Goals are a good thing, right? We set them for everything from our health to our finances to our free time, and for many of us it’s the goals that drive our motivation to succeed.
In this post, I’ll talk about marketing goals, how they work and how content can help your business achieve them.
Why Are Marketing Goals Important?
It’s a familiar question: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
The same could be asked of your marketing plan. If you don’t define what you want your marketing to achieve, how will you know if your marketing is effective? The answer is marketing goals.
Marketing goals are a benchmark for measuring your success. They’re also the “building blocks” with which you can build a marketing plan. When your marketing goals are aligned with your business goals, you and your team will know exactly what you’re working toward, and it’ll be clear whether you’re taking your brand in the right direction.
As content creators, we need marketing goals to guide our work. They’re like signposts, reminding us where the destination lies. Every piece of content you create should be working toward one or more marketing goals in some way.
Marketing Goals Examples
It’s a safe bet that just about any business wants to bring in more money and repeat customers. But these ideals are too broad to be true marketing goals.
Another goal that’s probably too broad is “I want to rank in Google’s first page of the search results.” While this is a good branding goal, it’s not detailed enough to direct everyday marketing. Instead, larger business goals and data should inform a specific goal, such as:
“I aim to rank in Position 5 or higher for the keyword term “healthcare security software” by the end of this year because it should bring about 500 more monthly website visitors.” You know exactly where you want to rank and why, which will make it far easier to implement a detailed plan and measure how well it works.
How to Develop Marketing Goals
The first step in developing marketing goals is knowing your overall business goals – they should drive your marketing strategy. As I mentioned earlier, marketing goals need to be aligned with business goals to keep everyone on the team moving in the same, productive direction.
If you start listing ideal scenarios for your business, you might discover you have a lot of goals and could get very specific on all of them. However, be careful not to set too many marketing goals. Distill your list into a handful that is realistic, but demands a little bit of stretch from the team.
Your marketing goals can be either small and short-term (new social media followers within the quarter) or big and long-term (total sales revenue for the year). Either way, they should get as specific with numbers and dates as possible.
For more detail, check out this step-by-step marketing goal development plan from Impact:
- Determine how much revenue your inbound marketing must generate, taking into consideration any business goals for growth.
- Figure out how many sales and customers it will take to hit that revenue goal.
- Know how many opportunities you’ll need to secure the sales/customer goals of the last step (notice the pattern of working backwards).
- Identify how many sales qualified leads (SQLs, vetted by the sales and marketing teams) you need.
- Identify how many marketing qualified leads (MQLs, requiring a bit more marketing before being sales ready) you need.
- Identify how many visitors you need who have already converted on one of your offers. Of these leads, enough of them need to be qualified (see the last two steps) to ensure you meet your goals.
- Figured out how much traffic you need to meet your lead goals.
- Revisit overall business goals to see what you can bring in and implement, such as sales for a certain product or customer retention rates.
- Set quarterly benchmarks that allow you togain traction as time goes by.
In fact, plan on tweaking your goals at the end of each quarter. New experience and data will indicate what you need to change to keep working toward your goals.
Content and Marketing Goals
Content creators might not always deal directly with leads and sales, but the information they create on behalf of the company drives those leads for the marketing and sales teams. If you know about the MLQs – leads who need some more marketing before being sales-ready – you can create content that is attractive to them and more likely to boost the conversion rate.
So content creators should pay attention to the goals the sales and marketing teams set, as well as the goals of the overall business. Then that goal knowledge should be coupled with an understanding of personas. Personas are target consumer archetypes based on factors like demographics, challenges faced and available budget for your services. These clear pictures of your target audience (and what matters to them) should be referred to whenever you create new content so you can ask yourself if it’s addressing their particular needs.
Then, identify the channels you can create content for and use your knowledge to create the right content for the right personas in the right channels. Will you focus on white papers and case studies to open in-depth discussions on problems and solutions? Or will you incorporate more original video into your social media posts for enhanced engagement? Maybe you’ll concentrate on increasing blog posts and making them more targeted at a specific persona to highlight a particular product or service.
Finally, be sure to track it all with metrics that matter to the overall goals. Most major platforms, from Google to Facebook to Snapchat, have their own analytics tools. You can also select from many third-party options. It’s about finding the tools that provide the answers you need and implementing them effectively.
For more on how to do this and produce content that keeps pace, check out Carrie’s post differentiating content that falls behind from content that achieves its goals.
Just as your marketing goals need to be specific and informed, the content that supports them needs to be informed. It’s the primary communication tool for marketing and sales.
Consider your website, blog, social media and other content and decide which will be the best investment for your marketing goals.
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How have you used marketing goals to direct your content? Let me know in the comments below!