“A goal without a plan is just a dream” author unknown.
In my social life, I am not much of a planner. I often wake up on the weekends and decide “let’s have game night tonight!” I text our friends, go to the store, rush around picking up the house, and clean the outside patio. I could avoid some of that last-minute hurry if I just planned ahead, right?
Now in my business, it is a different story. It’s all about goal setting. Not random goal setting like “I am going to post every day on social media.” Specific goal setting with metrics attached so that I am actively monitoring and adjusting my strategies and tactics to reach the goal.
Have you heard about SMART goals? It is a way to write goals that includes specific information to set you up for success in reaching those goals. It has been really powerful for my business.
Let’s look at these common business goals to illustrate:
- I will post consistently on social media.
- I am going to get more clients than last year.
- I will grow my email list.
What exactly does “consistently” mean? Once a day, once a week, once a month? What about more clients? One more, two more? How much do you want to grow your email list?
When the goals you set for your business are generic the success of the strategies you use to get there is hard to measure. If you make them SMART goals you have the opportunity to turn those goals into a roadmap of how you will attain them.
What makes a SMART goal different from a generic goal is that it is specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound. It forces you to look at your business’ data and think about how you are going to reach this goal. You look at the why behind your goal. We all want to grow our business with more leads and more clients and SMART goals give you a solid plan of how to get there.
- First, a SMART goal is specific. Using the example of “growing your email list” so that you can take your customer from awareness to conversion through an email funnel. That is a specific goal.
- Next, make it measurable. You want to know the growth you are looking for. Think about where in the customer journey your ideal client would be when they are at this point. To follow the example, I will grow my email list by 25%
- Now, look at your data. Your SMART goal needs to be attainable. How can you tell if it is attainable? You have to consider how much effort, time, and money you are willing to spend to reach this goal.
- It also needs to be realistic. Making a goal of gaining 10,000 followers on Instagram in 3 months may not be realistic if you only have 50. I believe in stretch goals but when you set a goal that is unrealistic you are setting yourself up for failure and that doesn’t feel good. Can you see what you have done previously? I recommend setting a goal that is based on previous data. And then also set a stretch goal.
- The last component of a SMART goal is that it needs to be timebound. This is where you can get yourself focused. When would you like to reach this goal? When do you need to reach this goal for business growth? I will grow my email list by 25% in 6 months.
The SMART Goal Difference.
Generic Goal – Be on Linked In
SMART Goal – I will grow my LinkedIn connections to 500+ in the first quarter of 2023.
- My goal is specific – grow LinkedIn connections to 500+.
- It is Measurable – Connection count to 500+
- Attainable – I started at 243 connection on January 1st and now I am at 322, it is January 27. That is 79 connections in 3 weeks. If I have a clear strategy it is possible to make this growth.
- Reasonable – I have been actively using Linked In for a year and a half with a solid strategy and consistent tactics I can see that this growth is possible based on my previous growth.
- Time-bound – in the first quarter of 2023. I have until March 31, stay tuned.
What Comes After Setting the Goal
After setting the goal you decide on Strategy, Tactics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
Goal: I will grow my LinkedIn connections to 500+ in the first quarter of 2023.
For this goal, I want to create awareness. In order to do that I need to show up consistently and provide relevant and useful content. Social media is a great platform for this because you can do this organically (aka Free). It is a great networking tool to meet new small business owners and digital marketing professionals. Networking has been the biggest source of leads for me since my business began.
Last year I got overwhelmed by trying to come up with consistent content for three social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In. And when I was busy with client work that was the first thing that fell off of the to-do list. When I made my SMART goals I knew it wouldn’t be sustainable to try to grow on all social media platforms based on my past experience.
LinkedIn is where my ideal clients are. I know I can manage one social media platform since I create my own content. I know I can get the 500+ growth in connections there and once I have created that awareness I can provide content to go to the next stage of the customer journey.
Tactics (these are the specific steps I will take):
- Learn more about my profile
- Learn about how to interact effectively
- Learn how to grow connections
- Comment on three posts daily
- Ask for 5+ connections daily
- Post 1 informational post (article) a week
- Post 2 personal knowledge posts a week (blog,
And the last part is setting a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of how I am going to track this. In this case, the KPI is simple. I will look at the number of connections I make weekly to make sure they are growing at a rate that will allow me to reach my goal. And since I know the next step is consideration. I don’t just stop at making connections, part of my strategy is also posting and interacting. I look at who is interacting with my posts. What is the content that promotes interaction so I can do more of that?
How Many Goals Should You Set
I recommend no more than three. One goal for creating awareness. One goal for consideration, nurturing your audience and making a relationship with them. And one goal for conversion. Now there are certain strategies that will cover more than one point in the client journey. I challenge you to find those so you are working harder, not smarter. Or focus on the one that would most help your business right now. It won’t help you to set a goal that you don’t have time to accomplish. Could you hire some of the tactics out? That is another option. Whatever your choice is you have to start with the SMART goals so here is a Goal Setting PDF that you can use to outline these. It is a one-pager because we like things clear and simple around here. I would love to get your feedback and what SMART goals you have set for yourself. Leave a comment here or on one of my socials. Pop Quiz – do you remember which one is my focus right now?