Are you making these marketing strategy mistakes? SMART goals can help!

Did you know that more than 75 percent of people never scroll to the second page of the Google search engine? 

Here is another fact.

In 2020, it is a herculean task to have your page listed on the first page of Google. Today, Google functions as both content curator and search engine. So, ranking higher will take bus loads of quality content. 

Algorithms will Transform Google as a Content Curator in future algorithm updates

Does this mean that you should give up on trying to improve your rankings?

Lofty goals are great, they give us something to aspire to and reach out of our comfort zone to achieve. Lofty goals are great, they give us something to aspire to and reach out of your comfort sounds to achieve.

If you really want to make a dent in your business progress, however you may need to set SMART-er goals.

The above example is just one of many real life situations where new business owners exhaust themselves trying to achieve poorly defined goals.

When you put in a lot of effort into your brand without really understanding or creating a well researched strategy for six hours, you run the risk of losing money, losing steam in and in the worst case, losing the drive to run an independent small business altogether.

Challenge: Poorly defined marketing goals

Let us go back to the simple example presented below. When you don’t pay attention or have a deep knowledge of the marketing industry, You are basically shooting in the dark. No matter how hard you try, every time the algorithm changes, your entire efforts become futile.

Over time you become entrenched in learning and mastering the secrets of marketing and SEO rather than running the business you set out to build. Let us take a look at some of the common mistakes small business owners make when starting out with marketing their business.

Using old and outdated techniques

Online platforms modify their algorithms frequently – Instagram, Facebook, Google, Linkedin – all of them! Staying up-to-date with the latest marketing geekery while running a business is hard. Sounds difficult and practically impossible, right? Well, it is.

By the time you learn about a ranking technique, hashtag strategy or traffic hack through social media, it is already too late to implement. True early adopters ride at the crest of the wave instead of trailing along behind the latest marketing fad. Both online and offline marketing strategies need to change with time in order to stay relevant. Posting content in bulk on every platform you can find no longer works. Today, industry insights, quality of content and niche expertise are more likely to help you build a loyal base of followers.

You may think that search engine optimization techniques alone will get you the traffic you need. However, if you are aiming to drive more traffic to your website in 2020, you will need a holistic content strategy that spans across a variety of specific and relevant platforms – all interlinked to your value-driven website content. Your strategy can be a comprehensive mix of:

  • Guest site references
  • Internal redirection to relevant content
  • Custom landing page funnels 
  • Key relationships on social platforms
  • Consistent value-addition through relevant online and offline channels

Well-researched marketing goals rarely suffer from old and outdated marketing techniques. Read on to learn more about setting SMART marketing goals.

Poor website experience

Hey guys, this is content marketing for 2020. If you don’t have a website of your own, no matter how simple, you are already obsolete! 

Say, you already have a website – what’s the catch then? If enough potential customers come to your website, stick around for a total of 0.01 seconds, never to return, it can severely impact your dwell time. 

Fancy SEO jargon aside, if people are willing to stick around on your website for longer than a few minutes, you eventually may be able to create a decent following of loyal customers.  

As per the ‘Single Grain’ website, Google can rank your website if a user spends around 10 minutes on your website.

Your customers should get enough value out of your website in order to spend time on it. Populating your website with useful information, entertainment value and a real feel for the kind of person or people running that business can create a positive brand experience that not only increases dwell time, but also helps you build an audience independent of which social platform is the most popular in the coming years. 

Your website is a platform where you can build a following that is loyal only to your business. Setting SMART goals will not only help you build a simple, effective website, but also help you figure out effective ways to drive traffic to it – so you can eventually sell real stuff to real people.

Here is a little known fact.

Bounce rates increase by 50 percent if your website takes more than 2 seconds extra to load

Obviously, you already know what you need to improve your site speed in order to rank better. PageSpeed Insights is a great free tool to help you measure your website’s page load time.   

Here is the caveat. 

Keep in mind that you are selling to your customers – not Google. So while it is important to rank better in Google,  you also want to resonate with your customers to build deeper relationships. 

However, don’t forget that you are selling to your customers and not Google. Don’t just comply with Google’s standards since your customers are smart and can sense if you are on the list in a shady manner.  

Not using the right mix of technology and humanity

SEO marketing, Instagram pages, analytics apps – these are just tools. A lot of people mistake these tools for strategy. Sure, the following metrics matter a lot:

  • New or unique visitor conversion
  • Sources for incoming traffic
  • Interactions per visit 
  • Return visitor conversion
  • Value per visit
  • Bounce rate
  • Lead generation costs 
  • Exit pages
  • Page views
  • Average session duration

However, if you follow the few influencers that have stood the test of time, you will notice a curious trend. They may change social platforms of engagement over the years – but they have a very relatable, interesting and authentic brand with a consistent brand voice. Their humanity and their message shines right through any platform they are currently utilizing to reach out to potential followers.

Solution: Set SMART marketing goals

Contrast the problems defined above to having the right marketing expertise on board to help you set the right goals and ensure that your hard earned money is actually being invested in a way that helps you increase your income through your business. Setting SMART goals is imperative to effective execution of your marketing activities throughout the year.

In the final weeks of 2019, we took stock of all the work we did since January. We are a young team, so the first thing we set out to do was create pillar content for our audience. We used the SMART goals model to assess our efforts. Check out this nifty description from Mind Tools to get a quick overview on what SMART goals mean.

what does smart goals means

Here are some of the things we looked at:

S – Are our marketing goals specific?

Specific goals encourage performance-based review. Rather than focusing on hypothetical should-have-beens, using the SMART approach will help you to specify concrete deliverables. 

  • Rather than “getting more traffic”, we focussed on creating 2 quality blogs and 20 social posts per month.
  • Rather than “make more money” we aimed to onboard “six new clients”.
  • Rather than defining a vague project scope, we looked at work breakdown structures.

M – Are our marketing goals measurable?  

Measurable goals have helped us stay on track when there were so many things to do, we didnt know where to start! We used measurables whenever we needed to meet deadlines, stay inspired and increase accountability. Here are some things that we looked at in order to increase the measurability of our goals.

For client work:

  • We created work breakdown structures by asking clients
  • What deliverables will you need for graphics? Will you need any resized elements?
  • How many types and pieces of content will you need? 
  • How many submissions/backlinks/postings do you need for SEO?

For internal use:

  • We manage five brands internally as well.
  • For each of these brands, we broke down our deliverables to units per month for graphics, content, marketing, SEO, development & strategy.
  • We then created a weekly Calendar using Google calendar to assign specific tasks to specific people. 
  • In order to stay accountable, We had a Deyle round table to review the work that was in progress, pending, completed or ‘stuck’ so the team could find solutions to any challenges that came up.
  • Finally, we celebrated every outcome that was successfully achieved with a team lunch or activity. 

A – Are our marketing goals attainable? 

When you work on collaborative projects, it is very important that the outlined goals are attainable – both as a group and individually. Setting goals that are too ambitious can inadvertently set your team up for failure. We learnt this early on with some of our less experienced team members. 

Initially, we had a rigorous schedule of goals set up for every team member. After about a Month of weekly reviews, we noticed that some of our young talent was struggling behind in meeting the goals that were outlined. 

  • Rather than ignoring their burnout, we focused on three things: 
  • Breaking down tasks into even smaller micro-tasks
  • Asking team members if the expected outcomes were reasonable
  • Offering extra briefings and training support 
  • Reframing goals to drive progress instead of calling out unachieved outcomes
  • Identifying common challenges and offering insights

We found that simply offering a culture of encouragement and learning helped some of our less experienced team members attain incredible goals. Allowing room for dialogue also increased the buy-in from other team members who saw their teammates being supported with professional training. 

R  – Are our marketing goals relevant? 

In order to create impact, your marketing goals must be relevant – to your market, your business niche and most importantly to your target audience. In order to evaluate the relevance of our goals, we asked ourselves the following questions:

  • Do our goals address the needs of our audience? 
  • Do our goals reflect our professional & organizational values?
  • Do our goals address a specific gap in the market?
  • Do our goals offer users a way to overcome common problems?

T – Are our marketing goals time bound?

Without time markers to quantify goals, internal projects can stretch on for months, even years sometimes! For 2020, we wanted to set goals that we could track over time. We added milestones for different time durations by asking ourselves:

  • What do we need to finish on a daily basis?
  • What goals can we track over the course of a week?
  • What should all of these activities add up to on a monthly basis?
  • What are our quarterly goals?
  • What do we want to achieve this year?

2020 is off to a roaring start at Vantage. We have some exciting branding stuff lined up for our audience. While we are putting out these posts, we are setting our own SMART goals for the year. If you want to try your hand at creating a marketing strategy for your business, here is the exact template that we used to build our marketing strategy for 2020. Fill out the form below to get your copy of our SMART Marketing Goals Worksheet.

You can also try to look for professional SEO services that help you improve your SEO strategies due to the high amount of experience their experts have.

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