By Samuel Thimothy, VP at OneIMS.com

Goal-setting is an important part of any entrepreneur's journey. Setting the right goals can ensure your progress is moving forward and help you stay on track.

However, when you start to think of the goals you'd like to achieve, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. There is a lot to accomplish, particularly when it comes to marketing your new business. But if you bite off more than you and your team can handle, you may find that you're unable to accomplish any goals at all.

Each entrepreneur has a unique set of needs and goals they want to accomplish, but there are a few marketing goals every entrepreneur should have in 2019. Here are four to get you started.

1. Refine your brand message.

A brand's message is what connects it to its audience and customers. Just as the needs of your audience are always changing, your brand messaging should be making small shifts as well.

Every year, it should be a goal to continue to refine your brand messaging. Take a look at how your target audience may have changed or what preferences they've developed, and shift your brand strategy to ensure you're still accommodating those needs.

Remember to be careful with the changes you implement. You don't want to add too many new ideas at once, or you risk totally disconnecting your brand from your audience. Instead, introduce them slowly.

2. Grow conversions, not engagements.

If you're active on social media, you're probably tracking engagements. From likes, comments, shares and more, engagements can help you measure how well your audience is interacting with your content.

Unfortunately, just likes or comments aren't enough to really know. Someone may like a post on social media without ever actually visiting your site or considering purchasing from you.

Rather than making a goal to grow your engagements, focus on conversions. A conversion, such as a click or a newsletter sign-up, is a better indication of who is interested in your content and how well you're connecting with your target audience.

3. Build your email list.

An email list is one of the best tools an entrepreneur has because it is totally their own. When you have a list of interested leads and customers, you're free to send them updates, promotions and content of your choice.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs choose to focus on building their social following more than their email list -- but social followers aren't quite the same as subscribers. A social platform can disappear, leaving you without any way to connect with those followers.

In 2019, make it a primary goal to collect contact names and email addresses. Use opt-in bars, landing pages and even in-person events to convert leads and prospects. Store those addresses in an email campaign tool, and also in a backup spreadsheet for your own records.

4. Focus your content.

Many entrepreneurs make a goal to create more content. However, more isn't always better. If you're not creating the right content, it doesn't matter how much you create.

Creating one high-quality piece of content can take you further than a few low-quality pieces. Your main goal should be creating something that your audience actually wants to read and engage with, not stuffing your website full of text.

Focus your content strategy to only create content that is extremely high quality. Put in the extra time to create a great podcast or video blog, even if you're only able to upload a few a month. Pay close attention to the kinds of content and topics your audience is engaging with and create similar pieces.

Conclusion

Setting your marketing goals doesn't need to feel overwhelming. While there is a lot you want to accomplish as an entrepreneur, you need to be sure you're being smart and strategic about the decisions you make instead of trying to rush too much too soon.

These four goals are a great starting point for your business. Refine your brand message, grow your conversions, build your email list and focus your content, but take it a step further. Drill these goals -- and some unique goals of your own -- to be specific, measurable and timely. Add metrics, timelines and other factors to ensure you're moving toward the goals you've set.

Samuel Thimothy is the VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency, and co-founded Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform. 

Published on: Apr 12, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.