I should know better by now, but I always ask the same stupid question when people come to me to talk about their marketing initiatives or campaigns. What do I ask them, you wonder? “What are your goals for this campaign?” Every time I ask this I wish I could take it back, because the same answer is always, “Increase sales and make more money!”
No kidding…that’s what we all want but its not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. So let’s get smart about S.M.A.R.T. goals and talk about how to develop them and increase your market share.
What is a S.M.A.R.T. goal? They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. These 5 elements are crucial to set up a S.M.A.R.T. goal; each campaign or marketing task that you take on should go through an analysis of these 5 elements. The best part is, IT’S EASY!!! OK, let’s go…
Craig is a lawn care service provider looking to take his business to the next level. Let’s go through this process of establishing a S.M.A.R.T. goal with Craig.
- Specific – We all have goals of increasing revenue, gaining more customers/members and increase awareness. A specific goal pertains to one item that can be focus of the campaign.
- Measurable – It’s important to make sure that any marketing initiative that takes place can be trackable and analyzed to enhance the ongoing or future campaigns. Most importantly, if your goal was asked as a question, can you answer it? “Did you hit ‘$X’ in new revenue, or gain ‘X’ new members?”
- Attainable – Can we truly reach the goal we set? We would all like to gain an exponential amount of money or new customers; but if we don’t set an reachable goal, success is hard to reach.
- Relevant – Does this goal directly pertain to the marketing campaign? This is where you think about your clientele or prospects; does your product fulfill a need that will be best suited for your clients?
- Timely – Delivery is key. Hitting the market can be tricky at times, but this is an important element in the process to develop our goals. No matter how great our concept is, if it’s not hitting the market when the buyer wants your product, your campaign won’t be successful.
So lets take Craig’s business to help him establish a goal. He’s looking to expand his customer base with a sales increase of 25% over his current earnings for basic lawn care services: mowing, fertilizing, debris removal. For arguments sake, it’s February.
Example: Craig’s goal is to increase his customer base by 10 homes within the next 3 months which is equal to about 25% increase in revenue, to homeowners in the suburbs, 1-mile radius around his office, to people age 55+.
- Is this goal Specific? Yes, he’s looking for increase is client base by 10 homes and has set a time frame of 3 months with a certain demographic. Whereas he did not say, “I want more customers this year…”
- Is this goal Measureable? Absolutely. With each new client acquisition he can tell how far he is from meeting or exceeding his goal at any given time throughout the 3 months. Moreover, since he is also great with numbers, he knows when he is on meeting revenue goals or not.
- Is this goal Attainable? Craig thinks so. This element is a bit more subjective and requires a good self-evaluation of your business and YOUR selling ability. Craig feels that his current client base would be willing to refer him to neighbors or friends; 10 new homes should be attainable for sure.
- Is this goal Relevant? His target audience are those that probably can afford to have lawn care done for them, or are people who may be looking to hire someone to do the manual labor. Moreover, he is looking for homeowners, as they decide on the purchasing decisions for the home. Renters, for example, do not.
- Is this goal Timely? Yes. You have to think about your product and its market. Lawn care starts early Spring and goes through the Fall. Because it’s February (remember, for arguments sake), now is the time to start to build interest around your brand. When Spring comes, people will already have your name on their minds. If Craig started in June, it would be too late. You may pick up a few clients, but will be no where near meeting his S.M.A.R.T. goal.
It may take you and extra 5-10 minutes to develop a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but you will be smarter for doing so. You will start to see that when you meet these goals, you will know exactly how you compared to your original plan. On the other hand, if you do not meet your goals, you are intelligent enough to know where you may have lost focus and can track back to the problem. You can then fix it for next time. At least now you know.