How does a humble startup become a global phenomenon? Yes, a killer product and an enticing vision help. But you also need great marketing. An efficient advertising campaign and well-chosen marketing objectives will allow you to drive growth.
Say you just launched your small business and you're trying to build a recognizable brand. Or maybe you're a small business owner with an established niche who just wants to generate more leads. Whatever the case, you're going to need a firm grasp on how to target your marketing efforts.
This article will help you identify your marketing objectives. You'll learn how to choose the right ones for your business. From there, you'll get the info you need to measure the success of your efforts. This way, you'll have the background you need to adapt your marketing efforts over time and fuel growth over the long haul.
What is a marketing plan?
Looking at the concept in its simplest form, the idea of a marketing plan is rather straightforward. You want a strategy for your marketing efforts, a pre-arranged program to convert strangers into customers in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
In other words, a marketing plan is just a plan for your marketing. How hard can that be?
In practice, developing a workable approach gets more complicated. It takes coordination to operate an effective marketing plan. You need to dovetail multiple teams within your organization, from production to product development to R&D to your dedicated marketing team.
What are SMART goals?
When developing a marketing plan, it's important to set reachable goals. Transparent objectives let you target your efforts and track the results. Meanwhile, putting those aims within reach creates a framework for incremental growth.
When developing a marketing plan, it's important to set reachable goals. Transparent objectives let you target your efforts and track the results.
How do you know if you're setting your objectives correctly? Well, as everything in business comes with an acronym, we have one to help you here. You should rely on SMART goals:
Let's briefly look at each:
"Get more sales" doesn't count as a SMART goal. Not specific enough. Something more focused, like "increase conversion rate by 10%" makes a much more targeted objective.
You want hard numbers to tell whether you're making progress towards your goal. Create KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track whether your marketing program delivers the results you want.
You're a startup working out of your parents' basement. "Outsell Apple" doesn't represent a particularly likely result for your first marketing plan. Sure, that makes an excellent dream. But start smaller (and SMARTer), with a program that's reasonably within your capability.
Make sure your marketing objectives fit your particular circumstances. Take your situation and your brand into account as you create relevant targets for your strategy.
Don't have open-ended goals. Rather, create a deadline for your individual objectives. This will let you judge how well you are progressing.
Examples of marketing objectives
What do specific marketing goals look like? You'll want to develop individual targets for different areas of your strategy. This way, you can improve on multiple fronts at once.
Together, these specific aims add up to create your overall marketing plan. Small, incremental improvements on several goals will add up to massive growth over time.
Here are some example topics to keep in mind:
- Improve brand awareness
- Increase the number of leads you generate
- Reduce the time between first contact and closing a sale
- Increase conversion rates
- Expand your customers' lifetime value
- Develop better cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
Notice that we referred to the list above as "example topics." These are subjects that deserve your attention as you construct a marketing plan. However, as stated, they don't count as objectives yet. You need to put these topics through the SMART process to craft goals that can truly drive growth.
How to select the right objectives for your small business
Now that you have a broad overview of the types of objectives you should adopt, it's time to think about what marketing goals are right for your small business. The ideal selections will depend on your business, your industry, and your particular place in the development of your small business. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options:
- Plan before you act. Don't jump into a marketing program without thinking through its implications. This will let you coordinate every aspect of your strategy to capture the most value possible.
- Use data. Take an analytic approach towards crafting your marketing plan. Learn everything you can about your current clients, your ideal audience, and your competitive advantages. This will let you narrow your potential objectives.
- Look at every stage of sales. Understand every step in your sales funnel. If you can optimize each part of the process, you'll get more out of your marketing plan.
- Review your marketing push. Routinely update your approach. Consider incoming data and adapt to changing conditions.
How to measure marketing success
There are probably dozens of individual metrics you can use to gauge different aspects of your marketing efforts. Choosing the right ones depends on your business and your particular situation. Still, just to give you a feel for the possibilities, here are a few popular options:
- Number of Leads
- Cost per Lead
- Conversion Rate
- Customer Acquisition Costs
- Customer Retention Rate
- Customer Satisfaction
- Customer Lifetime Value
Ultimately, the bottom-line number you want to look at is called Return on Investment (ROI) for your marketing efforts. This figure will tell you the amount of revenue you generate for every dollar you invest in marketing. You want the number to be above one, with higher numbers representing a better showing.
For instance, an ROI of 0.5 means that for every dollar you invest in marketing, you only receive $0.50 in return. Not a good investment. A number below one indicates that you should dramatically rethink your efforts.
Meanwhile, larger numbers indicate a better performance. An ROI of 10 means you get $10 for every dollar you invest. Pretty good. However, if you can get that up to 15, you're doing even better.
Getting the most out of your marketing plan
As a small business, you need to get the biggest ROI possible from your marketing plan. You don't have resources to squander. Targeting the right objectives will give you the perfect launchpad for future growth.
Take an analytic approach towards crafting your marketing plan. Learn everything you can about your current clients, your ideal audience, and your competitive advantages. This will let you narrow your potential objectives.
Here, we provided some basic information to help you get started. The guide provides a basic framework to organize the process of selecting the right marketing goals and objectives for your small business. By applying these principles to your business, you can create a marketing strategy that gets results.