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Illustration of SMART Goals

Mar 30, 2022

SMART Goals: 3 Reasons Setting Realistic Goals is Crucial for Inbound Success

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by Megan McGinnis
Goals are the heart of any campaign. They are the reason for putting effort toward a campaign. Of course, most companies' general end-goal is the goal of 'more'—more leads, more ad engagement, more sales, more money. These are all pretty understandable goals; after all, you are running a business! But are your goals SMART?

What are SMART Goals?

Infographic of SMART Goals in Marketing
Setting SMART goals are critical to any . Here's a reminder of what the acronym stands for:
  • Specific: Hone in on specific marketing and company initiatives and how you will achieve them.
  • Measurable: Make sure you have KPIs that match your specific initiatives and a way to measure results.
  • Attainable: Consider your team's abilities, bandwidth, time, and budget to set your goals. If they are lofty and unrealistic, your goals will probably fail.
  • Relevant: Does your goal align with your brand and company's overarching goals, values, and mission?
  • Timely: Set a deadline to achieve your goal so you can move on to the next one!
Applying the words behind the letters gives you a natural boundary to work within, hopefully helping you achieve your attainable and realistic goals, but here are some specific reasons your SMART goals should be realistic.

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Three Reasons Why You Should Set Realistic SMART Goals:

  1. They Give  Your Momentum and Clarity
2. They Give You and Your Team Accountability
3. They Give You Flexibility

Realistic Smart Goals Give Your Inbound Marketing Flywheel Momentum and Clarity:

Business Process
Motivation is almost a natural result when your team has better clarity of their realistic and achievable goals. To keep momentum and team morale as you work toward your SMART goal, documenting small successes and writing down your goals so the whole team can see them can add to the motivation to see the project through to completion. 
Clarity means the entire team knows:
  • The overarching goal of the campaign or project
  • Their roles and responsibilities for achieving them
  • What the deadline is; open-ended goals lag and usually lack urgency and motivation to succeed
On the flip side, setting broad, general goals and expectations for a marketing campaign can leave your marketing and sales team confused, open to miscommunication and quite possibly lack of motivation, putting the company’s morale and future campaigns at risk.

Realistic SMART Goals Give You and Your Team Accountability:

Creative Solutions Process
If your entire team is on board with achieving the SMART goals you've created together, you have given personal ownership for each part of the project. Write your goals down in a common area at your office (or if it's just you, place sticky notes on your computer) with how you plan to approach your goals and their deadlines. People feel pride in their work when they are given ownership and accountability for their part of the project and a sense of urgency to meet the deadline set by the entire team.

Realistic SMART Goals Give You Flexibility and Guidance: 

Business Success
Rather than picking a vague, pie-in-the-sky goal, a realistic SMART goal guides your campaign but also allows you to pivot and .
Here’s an example:
Vague goal: We want to increase the company’s ROI in six months.
SMART Goal: We want to increase the company’s PPC Google ads leads in six months by testing multiple versions of an ad and collecting data and metrics.
Ultimately, actionable and realistic SMART marketing goals are more likely to succeed. Even SMART goals themselves might give you a new perspective on what success is— success in teamwork, obtaining and understanding measurable data, and the ability to adapt your goals and pivot if the goal in and of itself wasn’t “successful.”
Don’t know where to start? Start with Watermark! Our experts in Inbound Marketing strategies can work alongside your internal team or even become your team to help you create and execute your company’s goals.