The importance of goal setting in inbound marketing

Why is goal setting important to inbound marketing?

Creates alignment among your marketing, sales, and services teams

Helps you measure the success of your inbound marketing efforts

Gives you guard rails for your content

All of the above

Correct Answer

All of the above

That’s one of the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification exam answers. However, let’s go beyond the correct answer and discuss why inbound marketing goals are so important:

Why are goals in inbound marketing important

Why do I need inbound marketing goals?

Inbound marketing is a form of marketing that targets people who are actively looking for a product or service and invests time and resources into attracting these people to an organization’s website by providing interesting content and useful information.

In order to see increased sales as a result of inbound marketing, it’s important to have clear goals. Goals can be set at the company level or department level. It’s important that all stakeholders know what the goals are in order to keep on track with them. Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

An example of a SMART goal could be: Decrease the cost-per-lead from our LinkedIn ABM campaign from $120 to $100 by the end of the quarter.

Inbound Marketing Goals at every stage of the customer journey

Marketing is about more than just making sales. You need to understand what is happening with your audience and optimize your content for them.

Setting goals is the first step in optimizing your marketing activity. It can help you figure out what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and what you need to know about them.

Inbound marketing goals might include increasing leads, decreasing customer acquisition costs, and increasing customer retention rates.

How to define inbound marketing goals

Defining inbound marketing goals requires an understanding of the company’s marketing strategy and objectives. It also requires a decent understanding of the company’s prospects and target audience.

Inbound marketing goals are directed at moving your prospects from being a lead to becoming a qualified lead that is ready to buy your product or service. This could happen in many ways, but most often it is through nurturing prospects by providing them with content to educate them on their problem statement.

Therefore, a good starting point is to outline the entire user journey from the first contact to becoming a loyal, repeated customer.

A simplified journey could look like this:

  1. User comes to the website from various organic, direct, paid, or referral sources
  2. User engages with the content
  3. User converts to a lead by filling out a form
  4. Lead receives nurture emails
  5. Lead reaches marketing qualified/sales-ready status (Lead Scoring) and gets handed over to Sales/Sales Development 
  6. Lead enters sales cycle
  7. Lead becomes a customer
  8. Customer renews partnership

Each of the above steps can be broken out into many inbound marketing goals and objectives. For example, the engagement with the content depends on the content, source, and stage of the potential buyer.

Every stage has KPIs and objectives that can be measured and turned into goals. Why the majority of marketing goals should be focussing on business outcomes (lagging indicators), your inbound marketing also needs campaign-level goals (leading indicators).

For example, the overarching goal is to increase marketing-generated/influenced revenue by 20% year-over-year. In order to achieve this goal, you need to break it down into smaller milestones.

One objective that could increase the overall revenue could be by increasing the absolute number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) if every conversion rate in the entire funnel stays the same. On the other hand, increasing the conversion rate or shortening the sales cycle could increase relative business results.