Goal setting is one of the most important, and most widely overlooked, aspects of creating an inbound marketing strategy. Everything you do – from deploying tactics to defining your messaging – should revolve around a specific goal.
Why is goal setting important to inbound marketing? Because it shows how your marketing strategy is contributing to the business overall. Also, because it gives you something specific and tangible to work towards.
If you’re struggling with setting goals for your inbound marketing strategy, you’re in the right place. This article will explain the importance of goal setting, outline a process for creating relevant goals, and provide a framework you can use.
Why is goal setting important to inbound marketing?
Goal setting is important because it requires you to think deeply about your intentions. It requires you to ask “why” you’re doing marketing in the first place and how it contributes to the growth of the business.
Goal setting is important to your inbound marketing strategy because it:
- Sets clear objectives
- Guides the strategy and tactics
- Helps to get buy in
- Creates marketing and sales alignment
1. Goals set clear objectives
Without a specific goal in mind, how do you know if your marketing has been successful? How do you know which tactics to utilize? How do you know when it’s time to ramp up or pull back?
Goals help you work with clear intentions. They give you a clear indication of what success looks like. They also give your work more value by demonstrating how marketing is impacting the business overall.
So whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or annually, always set a goal so that you have something to work towards and define your success.
2. Goals guide the strategy and tactics
Let’s do a video! And an email series! We need to be more active on social media!
This is how 99% of marketing conversations go down. Without a specific goal in mind, it’s easy to get excited about all the possibilities and want to do it all. But if you set clear and specific goals, it’s easier to focus on what really matters and come up with innovative solutions.
For example, if you want to increase your SQL conversion rate, being more active on social media isn’t going to bring you closer to that goal. But, optimizing your lead nurture sequences will.
Setting goals helps you nail down what’s important to the business so you can build a strategy and implement the right tactics to achieve tangible results.
3. Goals help you get buy in
“Why are we doing this?”
I’m sure you’ve heard this more than once. It’s pretty much the standard response whenever you need input from another department.
Goal setting helps to nip this line of questioning in the bud. People will naturally resist any time you ask them for their time or for a budget increase. But if you can clearly explain how the project will impact the business, you will have a much easier time getting what you need.
So when you need to interview your Director of Sales for a piece of marketing content, you can say:
“It’s for an article we’re going to publish in Forbes. It’s part of our plan to bring new visitors to the website.”
Nobody can argue with that!
Setting goals for your inbound marketing strategy makes it easier to get buy-in throughout the organization when you need additional support.
4. Goals create marketing and sales alignment
Marketing and sales departments have a kind of infamous rivalry in the business world. At the heart of this feud is a simple misalignment of goals and objectives.
Setting goals for inbound marketing creates transparency so that everybody can see the big picture and how their efforts are interconnected.
For example, if marketing sets the goal to increase lead quality, they can work together with the sales team to refine their definition of a Sales Qualified Lead and see if close rates improve.
Or, if the sales team isn’t getting enough leads, marketing leaders can discuss a strategy that focuses on getting more meetings booked.
Setting goals for inbound marketing makes it easier to bring the sales team into the conversation and create alignment that makes everybody’s life easier.
These are just some of the reasons why goal setting is important. Of course, there are numerous advantages and once you start creating benchmarks, you’ll see how it helps you in different ways,
How to Set Goals For Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
When creating an inbound marketing strategy, you must first understand how your efforts will impact the business as a whole. Chasing goals like increasing website traffic or getting more social followers might not be what the business needs at that moment.
It’s important to ensure that your marketing is directly supporting important business objectives so that the entire organization can feel the impact of your work.
Here are some steps you can follow to create relevant and impactful goals for inbound marketing:
- Start with a business objective you want to support. (ex: increasing revenue)
- Determine how marketing can support those objectives (ex: increasing # of SQLs)
- Identify which marketing tactics you will use to reach your goals (ex: paid media and email marketing)
- Identify which marketing KPIs are important to track (ex: MQL to SQL conversion rate)
- Create realistic benchmarks you will use track progress (ex: increasing new SQLs by 20%)
- Set a timeline for achieving your goals (ex: increasing new SQLs by 20% by the end of Q4)
When setting goals for your inbound marketing strategy, it’s best to start with a high-level business objective and work backwards to determine how you can support that objective through marketing. Your process should look something like this:
Business objectives > Marketing goals > Marketing tactics > Marketing KPIs > Timeline
Once you’ve got your process nailed down, it’s time to articulate your goals in a clear and concise manner.
Goal Setting Template for Inbound Marketing
You can use the SMART Goal framework to create clear and quantifiable goals for your inbound marketing strategy. What is the SMART Goal framework, you ask?
A SMART Goal is…
- Specific – Pick a specific KPI that you want to measure. Saying that you want to “create better content” is too vague. Instead, be specific and say “increase new website conversions”
- Measurable – Your goal has to be measurable. You may not be able to measure content quality, but you can measure how it performs. Again, pick a specific KPI you want to measure and start tracking.
- Attainable – Make sure your goals are realistic and can be achieved with reasonable effort. For example, you may not be able to 10x your conversions, but maybe you may be able to double them depending on the situation.
- Relevant – Your goals should be relevant to the business. If social media isn’t an important channel for you, you shouldn’t focus on getting more followers. Instead focus on growing the sales pipeline by attracting more bottom-funnel contacts.
- Timely – You need to give yourself a timeframe for reaching your goal. Whether it’s a monthly, quarterly, or yearly goal, giving a reasonable timeframe is better than saying “I’ll get there when I get there.”
You want to create a goal that is realistic, trackable, and tied to a business objective. I won’t go into too much detail about SMART Goals here, but you can find some great examples of how to write an effective SMART Goal for inbound marketing here and here.
Use Inbound Marketing To Create Measurable Business Growth
Goal setting and strategizing go hand in hand. Without a clear goal to guide your marketing strategy, you are basically just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Take your strategy to the next level and claim your seat at the table by setting clear and meaningful goals – and then blowing them out of the water!
If you need help creating an effective inbound marketing strategy for your business, contact WEBITMD today or download your free Growth Stack Guide below.