When I was 14, my dream was to play college baseball. But I had one small problem: I only weighed 100 pounds. And even though I still had four years to bulk up and improve my skills, I knew I had a long way to go. Fortunately, my coach always knew how to keep my drive alive.
After a grueling practice or workout, he would harp on how the long-term is just a series of short-terms. And to hammer that mentality into our heads, he would make us write down our off-season training goals every year. But he didn’t just accept the first draft of your goal sheet. He never did. He would make you edit it until you knew exactly what your goals were and how you were going to achieve them.
Setting a goal like “improve upper body strength” and planning to lift weights three times a week wasn’t enough. You had to write down how much you would improve your bench press by and how many times you would work out your upper body per week.
Every year, I set concrete off-season training goals, and since I had a plan and clear direction, I always achieved them. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had gained 70 pounds of muscle and earned a baseball scholarship.
When I first learned about SMART goals, I had an epiphany. I realized the reason why I could keep improving my athleticism in high school was because my coach made me set SMART goals. And the reason why successful marketing teams always hit their numbers is because they also set SMART goals.
The thing I love about sports is the life lessons you learn playing them directly apply to your career. Setting SMART goals not only helps you get better at baseball, but it also makes you a better marketer.
Read on to learn exactly what a SMART goal is and how you can set one today.
What is a SMART Goal?
SMART goals are concrete targets that you can easily aim for. They’re realistic, quantifiable, and focused, so you know exactly how to accomplish them.
If you’re wondering what SMART means, it’s an acronym that helps you clearly define these goals, pushing you to produce real results. Check out the framework below.
Specific - In terms of marketing, you should choose the particular metric you want to improve, like visitors, leads, or customers. You should also identify the team members working towards the goal, the resources they’ll have, and their plan of action.
Measurable - If you want to gauge your team’s progress, you need to quantify your goals, like achieving an X percentage increase in visitors, leads, or customers.
Attainable - Make sure that X-percentage increase is rooted in reality. If your blog traffic increased by 5% last month, try to increase it by 8-10% this month, not 25%. It’s crucial to base your goals off of your own analytics, not industry benchmarks, or else you might bite off more than you can chew and burn out.
Relevant - Your goal needs to relate to your company’s overall goal and account for current trends in your industry. For instance, will growing your Facebook following lead to more revenue? And is it actually possible for you to significantly boost your organic reach on Facebook after their most recent algorithm change? If you’re aware of these factors, you’ll be more likely to set goals that are realistic, achievable, and beneficial to your company.
Time-bound - Attaching deadlines to your goals puts pressure on your team to accomplish them. And this helps you make consistent and significant progress in the long-term. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, accomplishing your goal will take too long to achieve long-term success. For example, what would you prefer? Increasing leads by 5% every month, leading to a 30-35% increase in half a year? Or trying to increase leads by 15% with no deadline and achieving that goal in the same time frame?
If you want a more concrete understanding of SMART goals, check out the examples below. You can always revisit this blog post and reference them when it’s time to set your goals.
5 SMART Goal Examples That’ll Make You a Better Marketer
1. Blog Traffic Goal Example
Specific: I want to boost our blog’s traffic by increasing our weekly publishing frequency from 5 to 8 times a week. Our two bloggers will increase their workload from writing 2 posts a week to 3 posts a week, and our editor will increase her workload from writing 1 post a week to 2 posts a week.
Measureable: An 8% increase is our goal.
Attainable: Our blog traffic increased by 5% last month when we increased our weekly publishing frequency from 3 to 5 times a week.
Relevant: By increasing blog traffic, we’ll boost brand awareness and generate more leads, giving sales more opportunities to close.
Time-Bound: End of this month
SMART Goal: At the end of this month, our blog will see an 8% lift in traffic by increasing our weekly publishing frequency from 5 posts per week to 8 post per week.
2. Facebook Video Views Goal Example
Specific: I want to boost our average views per native video by cutting our video content mix from 8 topics to our 5 most popular topics.
Measurable: A 25% increase is our goal.
Attainable: When we cut down our video content mix on Facebook from 10 topics to our 8 most popular topics six months ago, our average views per native video increased by 20%.
Relevant: By increasing average views per native video on Facebook, we’ll boost our social media following and brand awareness, reaching more potential customers with our video content.
Time-Bound: In 6 months.
SMART Goal: In 6 months, we’ll see a 25% increase in average video views per native video on Facebook by cutting our video content mix from 8 topics to our 5 most popular topics.
3. Email Subscription Goal Example
Specific: I want to boost the number of our email blog subscribers by increasing our Facebook advertising budget on blog posts that historically acquire the most email subscribers.
Measurable: A 50% increase is our goal.
Attainable: Since we started using this tactic three months ago, our email blog subscriptions have increased by 40%.
Relevant: By increasing the number of our email blog subscribers, our blog will drive more traffic, boost brand awareness, and drive more leads to our sales team.
Time-Bound: In 3 months.
SMART Goal: In 3 months, we’ll see a 50% increase in the number of our email blog subscribers by increasing our Facebook advertising budget on posts that historically acquire the most blog subscribers.
4. Webinar Sign-up Goal Example
Specific: I want to increase the number of sign-ups for our Facebook Messenger webinar by promoting it through social, email, our blog, and Facebook Messenger.
Measurable: A 15% increase is our goal.
Attainable: Our last Facebook messenger webinar saw a 10% increase in sign-ups when we only promoted it through social, email, and our blog.
Relevant: When our webinars generate more leads, sales has more opportunities to close.
Time-Bound: By April 10, the day of the webinar.
SMART Goal: By April 10, the day of our webinar, we’ll see a 15% increase in sign-ups by promoting it through social, email, our blog, and Facebook messenger.
5. Landing Page Performance Goal Example
Specific: I want our landing pages to generate more leads by switching from a one column form to a two column form.
Measurable: A 30% increase is our goal.
Attainable: When we A/B tested our traditional one column form vs. a two column form on our highest traffic landing pages, we discovered that two column forms convert 27% better than our traditional one column forms, at a 99% significance level.
Relevant: If we generate more content leads, sales can close more customers.
Time-Bound: One year from now.
SMART Goal: One year from now, our landing pages will generate 30% more leads by switching their forms from one-column to two columns.
Originally published Apr 4, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated January 11 2019