SMART goals are known for creating achievable and measurable business or personal goals.
In this article, we look at what SMART goals stand for, why people use them to achieve a desired outcome, and how SEO and marketing professionals can use them to achieve given goals.
What are SMART goals?
The acronym for SMART goals stands for:
- Areachable or reachable.
Each component of a SMART goal is designed to ensure you have the right framework to achieve a goal. Instead of expressing open wishes for the future, forge a goal-oriented plan.
For example, most entrepreneurs have the common goal of increasing profits. But that’s not a SMART goal because it lacks specificity – there’s nothing specific to aim for or measure.
We’ll go deeper into the components of building a SMART goal, but first let’s discuss why.
Why Use SMART Goals?
According to a study by CoSchedule, marketers who create a plan are three times more likely to report success than those who don’t plan ahead.
This would explain why brands don’t implement SMART goals just to increase profits.
Examples of SMART goals
The following examples show the use of SMART goals to reduce environmental impact and increase diversity and inclusion.
IBM uses SMART goals to help the environment by committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more energy efficient. Here are just some of his goals.
- Use of renewable energy for 75% of IBM’s global electricity consumption by 2025 and 90% by 2030.
- A 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, using 2010 as the base year with adjustments for acquisitions and divestitures.
- Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions with 350,000 tonnes or less of residual CO2 emissions by 2030.
- Implement at least 3,000 energy saving projects to avoid consuming 275,000 megawatt hours from 2021 to 2025.
- Improve average data center cooling efficiency by 20% by 2025.
McDonald’s uses SMART goals to reduce the environmental impact of its restaurants on the planet. Among these goals you will find the following:
- A 36% reduction in absolute emissions from McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 2030, from 2015.
- A 31% reduction in supply chain emissions by 2030, from 2015.
- 100% sourcing of guest packaging from renewable, recyclable or certified sources by 2025.
Nestle uses SMART goals for sustainability initiatives to minimize the company’s impact on global resources. Here are examples of his upcoming goals.
- Reduce emissions by 20% by 2025 and reach net-zero by 2050, from 2018.
- Use 100% deforestation-free primary supply chains for all products by 2025.
- Use of 100% recyclable or reusable packaging materials by 2025.
- 200 million trees planted by 2030.
Salesforce leverages SMART goals for employment diversity and inclusion initiatives. In addition to showing the current progress, its goals are to:
- By the end of 2023, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and mixed-race workers are expected to increase by 50% in the US workforce.
- At least 40% of a global workforce will be women or non-binary employees by the end of 2026.
How to write SMART goals: A breakdown of each component
Now that you know why SMART goals are important and how brands use them, let’s look at how to set them, with a breakdown of each part of the SMART goal setting process.
A specific goal should be clear – anyone working towards the goal should know exactly what the goal means without the need for further context or explanation.
When creating a specific goal, you should clearly define what, why, who, and where the goal is. What specific goal would you like to achieve, who will help and where will the goal be achieved?
How can you incorporate specificity into your marketing team’s goals? Here are some examples.
- Increase organic search traffic to the ecommerce store by 25%.
- Increase the click-through rate (CTR) for the leading product page by 15%.
- Increase your Instagram followers by 50%.
A measurable goal is quantifiable so you can track your progress and know when the goal has been met. Certain numbers should be clearly defined around the goal.
How can you make your marketing team’s goals measurable? Here are some examples.
- Increase website visits via social media from 1,000 to 3,000 per month.
- Reduce blog post bounce rate from 50% to 40%.
- Increase email open rates from 23% to 30%.
With the skills and resources at your disposal, an achievable goal can be achieved. It should determine which resources are used to achieve a goal.
How can you make your marketing team’s goals achievable? Here are some examples.
- Increase the number of social media mentions of our product by 50% by using our brand ambassador network.
- Increase the number of blog posts published weekly from one to two using transcripts of weekly podcast episodes.
- Improve website speed to under two seconds for main product pages by optimizing large images on pages.
A relevant goal is important to the survival of your organization and is consistent with your organization’s mission and values. It becomes clear why the goal is important for your company.
How can you make your marketing team’s goals relevant? Here are some examples.
- Increase organic search traffic to the main service page by 20% to ensure the sales team hits their revenue goals.
- Increase brand visibility on TikTok by 50% to engage Gen Z customers.
- Increase blog links to ecommerce store by 50% to increase referral traffic to popular product sales sites and increase sales.
A time-bound goal provides a specific deadline for achieving the goal and provides a timeline to ensure accountability.
This also ensures that everyone involved stays motivated to achieve what needs to be done to be successful.
How can you make your marketing team’s goals time-bound? Here are some of the earlier examples modified to be time bound.
- Increase website visits via social media from 1,000 to 3,000 per month by the end of Q2.
- Increase the number of weekly blog posts published from one to two by the end of 2023 using transcripts of weekly podcast episodes.
- Increase organic search traffic to the main service page by 20% in Q1 to ensure the sales team meets their Q2 revenue goals.
SMART goals can help marketing teams create goals that can realistically be achieved within a given time frame using the resources they have to work with.
Create goals with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound components, and take the time to track your progress and review results once the deadline is up.
The more carefully you analyze your goals and results, the better you can optimize your future SMART goals for overall growth and success.
Featured image: patpitchaya/Shutterstock