Marketing

How to Set Long-Term Marketing Goals (And Actually Hit Them)

Do you avoid setting long-term marketing goals out of fear you won’t hit them? Here are tips from dozens of marketers on how to properly set goals.

Elise Dopson Elise Dopson on February 11, 2020 (last modified on February 12, 2020) • 29 minute read

Do you ever avoid setting long-term marketing goals because you’re not confident you can hit them?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many of us marketers feel that way.

When it comes to setting goals for specific campaigns or other short term initiatives? No problem.

But we often get uncomfortable when talking about the long-term. Why? Because there are so many unknown variables at play. You essentially need to plan ahead for a reality that, well, isn’t a reality just yet.

What type of volume will you need throughout your funnel? Which resources will you need to achieve that volume? How about headcount––do you need to hire additional people before then?

Setting long-term marketing goals is a daunting task and one that many marketers avoid in fear of not hitting them. Or, they avoid them simply because they’re unsure of how to go about setting them correctly.

So, what are the best ways of thinking long-term? We asked dozens of marketers to help out. We hope this helps alleviate any fear you might face when setting your long-term marketing strategy.

Why are long-term marketing goals important?

Before we dive in with the details, you might be struggling with one question: Why bother creating long-term marketing goals?

“One effective way to set long-term marketing goals is to think into the future and come up with goals that will set you up for a lifetime of success,” Money Crashers‘s Carly Fauth says.

“That’s not to say that short-term marketing goals have no place in your strategy, but in today’s competitive business environment, it can be easy to forget about the long-term.”

“So again, while there’s nothing wrong with trying to get your first 1,000 followers on Twitter, you should also think about things that will help your business long-term, such as leveraging search engine optimization to its fullest.”

Fauth continues: “This is a broad goal that will take time and effort and it won’t be achieved overnight. Plus, how to achieve success in that realm changes over time so you’ll need to throw that into the plan of achieving that goal.”

How long is “long-term”?

Long-term can have different meanings for different people.

For the team at Green Thoughts Consulting, Jeff Green says: “Long term goals are usually 12 to 18 months.”

However, the duration of a long-term goal can depend on the activity, as Robert Moses of The Corporate Con explains: “One of our most important marketing goals is attaining the number one position on Google for a list of our keywords. This is done via SEO and can take 6-months to a year to achieve, depending on the competitiveness of the keyword.”

But there could be a disadvantage to creating longer goals, according to Alberto Carniel: “Distant goals have two main disadvantages: The team doesn’t feel enough pressure and let loose. It’s easy to underestimate the workload and race against the clock to meet deadlines.”

“The second drawback is to feel overwhelmed. Distant objectives are usually ambitious. People have different reactions to stress and may not feel capable to fulfill their tasks.”

Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray adds: “A great example of long-marketing goals is brand recognition, visibility, and exposure. This is not something you work on a short-term period and that you can easily track the progress week after week. You can evaluate your brand recognition after a long time only.”

How to plan long-term marketing goals

You’re ready to create long-term goals for your marketing team… But you’re not sure where to start.

We asked a handful of experts to share how they do it.

1. Match marketing goals to business-wide goals

When creating long-term marketing goals, Jacob Mager of F6 Agency advises to “keep your marketing goals aligned with your overall business goals.”

“It sounds obvious—but it’s easy to lose focus by setting targets for impressions, or traffic, or signups, without having considered how that translates into success for your business.”

“Knowing where you want your business to be in terms of short and long term revenue tells you how much new business you’ll need to bring in… which will inform how you go about achieving that end result,” Mager adds.

Tacuna Systems‘ John Flanagan explains: “If for example, your company goal is to increase sales by 25% in three months, you need to specifically identify how many leads, MQLs, SQLs, closing rates, etc, that you need to achieve this goal. You can now take these data and set them as marketing goals.”

Vera Mirzoyan of AIST Global explains what that might look like: “Once I set a marketing goal to double the organic traffic of our website in 6 months.”

“Then I made a plan of expected actions to achieve this goal. Those actions included: optimize the website, implement both on-page and off-page SEO, generate backlinks, share links, analyze keywords, rank the pages, etc.

“You see? Everything comes from business objectives which, in this case, was to increase the number of potential customers. To increase this number we needed to reach more people. To reach more people, we need to increase website traffic. So, we choose the organic way,” Mirzoyan adds.

Kent Lewis of Anvil Media summarizes: “Marketing goals are not meaningful if they do not move the needles that matter for the business.”

2. Plan for your company’s future

It’s not just your most obvious business goals you’ll need to consider when creating long-term marketing goals, though.

According to My Trading Skills‘ Joe Bailey, “one effective way of setting long term marketing goals that will actually work is having a clear picture of where you expect the company to be in the future. This will involve conducting a risk review and determining the likely future of the company.”

“It is also imperative that as a marketer, you are able to tie the business vision/mission to the future of the company. The long term marketing goals should be based on this connection.”

3. Plan goals based on last years’ data

“When defining your long-term goals, the simplest way to start is to understand what’s already working. Gain a deep understanding of your buyers by analyzing historical customer data and sales,” says Angela Hawkins of Voices.

“Determine how to get more of your best customers and focus energy on goals that align with what is naturally driving your business. Couple this knowledge with knowledge of the competitive landscape and trends in the industry and you can create long-term goals that are rooted in the understanding of your customer.”

Julia Brolin of Leighton Interactive puts that into practice: “For example, your company has a revenue goal of X. You currently generate X leads. Of those leads, your close rate is X, and the average retainer is X.”

“If you know what the revenue needs to be, you can use pulse metrics to hit future goals and create a marketing strategy around the pulse metrics to support revenue.”

Malte Scholz also says the team at Airfocus has a similar approach: “The best way to set long-term marketing goals is to take a look in retrospect and find out what you did well in the previous years.”

“For us, we’ve done great with paid ads, whether it’s Google or social media platforms, and we’ve gotten good results from this method. However, we’ve seen that over the years, we haven’t done very well in terms of content marketing. So, we set our aims on content marketing and increasing our traffic and building links in 2020.”

Portent also uses this technique, according to Kirsten Pickworth: “Creating long-term marketing goals from your historical data in Google Analytics and analyzing trends and seasonality will help you make an informed projection for a percentage increase in traffic or conversions in the next year.”

“Then, you can create milestones for each quarter and build a roadmap of projects or campaigns that will help you make measurable progress toward the goal and re-forecast, if needed.”

This quarterly recap could be the perfect place to set new marketing goals–especially as almost half of our experts use this timescale for goal-setting:

4. Run a SWOT analysis

“Typically, companies and entrepreneurs that want to break into a market in which they already have a core competency but want to gain market share should engage in a quick review,” James Rogers of Saint Mary’s College advises.

“By examining their position on the BCG (Boston Consulting Group) Matrix with a SWOT analysis, they can gain strategic insights for setting long-term marketing goals.”

“For example, if they find themselves in the “Question Mark” category, there might be an opportunity to take advantage of rising sales trends, and now just need to develop a strategy and tactics to gain market share.”

Rogers explains how they did this recently: “One client example is a motorsport company that wants to grow but was unsure how to compete with a giant like Harley Davidson — who would clearly be in the “Star” category.”

“The SWOT analysis will reveal that Harley is weak in the youth, and sports bike markets, providing an opportunity for this competitor to grow. So that leaves an opening to target marketing efforts with events and refined ad placements aimed at the newly defined market opportunity.”

“In this scenario, the client decided to host free kids demo ride days, even offering training wheels on dirt bikes. Families can attend, kids get to ride and get their pictures taken which are then posted (with permission of course) on social media. Events such as these, drawing them into the sport and cultivating the market even before ready to purchase.”

Rogers continues: “Long-term marketing goals, such as this example, are almost always set annually. Start by assessing your objectives over a long-term period and be sure goals set have a prospect of victory.”

“Even if achievable, you still have to manage your expectations and be realistic about the annual progress you’ll see. Know your baseline data before you start implementing the marketing plan and then plan to look at KPIs (key progress indicators) on a quarterly basis.”

“In our example, this client might want to track how many people showed up, what type of engagement they received on social media channels, and what the ROI was for the event,” Rogers summarizes.

Dai Baker agrees: “Before creating a goal, be sure to conduct a SWOT analysis. The results will provide a complete picture of the current marketing position along with opportunities to improve.”

“Using these results, create long-term marketing goals. Using this method, you are actually creating marketing goals that are needed versus creating goals that are not necessarily important or realistic.”

5. Attach measurables to long-term marketing goals

When we asked Better Proposals for their best way to plan long-term marketing goals, Adam Hempenstall’s answer was simple: “Determine your most important KPIs and set goals based on those KPIs. That’s the best way to make the goals specific and attainable.”

“For example, if you set your goal as “increasing your brand awareness in 2020” without attaching a specific KPI to it, you’ll never know if the goal is truly met.”

Hempenstall puts this into practice: “Our marketing goal for 2020 is to increase our organic traffic by 30%. We’ve had excellent conversions from organic traffic so we hope to make a significant increase this year. I think that we can do much more than 30%, but we’ll see how things go and re-set our goal at the beginning of Q3 if necessary.”

Tung Dao of Avada Commerce advises: “Figure out exactly what you want at the end of the campaign, then find the most reliable metric to measure progress. Set your goals based on that metric.”

6. Follow the SMART goal framework

“To make marketing goals that stick, you need to make the SMART, break them up by milestones or steps, and measure frequently,” writes Brian Cairns.

The SMART acronym is a popular framework for goal-setting:

“For example, we have a goal to help build brand awareness of our company ProStrategix Consulting. One of the long-term strategies is to use LinkedIn to help boost our brand awareness with a professional audience.”

Cairns goes on to break down how this goal fits within the SMART framework:

  • Specific: Increase our average daily post views and likes on LinkedIn
  • Measurable: We track the views to our posts, daily, weekly, monthly, and 3 mos. We have KPI for 1 mo and 3 mos
  • Achievable: Our KPIs are built using a data regression using our past 4 months of posts, and they are updated monthly to ensure we are on track and setting reasonable expectations
  • Relevant: Post views and likes are a clear indication of reach. Through increased reach and interaction (likes), we can make the logical leap that it is helping awareness
  • Timebound: We have KPIs for the given month, 3 mos rolling average, and end of year target, including a 12 mos rolling average.”

Bill Sebald says that Greenlane also follows the SMART framework because “making sure your goals pass these qualifiers gives them a realistic chance of being hit. From there, it’s simply a matter of checking in often and executing your milestones effectively.”

However, Search It Local‘s Alexander Porter thinks the most important part of a SMART goal is its achievability: “The most important thing to include in your marketing goal is a healthy dose of reality.”

“Setting yourself loft targets is fine, this can help teams reach for greatness, but unless that goal is tangible you’ll never be successful.”

“The difference between ‘grow our social media accounts’ and ‘increase Instagram follower count by 15% month on month in 2020’ is more than a matter of semantics. The former is a vague goal with no finish line, the latter can be tracked, measured and tweaked to achieve,” Porter says.

“When setting long-term marketing goals, ensure they are concrete and well defined. These goals should also be followed up to measure the level of success, or, to gauge what went wrong.”

Daniela Andreevska agrees: “Although you should be ambitious and aspiring to grow in the long term, it’s absolutely useful to set up goals which are unrealistic. Once you start falling behind on your goals, both you and your team will feel discouraged and disengaged.”

In fact, Andreevska’s team at Mashvisor is putting this into practice: “For Q1 of 2020 one of our marketing goals is for traffic from YouTube to reach 5% of the total traffic to our website. It currently stands at about 1%. This is a reasonable yet ambitious goal as we are focusing significantly more efforts on video marketing during this period than last year.”

7. …Or the THRIVE framework

Dani Juson of Thrive Marketing also recommends to “use the THRIVE goal-setting technique—similar to SMART objectives, effective marketing goals should be time-bound, heavy-duty, realistic, identifiable and explicit.”

“If a stranger could read your goal and understand the gist of what you’re trying to do, you’re on the right track.”

Juson puts that into practice: “Over the next 3 months, we will double the number of leads generated from our organic Facebook and Twitter activity. Or, in Q1, we’ll generate at least 10 warm, high-ticket leads from the joint venture online summit we’re co-hosting.”

8. Look at your strengths and weaknesses

“The best goals come from two sources: gaps in performance that need to be improved or areas of strength that need to be further leveraged,” writes John Donnachie of ClydeBank Media.

“By honestly looking at your current strengths and weaknesses and arraying them for review it is an effective way to select the best goals (long or short term).”

*Editor’s note: Do you know where your strengths and weaknesses are as a marketing team? Start using our templates designed for each channel–including video, email, and social media–to find where your results are falling (or rising):

How do I meet long-term marketing goals?

You’ve set your long-term goals and you’re motivated to meet them.

But as time passes, motivation dwindles. Nobody is committed to reaching that goal–and it falls behind on your priority list.

How can you make sure you’re always on track to meet them?

1. Show your goal everywhere

“Call me old fashioned, but I am a big believer in lists and sticky notes,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls.

“The simple act of writing things down makes them real to me. I love crossing things off my to-do lists, it is a great sense of progress and accomplishment. I find it hard to ignore notes on the bathroom mirror or computer screen every day.”

2. Create short-term goals to get there

“One effective way of setting long-term marketing goals is to first determine your growth potential and the purpose of the marketing goal you are setting,” Robyn Flint says.

“For example, if your long-term growth goal is to double your sales total each year, then your marketing goal should be made to get you there.”

Flint explains how they did this for FreeAdvice.com: “An example of a marketing goal is to increase social media following by 30% per quarter in a calendar year. Another example of a goal is to create brand awareness.”

“It is not enough to simply set long-term goals, but you must also create short-term goals/plans to get you there.”

Mio‘s Dominic Kent references Paul Mellor’s interview on the Marketing Mashup podcast: “The average tenure of a CMO is 18 months. So long term marketing goals have become redundant. Even when you do set long term goals, they must be made up of shorter, more concise goals, with associated tasks and habits to reach them.”

So, what does that look like? Here are some examples of how you can break down long-term marketing goals into more achievable ones:

Goal: 8-10 new publications

Zakiyah Toor shares that IsItWP “knew by the end of the year that we wanted at least eight to 10 new publications under our belt that we’ve written for. So, we created a plan to find two or three new publications each quarter to focus on.”

“Knowing what we wanted to accomplish by the end of the year gave us the means to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals we could obtain.”

Goal: Social media likes

“Marketing goals must be measurable and should be divided into sub-goals,” Jessica Chase of Premier Title Loans advises.

“Let’s say your goal is to get 10,000 likes in 3 months. Now, you should do an analysis every 15 days. Every month your likes should at least increase 3,333 to meet your target.”

Goal: See results from offline marketing

“I run an internet marketing agency,” says Ty Belknap of MyCoach.Life. “In 2019 we decided to test how offline marketing would work for us. Our 12-month goal was to use radio, newspaper (there actually still is one in Seattle), and postcards to reach a target market.”

Bellknap explains that they broke their goal into chunks with the following deliverables:

  • “Pinpoint target market
  • Finalize monthly budget
  • Decide which radio stations/podcasts to work with and contact
  • Determine how often items/ads would be published per month.
  • Design all ads.
  • Go.”

Goal: Fill the sales pipeline

“The primary focus of our marketing is on pipeline because the primary business goals are ARR targets,” says InfiniGrow‘s Ryan Abrams.

“Through reverse engineering, I know how much pipeline marketing needs to generate in order to make its contribution to the overall business goal. From there, I also know how many Opps, SQLs and MQLs that I need to generate to hit that pipeline goal.”

3. Plan the execution with your team

When planning long-term marketing goals, Rachel Ford of Ford Media Lab advises to “create a system you can sustain. Marketing plans must be sustainable to be attainable.”

“I challenge my team to not just present an idea or goal, but to present the full plan for execution – what needs to happen now, next week, next month and so on. If they can’t envision how if would be implemented over time, it’s not achievable. A goal is not enough; success depends upon knowing how to get there.”

“Start with what you want to achieve, outline the time period, and define what needs to happen over the course of the period to stay on track. My method involves compartmentalizing every part of the plan necessary for goal achievement and creating reminders to stay on track.”

“For instance, multiplying sales by 300% over a yearly period will require robust lead generation techniques as well as rigorous marketing tactics that help reach out to a larger demographic,” Shufti Pro‘s Damien Martin explains.

“Or, if the company plans on increasing the workforce by 150%, marketing campaigns will also focus on hiring new talent and retaining existing ones.”

Patsy Nearkhou also adds that “one of [Talkative‘s] long-term marketing goals for [Q1] is to increase our inbound website leads by 40%.”

“To do this, we worked backward to understand the steps we need to take to do this, which resulted in changes to our ad campaigns, social campaigns, content strategy and improving the website itself.”

“We’ve devised a clear plan of action for every month, and have weekly meetings to discuss our progress,” Nearkhou continues. “This project began at the start of Q4 2019 and is set to be achieved by the end of Q1 2020, and by following these principles we are on track to achieve this goal.”

Steven Jaenke of Digimark Australia explains: “For example, if you want to make $500,000 in sales for 2020, you should set the deadline for the goal for December 31st, 2020 and then set milestones at quarterly and monthly intervals.”

“So, looking at our example, you will need to make $125,000 worth of sales each quarter, which narrows down to $41,667/month. You can then calculate that you need 20 sales per month for a service you have priced at $2000. This translates into 1 sale per day.”

“With the number of sales required to achieve the goal calculated, you can then formulate a strategy to achieve 1 sale per day.”

4. Avoid using vanity metrics

Earlier, we mentioned how you’ll need to decide on a list of metrics you’ll use to determine whether you’re on track to meet your long-term marketing goals.

However, Hamon Creative‘s Kevin Geary warns that you’ll need to be “careful to exclude any vanity metrics.”

“For example, SEO is a channel of online marketing we set long-term goals for. Traffic would be a typical metric most businesses would track for their SEO efforts, but since it’s possible to gain a lot of irrelevant traffic through SEO, we only track traffic as a soft goal.”

“The real goals we’re concerned with related to SEO are email list growth (through companion guides), booked strategy calls, and direct sales (all depending on the client of course).”

Matt Seltzer of S2 Research echoes this: “When setting a long-term marketing goal, you need to be sure that the metric(s) you’re going to measure are the ones that truly matter to your organization.”

“If your organization cares about sales volume, then the marketing goal should be based on sales volume, not leads. Leads, in this case, would be a sub-goal for a team that’s broken into short-term goals.”

5. Set benchmarks along the way

“When setting a long term marketing goal, it’s critical to have measurable benchmarks set along the way to help you stay motivated. Having the ability to feel successful along the way will help you maintain motivation,” says Jessica Tappana of Aspire Counseling.

“Furthermore, if you get off track you’ll notice that you aren’t making your benchmarks and be able to make adjustments so you still reach the end goal in the time frame you’d hoped.”

“Many of the marketing techniques we use in this digital age (search engine optimization, social media or even e-mail marketing) don’t yield immediate results and you can get discouraged easily. However, there are usually steps that need to happen along the way.”

Tappana continues: “For example, if my clients are focused on getting to page 1 of Google, our benchmarks might include moving up X spots on Google in the first two months (a great sign we’re moving in the right direction), that they’re receiving X new client inquiries by month 4 (a sign we’ve moved up enough people are finding them) and by month 6 they’re near the top of Google (the client’s original goal).”

“At Attio, we set our long-term marketing goals by looking at what we want to achieve in that quarter in an ideal world,” says Alex Vale.

“Where would you love to be in 3 months’ time essentially? From there we split out each channel we’re working with and set smaller goals specific to that channel that will contribute to the overall goal. Then we take the smaller goals and set bite-size tasks that can be achieved with relative ease.”

6. Get buy-in from everyone in your company

“For a goal to be successful, it requires buy-in from the entire organization,” says Sam White of New Dimension Marketing & Research. “If front line employees don’t understand the goal, why it’s important, or how being successful is meaningful for them, it’s much harder to get buy-in.”

“The best way to get buy-in is to include all areas of the business in the goal-setting process. Bring in members from management, marketing, operations, sales, or accounting. Building a diverse team from the various stakeholders in the company, within reason, will help create meaningful goals.”

White continues: “When all levels and functions within the organization can see the value of the long-term goal, everyone can own the success.”

MintResume‘s William Taylor adds: “To set long-term marketing goals, the most effective strategy is to involve all the stakeholders; from your marketing guys to the customer service team to your loyal customers. Take feedback and value their opinion. Sometimes these people pinpoint things that the higher management overlooks.”

7. Give team members their own tasks

You’ve created a bunch of short-term goals to meet your long-term marketing goals.

Slisha Kankariya advises to break down those smaller tasks and give them to different team members: “This way different pieces of the project are always being worked on at the same time and various team members can be held accountable to finish different aspects of the project.”

Andrea Loubier of Mailbird agrees: “To get started, ensure that each division of marketing has their own individual goals. What may be suitable for email marketing may not necessarily be the same for content marketing. Have a monthly marketing meeting, and discuss your goals.”

Loubier adds: “Additionally, it’s best to select a team member who will keep track of the entire process.”

Kankariya explains how they do this at With Clarity: “We have a weekly meeting to review our marketing goals and get up to speed with what the entire team is doing. Separately, managers also review team performance on a task by task basis and for each team member to ensure daily objectives are being met.”

Summarizing, Beekeeper‘s Alexandra Zamolo says: “A simple way to ensure that you stay on track is to delegate tasks to different team members that will help everyone reach unified goals. You’ll also see happy, engaged employees who are ready to take on the world!”

*Editor’s note: Understand how your team members are progressing towards your long-term marketing goals by looking at the analytics for your project management tool. In our Asana Project Overview template, for example, you can see how many tasks are completed or overdue–allowing you to understand progress:

8. Prepare for (and plan around) potential roadblocks

“Often, what gets in between us and our goals are the myriad of obstacles that we are ambitiously trying to overcome, but fail to take into account when goal-setting,” says Theresa Keller.

“For our agency [Delta Marketing Group], when we talk about setting a goal, we take a step back to identify the biggest potential roadblocks before committing to the goal.”

“We set short-term goals to blast through these small obstacles and after the first one or two has been eliminated, we check back in on the long-term goal. If we agree, we break up some action items, to share the responsibility of meeting the goal.”

Keller continues: “Most of the time, the entire team a) has confidence in the success of the goal after eliminating the first few obstacles together b) more deeply understands HOW we get there and c) is more likely to own and complete their contribution to the long-term goal.”

Leadhub‘s Katie Stone also does this: “For internal long-term marketing goals, we like to set up a road map that we can use to guide ourselves through the scope of the project. The road maps help us assign tasks and due dates. It also helps us identify deliverables and potential challenges we might face while achieving the goal.”

9. Consider your exit strategy

Building your business with the goal to eventually sell it?

According to Tony Mastri of MARION Marketing, “one effective method for setting long-term marketing goals is to identify your exit strategy and length of time you’re willing to invest before your exit, then reverse-engineer your intermediate goals accordingly.”

10. Communicate the goal often

“The most important thing anyone can do in setting a long-term marketing goal is to commit to communicating,” says 360 Quote‘s Vickie Pierre.

“It may sound a bit elementary, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in meetings where we’ve come up with grandiose ideas, but never saw the concept take due to completely dropping the ball on communication. To be more specific – failing to follow up, failing to track progress (or lack of it), or even failing to admit that it’s time to come back to the drawing board and start over.”

Pierre continues: “I have found that the easiest way to overcome this is to refuse to end your meeting without setting a clear timeline of follow-up events. Don’t do the whole “I’ll reach out to you in a few days.” No.”

“Get out your calendars, set a date and time, and determine what objectives need to be completed before the next meeting. And if that date approaches and you find that you can’t meet the deadline – say something. Very clearly.”

“At the end of the day, clear communication will be the life or death of successfully meeting a goal,” Pierre says.

McCall Robison puts this into practice: “Last year, my entire company [Best Company] announced what seemed like an unreachable and unrealistic marketing goal.”

“The goal lasted all of 2019 and the deal was that if we met the goal, all employees would get paid for vacation. And although it seemed completely unrealistic, we met the goal because we kept it at the forefront of our minds the entire year.”

“The long-term marketing goal was our guide and we also had the incentive to keep going when it got discouraging,” Robison says.

11. Build long-term goals into process docs

“One of my long-term goals is to have a process doc written for everything I do,” writes Nicole Wolfe.

“Process documents are important for ensuring everyone at the company [TopSpot Internet Marketing] is on the same page, especially when someone is out of the office or available. Crises happen, and not being prepared will only make it harder to come back from them.”

12. Set goals you can control

When creating long-term goals, Selby‘s Stan Tan advises to “set goals that are in your control such as visitors from paid campaigns and website engagement.”

“An example of a goal that isn’t in your control is SEO traffic because Google can change its algorithm which might affect your organic traffic.”

Tan adds that another example is “leads generated from the website. We are comfortably able to set this goal because we can control the conversion rate on our website. When setting this goal, we give a range and the range is set based on our numbers last year. For example, Dec 2018 vs Dec 2019.”

13. Use a project management tool

“A few years ago, I started looking at ways to increase [Red Stag Fulfillment] website’s backlink count,” says Jake Rheude.

“Before I could do anything about that, I realized we needed a unified way to track how many opportunities we had, and how often we were converting them into backlinks. So the first thing I did was go shopping around for a CRM/project managing software to manage it all.”

“I ended up settling on Breeze, which allowed me to ditch the spreadsheets we’d been tracking everything in and consolidate our efforts into one concrete, easy-to-measure data silo.”

14. Stick to the original plan

According to Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles, “you have to trust your experience and instincts when it comes to long term marketing goals and review performance over the correct time frame. Not just make hasty decisions based on the latest buzz word or tool.”

“If you’ve put in place a plan and strategy and have a team around you who you trust to deliver, then have faith in all three elements and evaluate at the correct milestone stages.”

15. Set a “north star” metric

We’ve all got that one metric we want to master, be that a revenue figure, a certain number of customers, or market share percentage.

Adam Hempenstall of Better Proposals thinks: “The most effective way to set long-term marketing goals is to find your north star metric and make sure that it ties directly to your revenue. Once you have this north star metric, all of your goals should lead to making this metric as big as possible.”

“For example, that metric for us is churn, which we want to decrease to half of the percentage it is right now. We are pretty good at getting new users, but decreasing our churn is our #1 marketing goal and priority.”

“We set our marketing goals quarterly, but we check on them every week or so to see our progress. If we see that we are doing really well (or really poorly), we can reset our goals before the quarterly interval,” Hempenstall adds.

Final thoughts

As you can see, creating (and sticking to) a long-term marketing goal isn’t as complex as you might think.

The key? Tie them into your business goals, involve your entire team, and continue talking the goal into existence.

You’ll soon get there.

About the author
Elise Dopson
Elise Dopson Elise Dopson is a freelance B2B writer for SaaS and marketing companies. With a focus on data-driven ideas that truly provide value, she helps brands to get noticed online--and drive targeted website visitors that transform into raving fans.
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