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Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Without a concrete plan in place, it’s difficult to track progress. Setting marketing objectives early on will help you and your company improve.

When you have a specific plan, it’s a lot easier to clearly gauge how you should be moving forward. You are also able to confront other factors that could potentially holding your company back — competing priorities, operational inefficiencies or other bottlenecks that impede success.

Here are three key elements to crafting effective marketing objectives:

Write Out Your Plan

The best practice is to write out a marketing plan so everyone in your organization can be familiar with it. Creating a marketing goals template will make it a lot more helpful for you to present your information. You can establish your template by creating your goal, determining how relevant the goal is to your business, estimating how long it will take you to reach your goal, and deciding on ways to measure if your goal is on track. Make sure when you’re writing out a plan you have a “SMART” goal in mind (see below). No matter what sort of goal you set, it’s easier to strive for it when your plan is clearly and permanently defined.

Make Your Goals SMART

In 1981, management scholar George T. Doran introduced the SMART objective-setting method, creating an easy-to-remember acronym to help managers set productive goals.

Under the SMART system, goals and objectives should meet the following criteria:

  • Specific – Your goal should be targeted to a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – You should identify how you will measure success or at least determine an indicator of progress towards the goal.
  • Achievable – The goal must be attainable and not aspirational. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Relevant – It’s important to choose goals that actually matter and will have a real impact.
  • Time-bound – The goal should be given a time frame or a target date.

By following the SMART goal-setting process, marketers are accountable to meet specific deadlines, deliver their best performance, and most importantly, unite with other members of your team in working toward a common goal. By applying this formula to your inbound marketing strategies, you will be able to create marketing objectives that are not only attainable but also profitable.

Identify Your Target Audience

Make sure to identify your target audience early because that can determine the success or failure of all other elements of your marketing plan. Being able to identify the exact audience whom you’re tailoring content toward will ensure you do not waste your time with people who are not as interested in your product, or not as good of a fit as your ideal buyer. Having a strong social media presence can be a great way to identify and track your current and prospective customers. Specific metrics to measure growth in audience engagement may be pages like/follower growth and average per-post engagement. Access to this information gives you and your company a better feel for who’s actually the right fit, how people are choosing to connect, and how often they visiting, among other important insights.

Determining your goals is only the beginning. After you determine your goals, you need to determine the steps you’re going to take to achieve success.

Now that you know how to set your goals effectively, the most important step is to keep those goals top of mind and ensure you follow through with what you set out to do.