How to set measurable objectives

If you’re in business, you need measurable objectives. Without them how will you and your team know what to do next, or how well you’re doing?

No matter what your business’ goals are, you’ll need to set measurable objectives. If you’re looking to optimise PR within your business, these are extremely important. Objectives are one of the five foundations to PR, so make sure you give them some careful thought.

It’s important to remember that your objectives should be different to your overall business goals. Goals and objectives are different. Goals are a more abstract target of where you want your business to reach, and objectives are the steps on the ladder that can help you to reach those goals.

In order to meet your overarching business goals, you’ll need to set measurable objectives, whether that be to help to improve your PR or to help your business grow. Measurable objectives can be based on a variety of measures, including your return on investment (ROI), audience reached or engagement on social media. What you measure will depend on your objectives, but it’s a good idea to have multiple objectives that measure different areas to see how your business is performing on the whole.

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SMART objectives

The easiest way to set measurable objectives is to use the acronym SMART. This will make sure your objectives are measurable and effective, acting as a step on the ladder to your overall business goals.

Specific

Your objectives should be simple, honing in on one specific outcome. Without specificity it can be hard to know when you’ve achieved a goal, or for your team members to know how to help you achieve your objective.

For example, to attract more customers is an objective, but wanting to attract more customers in a specific industry or from a particular source makes your objectives more measurable. If you’re creating PR goals, consider what it is your communications strategy is aiming do. For example, are you creating awareness, providing knowledge or building trust?

Measurable

You need to be able to apply evidence to your objective, so you’re aware of what exactly needs to improve. This means you’ll be able to track whether your current strategy is working, or if something needs to change. Your objectives should have a clear measure, so you’re able to report on the results of any campaigns.

For example, to increase your social media followers and website visitors is an objective, but you can make this measurable by identifying how many followers you want your social media platform to have, or what percentage you’d like to increase it by.

To create measurable objectives for your website, you can use Google Analytics, which is an incredibly useful free tool to measure website traffic and behaviour. Explore our comprehensive guide on Google Analytics.

Attainable/achievable

Objectives should be like a good workout, you want to stretch yourself and your business, but there’s no point having unrealistic goals that leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Consider what could be achievable in the next month or year. Remember that objectives are different to your overall business goals, you want to create the rungs to your ladder with manageable steps to success.

For example, if you’re in your first year of business it’s great to plan for success and millions in turnover, but start by thinking about the steps to get there. What would mean success for your business in the short-term?

Relevant/realistic

You’ll need to examine your objectives – are they relevant and realistic for your business’ current campaign?

For example, if you’re hoping to achieve an increase in social media engagement, but none of your activity is focused on social media content creation or curation, you either need to revisit your plans or the objective. Having multiple objectives is important, but make sure each has a purpose that will actually amount to your overall business goals.

Relevant objectives should help you to understand whether you’re successfully moving towards an overall objective, rather than just giving you numbers.

Realistic objectives can be informed by past performances. For example, if your website traffic increased by 20% last year, you may be able to look increase this by 30% this year. Realistic objectives become easier to set the more you use SMART objectives, helping you to become more accurate at predicting what your business can achieve.

Time-based

To set effective, measurable objectives they should have a timeframe to be completed within. By tying your objective to a specific date, you’ll actively work towards it. This will allow you to review your objectives to see what you were able to achieve and understand what will take longer than first anticipated.

Putting a timeframe onto your objectives is the icing on the cake for them to be measurable. For example, increasing your social media followers by 60% to create awareness of your brand is specific, relevant and achievable. But it’s difficult to measure without a timeframe. An objective to increase your social media followers by 60% in three months to raise awareness of your brand is an effective SMART objective.

Output vs outcome

One key thing to note is not to be too ‘output’ focused.

Using the example above, wanting to increase your social media followers by 60% in three months is great to lift brand awareness, is a great start, but the focus is on the vanity follower metric.

Instead, think about what the additional 60% will do for your business. For example, you might instead have an objective of: 

  • To improve digital awareness of our brand and engagement with our audience, by increasing our social media followings by 60% over the next three months.

Implementing your objectives

Although the ‘M’ in SMART objectives stands for measurable, your objectives won’t be fully measurable unless you implement all aspects of this acronym into your objectives.

Don’t forget to set regular meetings to review your objectives based on their timeframe and to keep creating new objectives to reach your overall business goals.

If you’re unsure of how to set measurable objectives to achieve business growth, get in touch by booking your free communications review or filling out the form below:

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