A goal is a goal, right? Nope. How you set a goal can make or break your perceived success. In general, goals help us validate how effective we have been, they keep us focused, and hopefully push us to be better than we were.
Your goal may be “smart”, that is it shows good judgement by the creator, but is it a SMART goal?
Let’s look at an example of a “smart” goal:
“Increase traffic this quarter by producing more blog posts.”
Although pretty smart by knowing that generating content is a great way to bring traffic to your website, there is quite a bit more to consider.
“Have the #1 website in the world!”
Lofty, ungrounded goals are great for motivational photos and memes, but they have no place in your marketing efforts.
On the other hand, SMART goals keep us honest, and firmly planted in reality. But what makes a goal “SMART”? A SMART goal has 5 distinct attributes.
SMARTer Goals are:
- Use real numbers. Words like “more,” “increase” and “next quarter” just don’t cut it.
- Be sure you can actually track your goal. No hiding behind wishy-washy phrases like “get more brand visibility,” if you can’t measure it, it isn’t a SMART goal.
- Think challenging yet possible. You aren’t likely going to go from page 100 on Google to page 1 overnight with one tweet for a highly-competitive keyword.
- Be honest with what you (and your team) are able to accomplish. Be sure to consider hurdles that may be in your path and adjust accordingly.
- Give yourself an actual deadline, with an actual date. Draw a line in the sand to hold yourself accountable to whatever you choose.
Now let’s look at a SMART goal.
"Increase overall website visits by 25% (from 15,100 to 18,875 visits per month) by the end of Q4 (December 30, 2017), starting now (September 6, 2017)."
Here is a quick formula you can use:
"Increase/decrease [Category] by [Number Here] (from this amount/units [Starting Number] to this amount/units [End Number]) by this date [Actual End Date], starting when [Actual Start Date]."
Take a look at your current goals and make sure you cover each attribute in the formula above. If you don’t have goals set, now is as good of a time as any to set them. Share your final SMART goals in the comments & remember, stay focused then push yourself (and team) to be SMARTer than you were yesterday.