Strategic Inbound Plan: Setting Goals and Objectives

By Scott Anderson Miller

At the most basic level, there are five steps to creating an effective inbound marketing strategy. Setting goals and objectives based on your baseline assessment is the first step. Establish high-level goals and measurable objectives for your inbound marketing. You do this by balancing your company revenue and profit needs with your target customers’ needs.

You may already understand the customer types your business attracts. Formalize those customers into groups, segmenting them by demographics, lifestyle, title/position, and shared purchasing habits. These groups are commonly called customer personas, although you might prefer the broader term profiles.

Is your first point of contact with prospects at the product research phase? Do you know that your best customers are women age 25 to 29 who have two kids and drive a domestic minivan? Do you understand the different buying motivations for an end user of your product as opposed to a procurement agent purchasing your product for a company? Understand your target customer and his or her needs. Structure your online goals and objectives with these needs in mind.

Think of goals as paths and objectives as the steps to walk down that path. Here’s an example:

Goal: Dominate rankings on Google and Yahoo search-engine result pages (SERPs) for your top industry keyword terms within 18 months.

Objective #1: Outrank your top three competitors on Google over the next 18 months by achieving a SERP rank between 1 and 4 for the 20 most highly searched industry keywords.

Objective #2: Own all ten organic rankings for your branded keyword terms on page one of SERPs and maintain that for the next year.

So you see, it may take multiple objectives to achieve a broad-based goal.

As with business strategy, your inbound strategy is most effective when you follow the SMART acronym. That is, your objectives should be:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

If you don’t set goals and objectives in the beginning, you’ll have no way of measuring success. Being SMART with your objectives results in a more finely tuned inbound marketing strategy.