Marketers who set goals are 376% more likely to report success.

That’s a hell of a stat, if I do say so myself.

So, yes. Marketing goals are important.

They give you direction, alignment, and help your business grow.

Without them, your marketing efforts lack direction. And if you don’t have goals in place, how will you know when you’ve been successful?

But it’s not always easy to create actionable and measurable marketing goals.

Keep reading to find out how to build successful marketing goals that support your digital marketing plan. We’ll take a look at some examples along the way, too.

Why are marketing goals important?

Marketing goals are integral to the overall success of the company for two reasons:

  • They help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing. If you don’t have any goals to work towards, how will you know if your marketing efforts are successful?
  • They help you align your marketing activity with business goals. If you don’t have clear goals in place, it can be pretty easy to stray from the overall objectives of the company. Marketing objectives keep you on the right track.

What are SMART goals in marketing?

The SMART goal-setting framework is used to create goals your business can actually work with and rely on.

It allows marketers to create a detailed and measurable objective, and to make sure that their goals are even possible in the first place.

Here’s a breakdown of the SMART framework:

  • Specific: To avoid any miscommunication, your goals must be specific. You should clearly outline what to achieve and how to achieve it.
  • Measurable: You must have measurable goals to determine when your goals are met.
  • Attainable: You must have realistic marketing goals. Of course, they can be aspirational. But they also need to be attainable.
  • Relevant: Your goals must align with the overall business strategy to make sure your marketing efforts contribute towards the success of the company.
  • Timely: You must have a deadline for achieving your goals to give you a certain date to work towards.

Image of the SMART goals acronym

4 examples of common marketing goals

Now let’s take a look at some of the most common types of marketing goals.

Note that all of these are general marketing goals, not SMART goals. Making a goal align with the SMART goal-setting methodology is specific to your business. After all, we don’t know what your business’ resources are or what (for instance) might be attainable for you.

1. Raise brand awareness

Raising brand awareness helps you reach a wider audience and establish yourself as a reputable brand.

Put simply, if you want to be a recognized brand, increasing brand awareness is the way to go.

Let’s take a look at an example of a brand awareness goal:

Increase brand awareness by growing social media followers by 5% over the next quarter.

This is just one of the ways you can raise brand awareness.

The right goal for your business will depend on the industry you’re in, the audience you want to target, and the resources you have available.

2 . Improve customer experience

Research shows that customer experience is incredibly important in 2021, so it’s no surprise that it’s made our list of common marketing goals.

Most businesses use customer satisfaction (CSAT) to measure the customer experience.

Here’s an example of how to use a CSAT score in a marketing goal:

Increase the average CSAT score from 73% to 85% by the end of the year.

If you’re wondering what you can do to improve the customer experience, you might want to think about customer experience automation.

With a platform like ActiveCampaign, you can personalize the entire customer experience. And we know that consumers value personalization now more than ever.

Image of ActiveCampaign's automation for an email welcome series

3. Reach a new audience

If you’re looking to target a new audience, you might need to change how consumers view your brand.

Think about it. If you’ve been targeting a male audience with an average age of 50-65, chances are a younger audience won’t consider buying from your company, right?

So if you want to target a younger audience, you need to change your brand perception.

Here’s an example of a goal that will help you target a new audience:

Increase website traffic from a younger audience (18-35) by 15% over the next 6 months.

By tracking the demographic of your website traffic, you can see if your efforts to target a new audience are paying off.

4. Generate more leads

Every marketer looks for new ways to generate more leads.

Why?

Because more leads means a higher chance of conversions.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Increase lead generation by 12% over the next financial year.

But what exactly can you do to increase lead generation?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. Every business is different, so your lead-generation strategy will be different, too.

But using a marketing automation platform like ActiveCampaign is a good place to start.

It allows you to target the right customers at the right time, giving you a higher chance of generating more leads.

How to create successful goals for your marketing strategy: 7 steps

Let’s dive into the real reason you’re here: How to create your own successful marketing goals.

1. Understand the overarching goals of your business

Your marketing goals should support the overall success of the company.

So before you create your marketing goals, you need to understand what “overall success” means — what your business’ goals are.

Once you’re familiar with these, you can start to create marketing goals that support your company’s overall development.

So how exactly can marketers align their goals with their business’ objectives?

Be specific as to how each marketing goal will support your business strategy and how you’ll track and measure that support.

Let’s use an example.

Imagine one of your business goals is to increase market share. To support this objective, you create the following marketing goal:

Increase the number of sales-qualified leads by 15% over the next financial year.

By increasing the number of leads you bring into the company, you’re directly supporting the company objective.

As a result, you’re helping the business grow.

2. Analyze the current marketplace

Marketers need to understand the marketplace before creating marketing goals.

Why?

Because a thorough understanding of the marketplace gives you the context you need to create relevant and achievable goals.

For example, let’s say one of your competitors (who also happens to be the market leader) is planning to launch a new product in three months.

You’d planned to launch a very similar product around the same time. But by analyzing the marketplace, you determine that it’s not the best time to launch your product.

As a result, you can readjust your goals to give yourself the best chance of success.

So how can you analyze the marketplace?

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Research the state of the industry: Has there been a large shift in consumer behavior recently? Or have suppliers in your industry raised their costs? Make sure you look at the micro and macro factors affecting the industry to keep yourself up to speed.
  • Understand your competition: Research your main competitors to see how they’re performing in the marketplace. This information will help guide your marketing goals.

3. Conduct a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis analyzes your core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

By running this internal audit, you can identify your position in the marketplace, spot any potential challenges, and pinpoint your best chances for success.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to do a SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths: Identify what your strengths are. For example, what your company does well (perhaps compared to your competitors), the resources you have, and your existing assets.
  • Weaknesses: Take a look at the areas where your business is lacking. For example, you could have a limited marketing budget or lack a design specialist.
  • Opportunities: Find the areas where your business has an opportunity to thrive. For instance, your unique selling points (USPs), any non-competitive markets, or an emerging need for your product or service.
  • Threats: Review the threats that could prevent you from succeeding. New competitors, a drastic change in the marketplace, or changing brand perception are all examples of potential threats.

Here’s a template you can use to conduct your analysis:
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Image of a SWOT analysis template

4. Identify your target market

Honing in on your target market allows you to tailor your marketing goals to the right audience.

So how do you identify your target market?

Let’s take a look:

  • Speak to consumers about your brand: Reach out to consumers to see what they think of your brand. Speaking to them directly will give you the insight you need to pin down who your target audience should be.
  • Review previous customers: Take a look at who your previous customers are. These people are interested in your company, so this will help you identify who you should target going forward.
  • Competitor research: Review who your competitors are targeting. You might want to target the same audience or think about targeting a different audience base to give yourself a competitive advantage.

Once you’ve identified your target market, you can divide your audience into smaller groups. This allows you to make your inbound marketing more personalized, which we know consumers like.

Here are a few ways you can segment your audience:

Image of the target market segmentations

5. Tailor your goals to the marketing funnel

Tailoring your goals to each stage of the marketing funnel might sound like overkill.

But it’s a really helpful way to keep your marketing goals aligned with the customer journey, helping you nurture leads at every stage of the funnel.

Image of the 6 stages of the marketing funnel, including a description of each

So how can you align your marketing goals with the sales funnel?

Here’s what we’d suggest:

  • Familiarize yourself with the funnel: Make sure you have a good understanding of your marketing funnel. This will give you a solid foundation for creating goals that support each stage.
  • Identify the areas you want to align with: You don’t have to align goals with every stage of the funnel. You might want to focus on one or two important areas. For example, if you want to target the awareness stage, your goal would raise brand awareness.
  • Create your goals: Once you know what stages of the funnel you want to align with, you can start creating your goals. Make sure to continually review the funnel while you’re creating your goals to keep them aligned.

6. Make your goals SMART

We’ve already talked about SMART goals, but it’s an important element to mention again.

To give your goals the best chance of success, they need to be SMART.

If they’re not, you risk creating unachievable goals, which is demoralizing for your marketing team and not great for business.

So make sure you’re familiar with the SMART acronym and how to create a SMART marketing goal. If you’re not sure, re-read the section above about SMART goals.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it’s just having a colleague review the goals before you roll them out to the team, the second pair of eyes could be helpful.

7. Track and measure success

When it comes to marketing goals, tracking progress helps you stay on schedule. Without it, you risk falling behind and missing the chance to hit your goal.

So how can you make sure your marketing goals stay on track?

The answer is simple: Milestones.

By using milestones, you can easily see whether you’re progressing as planned or if you’re struggling to achieve your goal.

For example, let’s say you have a content marketing goal to increase traffic to your blog by 12% over the next six months.

To make sure you hit this goal, you set a milestone to see a 2% increase in traffic each month. That way you know that you’re on track to hit the 12% goal.

And if you use a marketing automation platform like ActiveCampaign, you can add goals to your automations. This helps you track progress, enhance your marketing efforts, and streamline your marketing activities.

Screenshot of ActiveCampaign's software which allows users to create goals as part of the automation process

Create marketing goals for success

Having read this article, you should have a solid understanding of how to create goals for success.

Now it’s time to put it into practice.

And to make the experience easier, consider using a marketing automation platform like ActiveCampaign.

With our platform, you can track and manage the entire customer experience from one location. And you can track the results, too.

Take a look at our platform for more information, or sign up for a free trial to see it for yourself.