“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The beginning of a new year always symbolizes the beginning of a fresh, new start. With goal-setting season in full swing, what are you setting out to achieve in 2018? Have you had time to sit down and ask yourself what you are striving towards? How can you better yourself and your business these next 12 months?
We know setting goals can seem like a lofty task. And we know how hard it can be to reach big goals (but oh so rewarding). At the start of this year we wanted to take some time out to help you set goals & stay motivated all year.
Don’t be afraid to dream, and when you dream, dream big. By creating a vision you are propelling yourself down a road to achieve your final “big picture” goal. Setting smaller goals along the way is the road map between where you are now and where your big dream is taking you. By creating goals you are taking that big picture vision and breaking it down step by step. When creating your goals there are four key principles to follow to ensure success.
- Write it down. There is power in writing down goals and dreams. It makes them real. Several studies confirm those who write down goals have a significantly higher (some say over 40% higher) chance of achieving them.
- Share your goals. The next boost to the likelihood of accomplishing goals comes from telling others. Even if it’s just one other person, by telling someone else you are making yourself more accountable in achieving your goals. Studies suggest to only share your goals with select individuals that are committed to helping you achieve your goals, and/or those that truly believe in you.
- Revisit the goals. In order to really stick with it, revisit your goals often. By reviewing your goals you are tracking your progress and always looking forward to what the next step is. You can choose how often you would like to review your goals, but be sure it’s at least once per month.
- Celebrate successes. That’s right, we said celebrate your small wins. Every time you check off an item on your list, no matter how small it may seem, just remember you’re one step closer to reaching your vision. That’s something to celebrate don’t you think? By rewarding yourself along the way you will continue to stay motivated and go further towards your next accomplishment.
“There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives” – George T. Doran, Management Review, November 1981. The S.M.A.R.T. model breaks down five distinctive steps that act as your plan of attack for accomplishing any goal you set out to achieve.
Here’s what the acronym breaks down to in a little more detail:
- S – Specific – define your goals being clear and specific
- M – Measurable – you should be able track goal’s your progress using various metrics, data and feedback
- A – Achievable – or action-oriented, lay your goals out in steps to achieve the outcome you desire
- R – Realistic – be ambitious in your goal setting, but make sure your goals are attainable
- T – Timely – set a target date to complete your goal and set deadlines on that path to prioritize along the way
The S.M.A.R.T. model has continued to evolve into one of the most effective tools for setting and achieving goals.
Whether you’re just starting a website, undergoing a redesign or just looking to improve your established site or blog, there are 5 common goals we chose to breakdown using the S.M.A.R.T. model. Each of these can be customized to suit your needs, improve your online presence and build your brand in 2018. Be sure to make your own goal that are relevant to your big picture.
The “Unique Visitor” Goal
The term unique visitor represents the number of distinct users that visit your site based on unique IP addresses. While page views can be the same user revisiting your site multiple times in the same visit, day or month. The more traffic your website receives the more opportunity is created for everything – to share your content (and have it be shared), to find potential customers, to increase sales and/or subscribers, and the list keeps going on.
- S. –To increase unique visitors by 25%
- M. –Track your results through a web analytics service, like Google Analytics.
- A. – We know to attract new visitors content is key. What are you doing monthly to create new content and how are you promoting it to increase visitors and increase your SEO?
- R. – Compare your goals to your current numbers and industry averages to gauge how realistic your goal is. When you see an increase during a particular month, study it to see what went well and adapt it for future months.
- T. – Set a clear target and end date. For example, increase website traffic by 25% within the next 12 months. If a 25% increase is 10,000 new visitors per year, you’re looking to gain an average of 833 visitors per month.
The “Get More Followers” Goal
Getting more followers might be getting more people to follow your blog or social media presence, or it might mean getting more people signed up for your email list, or both. No matter what type of follower you are wanting to attract, they are all deemed “hot” leads, meaning they are already interested in what you have to offer. By increasing the number of followers you are increasing your chances at conversions into customers, increases in sales and retaining loyal users.
- S. –To add 250 new subscribers/followers.
- M. – For all the WordPress users out there, using a subscription widget is a simple way to not only add followers and subscribers, but you can also track your website’s the traffic data. Email marketing accounts will also keep track of your subscribers with useful statistics, charts and data.
- A. – Work to make opting-in as easy as possible. This may be anything from sidebar boxes, pop-ups and footer buttons. Using share buttons on your social media and blog posts is another way to easily disseminate information and gain more followers. Another suggestion might be to create an incentive, like a free download or giveaway.
- R. – Compare your goals to your current numbers and industry averages to gauge how realistic your goal is.
- T. – Pick a time frame for the 250 additions you are looking to make to your lists. Is that realistic this month or 6 months from now?
The “Improve Search Ranking” Goal
One of the most obvious ways to gain more website traffic, is getting ranked high on the search engine results pages. There are many factors that affect your ranking, which is usually the first step towards success in your overall search engine optimization, strategy. For more information on how to up your SEO optimization – READ MORE: SEO Essentials: The Basics
- S. –To rank on the first page of Google for at least one of your website keywords.
- M. – This one is easy to track. A quick Google search is the first step in seeing where you are currently ranked and how far you are looking to move up.
- A. – Start by choosing your target keywords for your website and use them as often as possible on your pages. Review your content. Is it optimized with your keywords and related keywords?
- R. – Using SEO optimization techniques and sticking to keywords that really reflect your website, ranking on the first page of Google is a realistic goal for most industries.
- T. – Search engine result rankings take time. Depending on the competitiveness of your industry it can take anywhere from 3-12 months to rank on the first page of Google.
The “Improve User Satisfaction” Goal
Customer satisfaction should always be one of your top priorities. It is the foundation for any successful business and vital in customer retention and growth. By gaining more positive reviews online you will increase your word of mouth exposure and continue to grow your customer base. To increase customer satisfaction the key is being accessible, responsive and to provide positive interactions throughout their website experiences.
- S. – Improve customer satisfaction by 10%
- M. – Use customer feedback surveys to gauge your visitor’s experiences. There are tons of free WordPress surveys, polls and questionnaire widgets you can design for your site to gain feedback.
- A. – Are you paying attention to your reviews online? Whether it’s Yelp or Facebook, strive to get your positive reviews trending up. Are you responding to reviews, requests and questions online? Are you addressing complaints and working to satisfy those they did not have a good experience? Where is there room to improve?
- R. – On average 10% increases in customer satisfaction is a great place to start.
- T. – When can you expect the increase? Immediately after adding new features to your website or will the increase take time?
The “Increase Sales/Conversions” Goal
We saved this one for last, because by focusing on the above goals, you will directly boost your conversion rates and increase sales.
- S. – Increase sales by 15%.
- M. – Use Google Analytics to see exactly what visitors are doing on your site, including alerting you to which pages are driving sales and where you are losing visitors. And for WordPress users, again there’s a widget for that.
- A. – Actionable ways to drive sales include increasing your conversion rates, adding new products to your best selling categories, upselling, selling packages and bundles, and focusing on getting your loyal customers to buy more. A few ideas to facilitate these sales might include offering incentives to encourage users to buy now, reaching back out to those who abandon their shopping cart, improving website speed and security, adding product photos and reviews, and/or investing in new avenues to reach new customers.
- R. – Do your market research on industry standards and averages.
- T. – Once again, set a date. Do you want to increase your sales by 15% in the first quarter, the next 12 months?
By using and customizing the S.M.A.R.T. model, we hope they can help you formulate your own goals to achieve the results you are striving towards in 2018! We understand that every brand is unique. Everyone has their own set of challenges and visions.
Which goals are you focusing on in 2018? Leave us a comment below and let us know, and perhaps we will focus our next blog on your action items!