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    Picture of Mike Rand
    By Mike Rand in January, 2017 | 4 minute read

    Content Marketing - Inbound Marketing - Marketing Reporting

    Why We Love Setting Measurable Marketing Goals and Objectives

    Marketing that isn't measurable isn't worth your time. By setting marketing goals and objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound, your marketing team will always be able to stay on track and report their success.


    Every business aspires to marketing greatness, but not everyone sets measurable marketing goals. We want every blog post to be shared far and wide across social media and we want every landing page to give us a 100% conversion rate. That’s the dream, anyway.

    In reality, the average conversion rate of landing pages is on the low side for most businesses. According to the search engine news site, Search Engine Land, the average conversion rate for landing pages is about 2.35%, but the top 25% of landing pages convert at rates of 5% or more.

    So what are these landing page unicorns doing that the other businesses aren’t? There’s no magic to it; they just set measurable marketing goals and objectives and work on specific tasks over time to achieve them.

    What Marketing Goals and Objectives Often Look Like

    As businesses, we love setting measurable marketing goals, not only because we can track our progress along the way, but because we can actually achieve them.

    We usually start with a general observation and try to refine it into something more specific. For example, we may observe that our landing pages are receiving page views but those viewers aren’t converting into leads. We need more of our visitors to click on our CTAs and fill out our forms. Our original goal might be something vague and far-reaching:

    Increase conversion rates!

    While this is certainly an important goal to strive for and it may even be attainable, it isn’t measurable on any incremental level, nor is it specific enough to be actionable. Sometimes, this is where marketing teams can get into trouble when setting marketing goals and objectives. Sometimes, this is where marketing teams stop.

    If there is no more discussion about what the goal means, how long you have to accomplish it, and what tasks are associated with it, then it will be difficult to know how close or far away you are from reaching it in the coming weeks and months.

    Thankfully, marketing goals don’t have to be vague and unattainable. This is especially true in digital marketing and content marketing. Metrics tools allow businesses to measure all of their digital marketing efforts and look at them in different angles, which can help them set explicit, reachable goals over time.

    How to Set Your SMART Marketing Goals

    SMART Marketing

    Inbound marketing software company, HubSpot, developed a useful method for setting measurable marketing goals, called “SMART Marketing.” Yes, it’s another marketing acronym, but this one is easy to remember and is actually quite useful. Let’s break it down:

    SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

    By applying this method to the previous marketing goal, increase conversion rates, we can turn it into something more pragmatic and measurable.

    Specific

    First, the goal isn’t very specific. There are a number of ways to generate leads, so “increase conversion rates” is too broad to be actionable. Since the problem originally arose from an observation about landing pages, we could change our marketing goal to, increase conversion rates on landing pages.

    Measurable

    Next, we should make it measurable. Increasing conversion rates is good, but there needs to be a benchmark to strive for if we want to be able to say we reached our goal.

    Attainable

    The median conversion rate for businesses may be around 2.35%, but we can do better. 15% is probably too high, so we’ll settle on 5%. Suddenly the marketing goal is, increase conversion rates on landing pages to 5%.

    Realistic

    Not only is 5% attainable and realistic, it is measurable. Progress can actually be tracked over time using marketing metrics tools. Individual landing pages can also be tracked to see which ones are doing well and which ones aren’t, which can help businesses decide on important changes during the process.

    Time-bound

    Finally, there needs to be a timeframe for attaining the goal. Even if you get your team to knock out immediate changes to your landing pages, it probably isn’t realistic to expect your conversion rates to skyrocket by the time you roll out of bed the next morning. If our goal is to hit 5%, we could give it a month.

    A month might seem like a long time to increase conversion rates, but your marketing strategy may need time to maneuver and adapt in order to reach 5%. By checking on landing page effectiveness week after week, we can see if they are converting more visitors. If not, we can do research and use that research to make changes. Then, we can give it another week to see if our newly redesigned landing pages are showing promise.

    We Love Setting Measurable Marketing Goals

    Now the marketing goal is, increase conversion rates on landing pages to 5% by the end of the month. It’s much more constructive than the original, don’t you think? We know exactly which tasks are necessary to accomplish our goal, we have quantifiable data to monitor progress, and we have a timeframe for getting to 5%.

    Businesses love setting measurable marketing goals and objectives like this one because they make our work easier and they allow us to congratulate ourselves on a job well done once we accomplish them. If we had stuck with the original goal of increasing our conversion rates, it would be difficult to know where to start and when the goal would actually be accomplished.

    If you and your team are still using marketing goals that don’t aid your work on a daily basis or if you have no idea where to start, it’s never too late to develop a new method. You may just want to make your marketing goals and objectives more data-driven or more specific. But if you really want your goals to inform your work, you can use the same SMART method.

    In fact, we have the template just below this article, ready for you to download.

    How to Set Your SMART Marketing Goals

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