With the construction industry poised to grow into the double digits for the coming year, company owners and marketers are setting goals to make sure they gain a better share of this increased revenue (source: U.S. Construction trends and outlook).
Because of the Internet and the advent of inbound marketing, marketing tactics have changed a lot. Because of these changes, I wrote in another blog article, "for the ambitious construction company CEO or marketer, stepping into this new way of marketing can reap enormous ROI."
All marketing functions within two broad realms: Setting goals, and executing those goals using a series of planned, actionable tasks. It may be tempting to fly by the seat of your pants because it seems more laid-back to do so, but not knowing where you're going can add plenty of stress. That's it - in a nutshell. Let's get started.
To Begin, Set SMART Marketing Goals
Everything starts with an idea. Right? Wrong. Everything starts with a good idea. Setting SMART goals requires putting your head into the project and relying on what you already know, intermixed with you know you can achieve.
SMART goals are:
So what are you planning to achieve this year or next year? The following SMART steps will help you with your planning:
Step 1: Be Specific About Your Goals
Take out a notebook and write the answer to this question: "What is your overall marketing goal for the coming year? Below are some possibilities:
- "I want to increase my sales by 10%."
- "I want to start pushing out educational information online, such as in a blog."
- "I want to offer a new category of services."
- "I want to increase my marketing efforts, but carefully monitor my spend."
These are all great places to start; you may have other ideas. Any of the suggestions above are entirely realistic goals.
Step 2: Set Goals That You Can Measure
It's important to set measurable goals. If you're going to spend either time or money executing your goals, it would be nice to know the ROI, or lack thereof, of your efforts. Right? With online marketing, everything is measurable. Not so with conventional marketing efforts.
Still have your notebook out? Here's the Step 2 question: "Name the situation that best summarizes your marketing needs?"
In step one, you stated a goal. What would be the first step in beginning to achieve that goal? With Internet marketing, the #1 solution that always achieves the most success is, "I need more visitors to my web site." You also could get really specific and say, "I need more qualified visitors to my website."
Your customers contact you because they know what you offer and can do. Potential customers visit your website because they are searching for what you offer and can do.
Step 3: Set Goals That Are Attainable
The questions you need to ask yourself for Step 3, are numerical. You just set a measurable goal. Now, how much of an increase do you want?
Staying with the example of, "I need more visitors to my website," how many more do you want?
Step 4: Set Goals That Are Relevant
With inbound marketing, the numbers in the graphic above are entirely attainable. Not only are these goals attainable, they might be attainable with some rebudgeting rather than a whole new spend. A sub-goal would be the lower cost per lead (CPW) that's attainable with inbound marketing.
A 2% lead to customer ratio would account for an average amount of competition in your marketplace. Some niche areas of specialization might do better: Construction industry trends are favoring specialization more and more (source: Sikich).
Watch for a trap here: It would be tempting to say, "I'll plan on hiring more teams or subs because my business is set to grow by X% this year." Thinking of your logistics is something that you'll need to do, but now your relevant goal should be something like, "I need to increase traffic through all channels by X%." Traffic = leads = conversions.
Step 5: Set Goals That Are Time-Bound
While having everything together so far, you need to ensure you have a time line for meeting that goal you wrote down in step #1. From the example above, if you do decide your goal is to increase website and social media traffic, you need to know when you will accomplish this in order to know when to start working on the secondary goal of hiring subs and teams to do the work. You don't want a situation where you end up with more contracts than you know what to do with!
Some questions to ask yourself:
- When would you like to reach this goal?
- How many hours per week can you dedicate to inbound marketing?
- What is the biggest marketing challenge preventing you from reaching this goal?
Besides setting a time frame, facing your hurdles and pain points are also must-do's if you're to succeed in this process.
Key take-a-ways from this blog article:
- The only way to plan growth is to set goals for your company as a whole, and for different marketing segments within your company, if you have them.
- Goals need to me measurable and actionable.
- You need to be able to attain your goals by creating a careful strategy.
- Relevance means both attainable and cost-effective.
- Setting time frames, quarterly, yearly, etc., will keep you on track.