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  • Georgina

Building your 2021 marketing plan - step three: Setting goals

Updated: Nov 19

As we enter the final months of 2020, it is time to start planning for 2021. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be taking you step-by-step through building a marketing plan. Feel free to check out the full list of steps we'll be taking.


Why strategy matters


In case you're wondering why you should bother with all this preamble and strategic planning, it's because it will help make your marketing activity more meaningful. Often I find that small business owners are paralyzed by choice and a lack of direction. They don't know which social media channel to choose, or if blogging is worth their time.


I get asked questions all the time, like, "Should I be on LinkedIn?" More often than not, my response is - why do you want to be on LinkedIn? What is the purpose of your presence there? Similarly, I don't know if blogging is worth their time if they don't know what they're trying to achieve with it. Are they blogging regularly so that their readers remember them (building engagement) and as a way to build their credibility as an expert? Are they using it to improve their website SEO? Or are they hoping that blogs will convert immediately to new business? Spoiler alert: blogging is not the fastest way to convert new business.


So in essence, the point of this work is to make choosing which social media platform to use, and what sort of content to put on it, easier and faster. Once you've done the painful work of strategy planning, in future years, it should be a matter of tweaking elements of it, rather than starting from scratch. And now, without further ado...


Setting your goals


Goals are important because they give you something to aim for and therefore a direction to head in. Although the purpose of this blog series is to help you build your marketing plan, your marketing needs to support your overall business goals and help move your business forward. So, in this blog, we’ll start with your overall business goals. By that I mean, what you want to achieve in your overall business and how you’re going to get there.


Of course, business goals are a critical part of any business plan. Setting them, and revisiting them on an annual basis is a vital part of ensuring the business plan stays relevant.


Business goals – what you want to achieve


What I want to do with the business goals is to show the logical steps between business goals, business strategy, and marketing goals. In each example I am going to build on one strand, so you see how it all plays out. I'm using a fictional service business, similar to my own, for these examples.


For my 2021 business goals, I want to…

  • Increase revenue from new clients by 50%

  • Grow my business from existing clients by 30%

  • Secure additional funding for my business

  • Hire 2-3 members of staff

And that’s it, those are your goals. I’m going to caveat this by saying that these are fairly loose goals, and I would encourage you to set more specific (ideally SMART) business goals, but you get the idea.


Business strategies – how you’re going to reach your business goals


The next step is to work out how you’re going to get there, i.e. your strategy. This is for your whole business. I’m only going to work through one goal to make it clearer.


Business goal: Increase revenue from new clients


Business strategy:


I am going to increase revenue from new clients by…

  • Targeting potential clients directly

  • Using partners to refer business to me


Marketing goals - how to align marketing goals with business goals


Now, think about how marketing can help you with each of your business strategy elements. There might be more than one marketing goal for each business strategy element. You may find that some of your marketing goals are similar between business strategy elements. That’s fine – it might be that the marketing goals are essentially the same, but aimed at different audiences (e.g. new business prospects vs referral partners). So:


Business goal: Increase revenue from new clients


Business strategy: Target potential clients directly


Marketing goals:


I am going to target potential clients directly by...

  • Attracting inbound leads through raising awareness of my company among prospective clients

  • Helping close more new business through supporting sales outreach to clients

  • Setting the scene for sales outreach to clients


Marketing strategies - how to achieve your marketing goals


Business goal: Increase revenue from new clients


Business strategy: Target potential clients directly


Marketing goal: Attract inbound leads through raising awareness of my company among prospective clients


Marketing strategies:


I will attract inbound leads by:

  • Having a strong online and offline presence for potential clients who are searching for services I offer

  • Engaging with relevant networks and becoming known to their members (who are my target audience)

  • Building up an engaged community of potential clients

  • Creating useful content that potential clients can find and share among themselves

Note that I’ve not yet determined whether I’m launching a Facebook page, creating videos, or starting blogging. Those are the next level down in your planning. They’re the fun bit, but everything you do should be fulfilling one of these strategies and therefore be directly traceable back to your overall business goals. If you can’t say how your next Facebook Live is helping you achieve a business goal, it’s probably not strategic, and it’s probably not worth your time.


In conclusion, we now have our basic strategic structure. We have laid out:

  • Overall business goals

  • The business strategies that are going to get you there

  • The marketing goals that support the business strategy

  • The topline marketing strategies that are going to help reach your marketing goals

Next time I’m going to be talking about how to analyze the context you’re operating in.


In case you missed it:

Last time I helped you create audience personas so you know who you're marketing to.


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