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Brand Strategy

When a new client hires my team, one of the first things I ask them in our discovery call, and periodically after, is, “What are some of your biggest marketing goals?” Typically I get the answer, “We want to make more money” or “Get more clients.”

Ok… that’s fair. But I always have to dig a little deeper with these folks to understand what goals and objectives we need to hit to make this a reality. It’s tough for many small- to mid-sized businesses to hone in on effective marketing goals. So let’s go through some good ones as you’re developing your strategy.


The biggest thing I want to stress here is that goals are worthless if you can’t fully understand them, track them, and tick them off once they’re accomplished. I discussed this a bit in the post, How to Set and Stick with Your Business Goals. Let’s think back to our college business classes: Goals are nothing if you don’t define them as SMART. I know… this can get frustrating and tedious. But it’s essential if you want your goal-setting to truly matter. 

Let’s talk quickly about what SMART means. 

In my experience, many people understand what SMART goals are, but in the application, completely ignore the importance. Let’s go through them now and start brainstorming.


Vague goals are nothing but wishes. If you’re an entrepreneur, you aren’t here for wishes. We’re here to get shit done. The reason specific goals are so important is that if you don’t have a specific destination, how are you supposed to arrive there? If you’re visiting your buddy for the weekend and his only directions are that he lives just north of Philadelphia, how are you supposed to know when you get there? How north? What street? And if he never calls you back to clarify, you’ll give up and just go home. 

This is the same with business. “I want more clients” is a great wish, but it’s not a goal. What does it mean? How much is “more”? Is having 3 more clients good? And if so, do you mean 3 brand new clients or 3 returning clients that have been gone for a while? Be specific!


Is your goal something that can be measured? Sorry creatives, I’m talking numbers, here. If you can’t measure it, how can you know you hit it? For example, a goal saying, “More brand awareness” is not measurable. Does that mean more likes on Facebook? Are you going to send out surveys? Or something else? I talk more about brand awareness below because it is a tricky one!

Make your goal quantifiable. How much retainer profit do you want each month? How many thank you notes do you want to send each month to help with brand loyalty?


This one is a little tricky. I would never want to rain on anyone’s parade so this one we’re all going to have to look deep within ourselves and be honest. I also don’t want to equate “attainable” with “easy to obtain.” Let’s think of it more as what Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets defines the word as, “what’s possible when stretched.”

Think of something in between “easy to reach” and “impossible.” Most people take the easy way out and develop, small, easy to obtain goals. The problem with this is, easy reach goals promote small, easy thinking. You don’t have to think about them much, there is very little mind shift, and you can kind of stay in cruise control. But sometimes overachievers develop goals so big, that it would be impossible to attain in the allotted time to achieve them (we’ll get to time later). If you know a goal is unattainable but you set it anyway, it might hinder your motivation to work toward that goal and discourage you when it’s not achieved. 

Don’t make your goals laughably impossible or minuscule. Be honest with yourself up front and develop goals that you need to reach for — something a step beyond what you think you can accomplish. That’s called healthy goal setting.  


This one is my favorite and a bit misunderstood. First, before we even think of marketing goal setting, we have to first define what our overarching business goals are for the quarter. If your big business goals are to launch a new product, then why would you want one of your marketing goals to be about driving traffic to a product that’s going out of commission? First focusing on your business goals makes marketing a little more tangible, allowing you to make goals that are relevant to your vision.


Goals should have a deadline. Without a date of completion, you could push the goal off for months or even years. Deadlines force us to take action and can help us understand how close we are to the goal depending on the deadline. So because our goal is also measurable — maybe the goal is to increase Instagram engagement by 30% — and you’re ⅔ into your 90-day plan and you only have increased by 10%, you need to work double-time to get the other 20%!

Having measurable and time-bound goals turn your goals from concept to reality.

Now that we’ve talked about what goes into good goal setting, let’s talk about some good marketing goals appropriate for small- to medium-sized businesses. Take note that these goals would benefit any size business but the strategy might be a little different. 


Brand awareness is typically always on my list of top goals for clients although the measurable execution is contested by other experts in the field. Some think brand awareness is a useless exercise that can’t contribute to marketing ROI. 

The other school of thought, advocated by Bryan Sharp, contends that one of the strongest drivers in making consumers buy is simply the ability to recall that product. Sharp states that brand recall is improved with a consistent and ubiquitous logo and tagline, celebrity endorsements, and traditional mass marketing.

According to Ad Age Datacenter, Coca-Cola spent $3.3 billion worldwide on advertising in 2013 alone. Their brand is so strong Coke is one of a handful of generic trademarks. Without thinking, consumers often ask for a Coke when they mean any brand of cola.

So yes, brand awareness is important, but let’s make sure we can measure it. 


Whether you conduct a survey by email, website, or phone, you can either ask an existing customer how they heard of you or ask a random selection of people if they are familiar with your brand. You sometimes see these quick surveys on Instagram to determine if you recall seeing an ad. This helps the agency, marketer, or business understand how people hear about you and give you insight into the number of people that can recall your brand.


Measuring website traffic over time can reveal insights into brand awareness, but it’s important you’re looking at the right places. The direct channel in Google Analytics tracks the number of people who typed your URL into their address bar, used a browser link, or clicked a link in an untracked email or offline document. That’ll help give you an indication of changes in brand awareness. 


You can use software like SEM Rush to see what keywords your audiences are using to get to your site. Over time, you can track how many people are getting to your site through brand name search volumes vs. other keywords. The more brand name searches, the “higher” brand awareness. 


Perhaps the most effective tactic is to look at where people are already talking – social media and other websites. Social listening allows you to listen into online, organic conversations about your brand across social media and the web. Listening to these conversations and opinions about your brand on these platforms gives you unsolicited, honest customer feedback.

This overcomes one of the problems with surveys — response bias — where responders may not give natural answers because of the format in which they were being asked. 


Tallying the number of times your brand is mentioned online can help you discover how many conversations are happening about your brand and how it changes over time. Don’t just look at @mentions on Facebook and Instagram because that can just be the tip of the iceberg. Utilize tools like Google Alerts to see when your brand is mentioned all over the internet. 


Reach is the number of people that see a mention or post. It takes into account the number of followers of each author who mentions you. If someone that has a million followers tweets about your brand, for example, it will spread awareness much more than a share from somebody who has 100 followers. 


Website traffic is a great start to understanding how many people are interested in your product – but if you have a high bounce rate, you might not be getting the right people to your site in the first place. This is where website conversion comes in.

You can make a goal for your site — an eCommerce buy, a freebie download, or even signing up for your newsletter — and track over time how often the goal is met. This shows you how many qualified visitors are coming to your site.


A long-term goal for any business should be to rank on the first page of Google for relevant searches. It takes time and a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, but that’ll get you qualified leads that you don’t have to pay for. Perhaps a goal could be to be “ranked” for 500 keywords on Google or to outrank a competitor by x amount. A short-term goal could be to push one strong keyword per blog post and set up one directory listing per week. 

Local search ranking is especially important for small businesses with a hyper-local audience. A long-term goal could be to appear on the top of local maps results and some short-term goals could be to collect one Google Review per week or optimize your Google My Business listing in one month. 


I hope this post gave you some clarity around how to develop your top business and marketing goals.


Nolia Roots can take your marketing to the next level. Read our Case Studies to see how we transformed our clients’ businesses with real results.

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