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Setting goals: Step 1 for developing an effective marketing strategy

All good plans start with goals, and marketing shouldn’t be any exception – yet too many marketing activities are started because ‘we think we should be doing this’.  Applying the same criteria to your marketing strategy as any other area of your business development is essential for creating an effective marketing strategy.

‘We think we should be doing this’ is applied most commonly to social media.  Countless small- and medium-sized businesses move into digital engagement because they are aware that this is what the rest of the world seems to be doing.  But this should never be the starting point for your marketing strategy; any marketing activity is a means to an end, not the end itself. 

The starting point for any successful marketing strategy is to work out where you want it to help take your business.  But, of course, in order to plot your desired end point, you need to know where you are starting from.  And to make your goals attainable, they need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results orientated, Time-framed).

This requires some investigation and thought, before you can move onto the next step.  If we go through some potential objectives, you’ll be able to see the sort of thigs you would need to understand to inform your marketing strategy and help you measure your Return On Investment.

OBJECTIVE: To improve your search engine rankings (SEO) so potential customers find you more readily

Need to know:
What search terms are people using to find your goods and services?
Where do you currently appear on relevant online searches? 
Which search engines are your targets predominantly using?
SMART goal:
To appear on page 1 of key Google searches within 4 months.

OBJECTIVE: To increase traffic to your website

Need to know:
What traffic are you currently getting to your website? 
When are people visiting? 
How many of your visitors are in your target geolocation? 
What are your bounce rates? 
How do the different areas of your website perform? 
What are your conversion rates?
SMART goal:
To increase visitors to your website by 10% within 12 months and to reduce the bounce rate by 10% within 6 months.

OBJECTIVE: To increase the average spend per customer

Need to know:
What is your current average spend per customer? 
What difference would a 5% increase make to your business? 
What difference would a 10% increase make to your business?
SMART goal: 
To improve average spend per customer by 10% within 12 months.

Undertaking marketing simply because you think you should be doing it, is likely to lead to unfocused activities that don’t support your business objectives – and lead to you thinking that marketing is a waste of money.  Taking the time to establish clear, measurable objectives – and sourcing the information you need to inform them – is the first step to creating a marketing strategy that will help drive your business forward.

To discuss how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing,

email communications@sharpminds.agency

Want to know more? Read the rest of our series on developing an effective marketing strategy:
Step 2: Set your budget

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