success in meeting them as the year progresses.
This post was first published on the The Fried Side blog.