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What is goal setting?

Definition: Goal setting is the process of defining specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that an individual or organization aims to achieve. It involves identifying the desired outcomes and developing a plan for achieving them.

Goals provide a framework for action and direction. They help identify what needs to be done, by when, and why. 

Goal setting process also serves as a motivational tool that helps people focus their efforts, stay on track, and measure their progress. It can help increase accountability and ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently.

Goal setting process with examples

Step 1: Identify the desired outcome

Define specific outcomes, not just general goals or objectives. 

The goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-Bound) so they are easily tracked and reported on.

For example:

“Increase online sales via web shop by 20% until the end of the Q4, 2023”

Step 2: Develop a plan of action

Break down set goals into smaller, more manageable steps. 

For example, if the target is to “increase sales by 20% over the next 12 months,” creating a detailed marketing campaign and optimizing your website for conversion are actionable strategies.

For our goal:

  1. Increase the number of organic monthly visitors with SEO and content marketing.
  2. Launch social media campaigns that will lead users to your website. 
  3. Launch Google and display ads. 
  4. Do influencer marketing.
  5. Implement email marketing campaigns that remind users to finish their purchases.

Step 3: Set a deadline for completion

If the aim is to increase sales by 20%, then what date does that need to happen by? A timeline gives purpose and urgency to goals.

Since our goal stretches over the whole year, you can set deadlines for all the smaller steps that need to be completed too. 

Step 4: Assess the resources needed

How many people will be involved in achieving this goal? What skills are required? What resources are needed (money, time, people, etc.)?

For our goal, the needed resources are:

  1. Content marketing manager
  2. SEO specialist
  3. Social media specialist
  4. Advertising agency
  5. Content writers and copywriters
  6. Influencers 
  7. Email marketer
  8. Marketing budget

Step 5: Implement the plan

This is where executing the action plan begins. Develop a reward system for achieving goals to act as a motivator.

Step 6: Track progress

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs). What measurable benchmarks will best measure progress towards the goal? 

Tracking and reviewing progress helps to keep those involved on track and motivated. 

For our example, KPIs can be:

  1. % increase in monthly visitors to the webshop.
  2. Decrease in cart abandonment.
  3. Total revenue increase by the end of 2023. 
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Article FAQs

What skills does goal setting require?
Goal setting requires a few key skills, including the ability to: Articulate one's goals clearly. Break goals down into small, manageable pieces. Create a timeline for achieving set goals. Develop a plan of action to achieve goals. Track progress and adjust plans as needed.
What is goal setting theory?
Goal setting theory is the idea that an individual or team is more likely to achieve a goal if they have a specific plan for doing so. This theory was proposed by Edwin Locke and is supported by research in various fields, including psychology, business, and sports.

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