People used to come to my high school and talk about how important it was to have goals. “You have to set realistic but ambitious goals for your life in order to feel fulfilled with life.” I am paraphrasing, of course, because in high school I was a young punk and never paid attention at those assemblies. I was just happy to get out of class. But as I’ve grown and matured, I have begun to realize what they really meant by “goals”. Goal setting can be an essential part of every aspect of your life. Goal setting needs to be an essential part of your online marketing campaigns, but only if you plan to succeed.

When those motivational speakers were talking about setting realistic goals, I don’t think they were talking about choosing to become a nuclear physicist because you’re good at math. That is unrealistic as a goal, not because you can’t become a nuclear physicist (you can) but because it is too general and better classified as a dream. A realistic goal would be to get an A on the physics final.

Goals should be focused and task oriented, rather than abstract hopes for the future. Becoming a nuclear physicist is a dream that you might have in high school; getting an A on the test is a goal you can achieve. Both are necessary in order to get what you want, but the two should not be confused.

What on Earth does this have to do with online marketing? Well, in any venture, online marketing or rock climbing, goals have to be specific and attainable in the foreseeable future. Goals have to have purpose and should lead to the fulfillment of a dream, not be the dream itself. Having a goal of making enough money online to quit your job is useless. That is a dream. You need to have goals that lead to this, such as:

A. I will find five affiliate marketing programs that relate to the subject matter in my blog each week for the next two months.

B. I will sign up 25 people over the next two weeks for my e-zine.

C. I will become a world famous “blogger”.

D. I will post one SEO article that is relevant to my blog’s subject matter every 3 days for the next 90 days.

Goals A, B, and D are all very specific and can be measured. They have a definite quota to fill in a given amount of time. They can be met, measured, and checked off of your to-do list. These goals will move you forward and enhance your online marketing plan in a meaningful and directed way, and will actually make you money. I put goal C in the list to make sure you were paying attention. It’s not a goal at all! When will you become a world famous blogger? How do you quantify world famous? How do you know when such an objective has been met? This is a dream, not a goal.

Dreams are wonderful and when met, drive the world forward. Dream big and reach for the stars! It is ok to dream about staying home all day with your kids while you make money online, but remember that without specific, attainable and measurable goals, dreams can never become reality! Never confuse dreams with goals in your online marketing campaigns. Be specific. Be directed. Have a plan in mind that will turn your dream into reality. Be careful not to get so lost in a dream that you forget about how you are going to get there. You need to keep an eye on both to succeed.

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Q&A: How to Stay Motivated, Set Goals, & Overcome Procrastination