Be SMART When Setting Goals

As a recent grad, I am constantly applying things that I learned in school to my real life experience. I will admit that I had my fair share of doubts in the classroom. The question “when will I never need to know this?” flashed through my mind more than I would care to admit. The fact is though most of the things I learned in school were in fact very relevant, it just takes a special moment for the reality to reveal itself. The majority of my senior year consisted of “strategy” classes and in all of those classes we talked about setting S.M.A.R.T goals. That acronym stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.


In my position as an account manager, I spend a lot of my time communicating with clients about their campaigns. I have found that it is incredibly important that our efforts match this S.M.A.R.T acronym in order for us to be able to benchmark and communicate success.


The first aspect of this acronym is “specific”. This means that our goals need to be focused and well thought out. There are many different directions that you can go when choosing a focus for a campaign but it is important to keep in mind what is important to the client and what they are trying to achieve.

“Measurable” is one of the points in this acronym that I am more than familiar with. Tracking is essential to our success so that we can gauge what is working and what isn’t. Being able to communicate to our clients the progress of our efforts and how they’re working for them is a huge part of what I do for TargetClick. We have taken a lot of action lately to make sure that our clients are able to see their progress each month. For example, the addition of our recent online dashboard helps to communicate our paid search efforts to clients.

The next part of our formula for setting goals is making sure that they are “achievable”. I am definitely an advocate for dreaming big and shooting for the moon, but it’s important to still be tethered to reality. Goals should be challenging, but also reachable.

Making sure your goals are “relevant” takes us back to the point I made about aligning our goals with those of a client. Something that I might consider to be a good goal doesn’t mean that it is the same for what our client wants to achieve. Seeing more traffic to their website might be a great accomplishment, but another desired goal could possibly be the completion of a form or an online appointment being scheduled. Knowing what your client is wanting will help you be able to deliver results.

The final piece to this method is making sure your goals are “time-based.” A goal without an outcome is like playing Mario kart without a finish line. I am a big fan of the Rainbow Road course but I would go insane if I just drove around in circles endlessly with no end in sight. Setting a deadline will help you figure out what you need to do to get there.

So there you have it. Not everything they teach you in school is bogus or a no-brainer, sometimes it just takes some real life experience for it to seem relevant.


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