The line between marketing and digital marketing has blurred, and it’s forever changing the way we look at our jobs. While we’ve always had a significant focus on marketing campaigns and strategies, the internet has made it possible to do more from the comfort of our laptops. With the right tools and some creativity, it’s now possible to track and analyse every aspect of a website’s performance, and adjust and grow the business accordingly.
Traditionally, marketing spend has been focused on TV advertising and magazine articles, but with many tactics living in the digital sphere, it’s well worth considering how each tool and technique measures up against the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
The specific part of the SMART framework comes first. Is the goal clearly defined? Are the metrics transparent? It’s great to want to see massive spikes in web traffic, but if the goal is to increase sales within the next six months, then it might not be the best use of your limited resources. You also need to consider whether or not your audience is even the right audience. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness amongst millennials, for example, you might want to reconsider the types of content you’re creating and the target audience you’re choosing.
- TV Advertising
TV advertising still works very well in helping businesses understand and acquire new customers. However, while TV might be best suited to reach a broader audience, online tools mean we can more precisely target the customers most likely to buy our products or services.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is all about getting your website to show up on the first page of search results for important words or phrases. Nowadays, there are hundreds of tools available to businesses to improve their SEO and get their website to perform better.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
You’ve probably heard of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These are all about creating and sharing content that people want to see. The advantage of using social media platforms is that we can target the right audience, with the right content, at the right time. To keep up with the latest trends and content, make sure to follow the right people. You can also segment your followers into groups so you can target specific groups of people with the content you post.
- Email Marketing
In an ideal world, every business would have a dedicated marketing person who is responsible for strategy and execution. In the real world, that person is usually a mix of engineers, marketers, and salespeople. Even if you don’t have a full-time marketing person, you can still implement an email marketing strategy. With a little planning and research, you can develop a method to emailing your customers on a regular basis, to keep them engaged and interested in your company.
Measurable means we can clearly define the results we want to achieve. Are we tracking the right data? You can’t measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign if you don’t have clear and specific metrics to work with. The more you can measure, the easier it will be to determine if and when you’ve reached your goal. If your goal is to increase web traffic, for example, you might want to consider looking at several metrics – such as the number of visitors, how often they visit, and what parts of your website they visit – to get a clear idea of how your SEO strategy is going.
This element relates to whether or not you’re willing to commit to the plan of action. Are you confident you can achieve the results you’re aiming for? You might want to set some goals in order to evaluate whether or not they’re achievable. If you’re looking to improve customer engagement, you might want to set a goal to get at least five customer reviews by the end of this year. That won’t be easy, but it’s certainly achievable.
The realistic part of the SMART framework comes last. Are the results reasonable? Is the plan balanced? It’s great to have the most up-to-date equipment and the best specialists, but if the results you’re aiming for are unrealistic, it might be a good idea to adjust your plan. While it’s important to set achievable goals, it’s also important to be realistic about them. If you’re aiming for extensive worldwide brand exposure, and the plans you’ve put in place don’t include appropriate budgeting, you might want to reconsider your strategy. The point is to set goals that you believe will help your business prosper, but not to lose sight of the real world.
Finally, the last part of the SMART framework relates to timeliness. Is this goal relevant now? Is it something that can be achieved in the near future? Setting a marketing goal to get 100 new customers within the next six months might not be the best idea if you’re looking for startup capital. Sure, you could develop a business plan and pitch it to investors, but why wait till then to start generating revenue? You can start a web marketing company now and be making money within a year. Keep that in mind as you develop your plan.
As you can see, the SMART framework doesn’t just relate to marketing, but it can be applied to all aspects of business. One of the most significant things about the framework is that it encourages you to be consistent and to continually review and refine your approach. When used properly, the SMART framework can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your existing strategies and help you determine the direction your business should take next.