You’ve probably heard this before, “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” Though this is true, we think it warrants some clarification. Not all goals are created equal, and we think it’s important to teach you how to write SMART goals. This article covers what exactly SMART goals are, why you need them, and how to write them effectively.
Tips On How To Write SMART Goals
If you’re feeling stuck in your career, or are just not moving at the rate you thought you would, it might because you’ve been spending your hard work and time on the wrong goals. Let’s discuss how to write SMART goals so that clarify your ideas, gain some focus, and learn how to use your time and resources effectively.
First things first – what is the difference between a goal and a SMART goal?
What is a SMART goal?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to write SMART goals, let’s define goals. Goals are defined as an object that we set for ourselves that we can push ourselves to achieve. A SMART goal is just an acronym that acts as a guide to help us set better goals. They are concrete targets that make your goal easier to achieve.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
S – Specific
Set specific, simple, sensible, and significant goals. Rather than saying, “I want to increase my social media following”, instead, say “I want to increase my Facebook likes on my business page.”
M – Measurable
Measurable and motivating goals are important because they give you a means to track your progress. Up your goal from “I want to increase my Facebook likes on my business page from 300 likes to 1000 likes.”
A – Attainable
You want your goal to be achievable and rooted in reality. It should stretch you a little but also remain possible. Attainable goals make great stepping stones to large overarching goals. Just like a runner training for a marathon, you want to make your goals act as milestones for larger dreams. If you’ve never run before, you wouldn’t just run a marathon without training. You would set smaller, more realistic goals first.
In terms of the goal we set above, growing from 300 likes to 1000 seems achievable. If you changed it from 1000 to 1 million, that might be not very attainable, at least not in a realistic time frame.
R – Relevant
Having a relevant goal means having a goal that not only matters to you but aligns with other goals. We should have control over our goals, and make sure it is worth our while. We could be setting great goals that don’t actually matter in terms of our overall business plan. In our example of gaining Facebook likes, will that actually bring in revenue to your business?
Think about how your goal aligns with your mission and values. Is it relevant and realistic?
T – Time Bound
The key on how to write SMART goals is to make them time sensitive. A good goal becomes great when there is a target date, a deadline that you can focus on and work towards. Setting a time limit on your goal helps prevent the busyness of every day from shadowing your long-term goal.
Setting a time limit to reach your goals adds the right amount of pressure on you and your team to accomplish them.
How To Write SMART Goals
Ok, that you know understand what each of the letters mean, let’s go over a goal and how to revise it so that it is just a little bit smarter. This goal is specific to marketing, but the principles work across all industries.
Goal: I want to increase traffic to my blog.
Now this goal isn’t quite SMART yet, but it has potential!
First, let’s make it more specific: I want to increase traffic to my blog by increasing our monthly posting from twice a month to three times a month and increasing social media posts with links to our blog from three times a week to five times a week.
Measurable: I want our blog traffic to increase by at least 5%.
Attainable: Our blog traffic increased last month when we posted more times on social media and included more articles to read through.
Relevant: If we increase blog traffic, we will boost brand awareness and potentially create more leads, and more opportunities to close sales.
Time Bound: Create a schedule that will be implemented by the end of each month.
Let’s review our SMART goal: By the end of this month, our blog will see an increase in traffic by 5% because we will increase our monthly blog posting from 2 blogs to 3 blogs a month, and include our weekly social media posts with relevant links to 3 posts a week to 5 posts a week.
The purpose of any goal should be to produce real results, and this guideline will help you establish structure and help you get to where you want to be in life. Often times in life we set goals without thinking about whether or not they have a significant benefit to our lives or whether they are something we can accomplish. Too easily we set huge goals and then skip out on actually following through. This is why learning how to write SMART goals is so important.
Remember that just like everything in life, SMART goals can change. Sometimes they take reevaluating and rewriting. Especially when it comes to digital marketing, things change and your goals should be able to adapt with the market. We hope you feel ready to start writing better goals and get past that hurdle of failing and leap toward success!
Need help building a strategy that works and setting goals that are actually realistic for your business? Set up a strategy mapping session with us and let us help you not only set reasonable goals but help you make a plan to reach them!