In order to get ahead of the competition and keep your business on track, a set of goals is needed. Without them, business owners are left in the dark hoping they stumble into success or the proper leads. However, the term “business goals” is pretty vague. Where should owners start? What constitutes a long-term versus a short-term goal? How do these kinds of small business goals help your overall success? We spoke with some business owners themselves for their take.

The best short term goals for small businesses move the needle within three months. They also have a high likelihood of success.

Close those one or three almost-customers. Most small businesses have a couple of new accounts that have expressed interest but not yet signed up. Converting them to paying customers is less work than finding and closing fresh prospects. At my real estate company, we did this and increased our revenue by 30%.

Up your review rate, too. Customers care about a company’s online ratings. While you can’t always control how great your reviews are, you can definitely influence the number of reviews. Ask your regular and best customers to show you love online. It can help your online presence immediately and grow your business. 

You should also aim for more revenue from current customers. Increasing how much your current customers spend is the most attainable, short term goal. A lot of times, this is as simple as picking up the phone, asking them what you could do to help them, and listening.

Paul Bromen
CEO
Helpful Habitat

2. Have a Marketing Budget

One goal is to decide upon a marketing budget and how to spend this budget over the next three months. The most important aspect of deciding where and how to spend marketing dollars is the ROI (return on investment). Depending on your sales cycle, it’s a good idea to monitor the ROI at least monthly, but more often if possible. Closely watching the ROI of marketing dollars will allow timely adjustments to spending so that marketing dollars can be funnelled towards marketing streams with the greatest ROI.

Melanie Hartmann
Owner
Creo Home Solutions

3. Collect Feedback

One of the best short-term marketing goals that produce long-term ROI is collecting customer feedback. You can pose a question to your audience on social media or email your customers a survey asking about their likes, dislikes, and suggestions. Use your blog to announce an upcoming new product or service and see what your customers think of it.

People appreciate being asked about their needs and opinions, and direct feedback from existing and potential customers is pure gold. Analyze it and make changes to your processes, products, or services as needed to meet expectations and needs. You’ll see positive changes to your sales and customer experiences, and you’ll create a more loyal, engaged audience in the process.

Melissa Whitten
Owner
Written by Whitten

4. Have a Google-Friendly Website

A Google-friendly website has design and development features for search engines to discover and index pages on all types of devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. Indexing in a search engine only takes place if crawlers can find the website. 

Launching a website that’s Google-friendly will help you reach marketing goals in both the short-term (paid ads) and the long-term (SEO). Setting short-term conversion goals for paid ads will help you analyze conversion paths and improve them. Once the short-term goals for audience engagement and conversions are met, you can set long-term traffic goals to build and expand the audience for even more conversions.

Markelle Harden
Content Strategist
Knowmad Digital Marketing

5. Think of Goals as Travel

When it comes to mapping short or long-term marketing goals everything should tie back to measurable, business results. Said another way, how is your marketing helping you drive business (a.k.a sales)?

Think of the marketing journey in terms of travel. Your long-term goals are the destination and short-term goals are the things you need to get there (car, gas, directions, etc.).

Short term goals are the actionable, daily and weekly goals you will take en route to reaching your long-term, big-picture, goals. When working through this lens, an attainable, short-term goal is to craft a documented strategy for how to reach long-term goals. This strategy may include growing social media, increase website traffic, or attaining email sign-ups.

Your long-term goals then tie back to what’s going to drive real, tangible business results. Your goals should be measurable and can be lead generation, increase in website sales/purchases, social media conversion, etc.

These goals are there to guide you to your destination. Without knowing where you’re going, you can’t know which route to take; and without knowing which route to take, you can’t reach your direction.

Meg Prejzner
CEO, Founder
Hackett Brand Consulting

6. Hop on the Video Bandwagon

I have found that video marketing has been very successful in my business (I’m a wedding planner and coordinator). I love creating videos and allowing brides to see who I truly am. It’s very authentic, and when your job requires you to work many months, if not years, with a bride to plan the most special day of her life, you want her to know you’re a good fit for her!

So I have the goal to do at least one Facebook live per week in my exclusive Facebook group with engaged brides-to-be, as well as to upload at least one YouTube video to my channel each week. Sometimes I do more, but I don’t want to set the goal for more than one and then not be able to keep it going. It’s better to start small and overachieve than to start big and fail!

Chelsey Morin
Wedding Planner and Coordinator
Double Blessing Events

7. Master a Few Platforms

My small business is focused on mastering one or two digital channels first before conquering them all. 

A lot of experts say you have to dominate all social media platforms. After a workshop with Austin Walsh, he reassured me to just master one. After all, Facebook has 1.9 billion active users. I’m currently setting up a sales funnel to move my targeted Facebook ads to a squeeze page offer free tips in exchange for an email. It’s important for small businesses to know the lead is better than the sale. Hopefully, you can sell to that consumer for life.

Nadia Stanley 
Global TV Producer, Author
www.iknowhybooks.com

8. Build Relationships

The single most important metric for any marketer in a small business or a startup is the number of quality leads being generated in any given period. For the volume side, it’s vital that you can track leads back to a source and, ideally, one of your marketing activities. For the quality side, it’s imperative that you have a great relationship with the salespeople and that you lean on them to understand what a great lead looks like from their perspective.

A great long-term goal is to position the business as a really attractive partnership opportunity. A good partnership will result in a step-change for your business. These are easily attainable provided you dedicate the time to researching opportunities, aligning your business to theirs in some way and developing key relationships.

Ewan McCowen
CEO
Kip & Twiggy’s Ltd

9. Increase Site Traffic

One of the first goals we always set for our clients is to increase site traffic. Increasing site traffic is dynamic enough that it’s worthwhile to almost any business, yet it isn’t such a huge leap that there any number of methods a small business can take to help. Your website should act as the hub of your business, you can control the inflow and outflow to whatever resources or products you chose and so it’s the best place to get to know your users. Social media, SEO, and even old fashioned word-of-mouth can all contribute to driving traffic to your website. So, try out a few methods and see what works best for your company.

Alexander M. Kehoe
Co-Founder & Operations Director
Caveni Digital Solutions

10. SMART

Small businesses usually lack dedicated marketing resources. With dozens of competing priorities, the likelihood of losing focus is high. Thus, it’s important to set a few clear goals for the short and long term. Any more than five in each category and you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin.

Before deciding on your marketing goals, though, you need to have clarity on your long-term business goals (1-5 years out). Marketing is a method of reaching your business goals and not an end in itself.

Once your long-term goals are solidified, you can focus on short-term goals (3-12 months) using the SMART framework. Each one of your short term goals should connect to a long-term goal you set.

For each of these goals, identify 2-4 key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress. These should be measurable, either numeric or binary. This allows you to objectively assess if you’re on track and if you need to pivot your efforts.

Here’s an example:

  • Long-term business goal: open an additional location in three years
  • Short-term marketing goal: increase sales by 50% in one year
  • KPI 1: generate 100 new leads
  • KPI 2: increase customer retention by 25%

Desmond Harvey
Marketing Consultant
Desmond Harvey Consulting

11. Build Your Backlinks

We’ve been focusing on backlink outreach and boosting our domain authority. Our goal is to get 100 solid backlinks by the half-year mark (March 2020) and 200 by the one-year mark. This would put us in a good position to overtake the far more established sites that have been around for years.

We settled on this strategy because searcher intent (also known as user intent) is one of the biggest things Google is emphasizing at the moment. It’s not enough just to publish content on a regular basis; you need to really put yourselves in your customers’ shoes and create content that’ll thoroughly resolve whatever queries or problems they have. That way, you’ll create high-quality content that people regularly talk about, share with others, and link back to on their own websites.

Meiling Tan
Chief Editor
Bluenest

12. Be Remembered

I would say conversation, in any form. On social media, in person, and in the community. It can be harder to measure, but something as simple as, “I love your new business cards” is impactful. The whole goal in marketing is to first be found and then be remembered. If you can be connected with quality with something easy and tangible I would say that’s worthwhile.

Dan Schepleng
Owner
Kapowza

13. Determine Your Brand

First and foremost, small business owners should define where they see their business at key milestones: 6 months, one year, five years etc. The best marketing plans are focused on building towards desired end states.

While goals are relative to the business and the owner, all small business owners should consider who their target customer is and how they want to represent themselves. From there, a good short-term goal is to invest in creating a unified look across all your marketing collateral.

Identify where your target customer is shopping, and how you can be present there. If they are highly active on a specific social network, another short-term goal could be to create a marketing and communications plan for that platform. Identify content that’ll be relevant to your customers, and how it can drive them back to your business.

Always vet long-term goals against your vision. This allows you to focus your resources – should you spend marketing dollars on lead generation or do you want to invest more in driving repeat business? Lead generation activities might center around a search engine optimization strategy, while a long-term goal for repeat business could be to create a loyalty program.

Erin Shea
North American Marketing Director
Vistaprint

14. Offer Promotions

Small term marketing goals can increase sales up to 20% if they’re promoted and advertised successfully. It helps to generate leads, and later they determine how successful your marketing strategy is in retaining the same customers.

You should try online promotional activities and giveaways. It’s one of the shortest small-term marketing strategies that attract customers for 4-5 days activity or maybe less. Spread your campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. Add a backlink to blogs to target niche. It acquires customers quickly. Such promotional events, be conditional on your promotional plan, spread brand awareness, and convince customers to visit your website. 

If you’re using an app and managing traffic, you will get a clear chance of small-term consequences into long term success. 

CJ Xia
VP of Marketing & Sales
Boster Biological Technology

15. Color-Coded KPIs

We implemented a KPI system in accordance to each team and its workflows with the following color system:

Green: Exceptional

Blue: Great

Yellow: Room for improvement

Red: Terrible

This determines the performance of each team on a daily basis. The KPIs range from project duration, to ad revenue increase to client or candidate leads. The KPI per team is the most important quantifiable measure of the whole team’s performance.

The green KPI range is the best score and the red KPI range is the worst. If the team hits yellow they must discuss internally how to improve the KPI score and if it’s red they have to urgently make changes to improve the score for the next day.

We focus our marketing KPIs on the total lead score (we have four tiers of leads based on monthly traffic), qualified deal volume and search traffic. Those are our top marketing goals that are most relevant to growing MonetizeMore. Rather than having absolute goals, I’d recommend targeting relative goals like 5% growth of each KPI per month.

Kean Graham
CEO & Founder
MonetizeMore