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As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You’re responsible for everything from product development and customer service to finances and marketing. It can be overwhelming to juggle so many tasks, and setting realistic marketing goals may be the last thing on your mind. However, having clear goals is essential for developing a successful marketing strategy that will help your business grow. 

So, let’s talk tips for setting realistic marketing goals that will work for your small business…

Start with your business goals

Your marketing goals should be aligned with your overall business goals. If you haven’t already done so, take some time to define your business goals. What do you want to achieve in the next year, three years, or five years? Be specific and make sure your goals are measurable. For example, if you run an eCommerce store, your business goal might be to increase sales by 20% in the next year.

Once you have your business goals in place, you can start to think about how marketing can help you achieve them. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, your marketing goal might be to increase website traffic or conversions.

Consider your resources

When setting marketing goals, it’s important to consider your resources. As a small business owner, you may not have a large marketing budget or a team of dedicated marketers. That’s okay! You can still set realistic goals that align with your resources.

Think about what you can realistically accomplish with the time and money you have available. For example, if you only have a few hours a week to devote to marketing, you may need to focus on one or two channels, such as social media or email marketing. Or, if you have a limited budget, you may need to focus on low-cost tactics, such as content marketing or SEO.

Use SMART goals

One effective way to set realistic marketing goals is to use the SMART framework. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here’s what each of these elements means:

Specific: Your goal should be clear and specific. For example, “increase website traffic” is more specific than “improve online presence.”

Measurable: Your goal should be measurable so you can track progress and determine success. For example, “increase website traffic by 20%” is measurable, while “increase website traffic” is not.

Achievable: Your goal should be realistic and achievable. For example, if you’ve never done any SEO before, it may not be realistic to set a goal of ranking #1 for a highly competitive keyword in a short amount of time.

Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to your business goals and aligned with your resources. For example, if your business goal is to increase sales, your marketing goal should be relevant to that, such as increasing conversions.

Time-bound: Your goal should have a deadline or timeline attached to it. For example, “increase website traffic by 20% in the next 6 months” is time-bound.

Using the SMART framework can help you set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, which can help you stay on track and measure progress.

Break down your goals

Setting a big, overarching goal can be intimidating, especially if it feels unattainable. One way to make your goals more manageable is to break them down into smaller, more achievable goals. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 20% in the next six months, you could break that down into smaller goals, such as:

  • Increase social media followers by 10%
  • Publish two blog posts per week
  • Optimise website pages for SEO

Breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks can make them feel less daunting and more achievable. It also helps you prioritise tasks and stay focused on the big picture.

Focus on what works

When it comes to marketing, there are countless tactics and strategies you could use. However, not all of them will work for your business. To set realistic marketing goals, focus on what has worked for you in the past.

Look at your data to see which marketing channels and tactics have driven the most traffic, leads, and sales. For example, if you’ve had success with email marketing in the past, you may want to set a goal of increasing your email list or improving your email open rates.

Focusing on what works not only helps you set more realistic goals, but it also increases the chances of achieving them. When you stick with what has worked for your business in the past, you’re building on a foundation of success.

Be flexible

Setting goals is important, but it’s also important to be flexible. As a small business owner, you need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and pivot your marketing strategy when needed. If you’re not seeing the results you want from a particular marketing channel or tactic, don’t be afraid to try something new. It’s okay to adjust your goals as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

Additionally, unexpected events can impact your marketing goals. For example, a global pandemic could disrupt your business and make it difficult to achieve your original goals. Being flexible and adaptable can help you stay on track even when things don’t go according to plan.

Measure your progress

It’s important to measure your progress toward your marketing goals. This allows you to track your success, identify what’s working, and make adjustments as needed. Make sure you have the right tools in place to track your progress, such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, or email marketing software. Regularly review your data and adjust your strategy as needed to stay on track.

Hire an agency

One option to consider when setting realistic marketing goals for your small business is outsourcing to a remote agency. While it may seem daunting to hand over control of your marketing efforts to someone else, outsourcing can actually be a smart move for small businesses with limited resources (more cost-effective than hiring an in-house marketing team). 

First and foremost, it allows you to tap into the expertise of professionals who specialise in marketing. A digital marketing agency typically has a team of experts who are knowledgeable about the latest marketing trends, strategies, and technologies. This means they can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to your marketing strategy, which can be especially valuable if you have limited marketing experience.

Remote agencies are also a good choice for small businesses because they offer flexibility. With a virtual marketing team, you can choose the level of service that best fits your needs and budget. Whether you need help with a specific project or ongoing marketing support, an agency can customise their services to meet your needs.

Setting realistic marketing goals

Remember, setting realistic marketing goals takes time and effort. It’s not something you can do overnight, but it’s essential for developing a successful marketing strategy that will help your business grow. Use these tips to set realistic marketing goals that work for your small business and stay focused on the big picture. And if you need a hand achieving the goals you set out for yourself, we can help.

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