Why You Need a Digital Marketing Audit

Digital Marketing Audit

Digital Marketing AuditSo, 2015 is under-way and you are looking at your plan for the year and working out where to start.  I think that regardless of what your 2015 plan looks like, one of the first tasks of the New Year is to conduct a digital marketing audit.

The reason I think an audit is important is because it is very difficult to find time to devote to reviewing what you already have in place – in digital marketing, there are new tools and techniques available all the time and the focus is often on what will be happening next.

But by spending some time looking at what you have done, you will learn more about how to maximise the opportunities of tomorrow.  So, what should be included in your audit, and what questions should you be asking?

Social Media:
Why?  This is the channel where you can interact with your customer base, and offer a persona for your business – it’s often seen as a customer service line too!

  • Is my profile optimised – i.e. including my URL, keywords, etc.
  • Are editor permissions correct – has anyone left the company who should be removed?
  • What were the best performing posts of the year – what made these posts unique: timing, content, format, etc.

Why?  This is what is persuading your potential customers to become customers

  • Typos and mistakes – with most CMSs not having a decent spell-check, there is not a quick way of doing this!
  • Changes in policy / promotion – while these are often time-sensitive, they are not always removed from view, so check for these
  • Correct images – as a picture paints a thousand words, make sure that the images that you are displaying are up-to-date

Why?  It is still one of the easiest and most effective communication tools around

  • How has your database performed – is your delivery rate still at an acceptable level?
  • New features from your email provider – most email providers offer new services all the time, so make sure you are exploiting these
  • Are your delivered / open / click rates improving – if not, address this

Pay Per Click:
Why?  When used effectively, PPC is a great way to get onto a search engine’s front page – if not used well, you can spend a lot of money in a short amount of time with very little return.

  • Are you using all of the enhanced features which Google offers – including PPC on mobile
  • Is the way that people are searching your product changing – do you need to review your current keywords?
  • Are there any new affiliate or display opportunities that you should be testing?

Search Engine Optimisation:
Why?  Search engines account for hundreds of millions of searches per day – it differs by industry but it’s likely that SEO will play an important role in your digital plan

  • Are you aware of the latest algorithm updates, and what is your plan for keeping up to date with them throughout the year?
  • Have you written your content plan for the year, with a balance of informative, entertaining and promotional content?
  • Consider new ways of displaying your content, e.g. podcasts?

Competitor Analysis:
Why?  The vast majority of companies operate in a competitive environment, so why wouldn’t you take a look to see what your competition are up to for some ideas.

  • Across all digital channels, which tools are they using and how are they using them?
  • Take a look through your competitor’s website and see how they are using conversion rate optimisation techniques to drive their effectiveness – are any of these relevant to your website?
  • What are they doing differently to you – be honest, is it better than your current offering?

Good luck in 2015, and I hope that you find this check-list useful!

Quick Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

In the highly competitive digital world, being able to succinctly understand what your competitors are doing is a real advantage – it can help to benchmark your performance, and look out for any new tactics that your competition are running.  Here are my 4 things that you can look for to get an overview of someone else’s digital activity (without paying for an analysis tool):

Website: This seems like an obvious one doesn’t it?!  But it is worth checking both the desktop and mobile websites.  Often the experience of a website differs by the device that is being used.  So, start off with desktop, then move to tablet and then take a look on a phone.  It is likely that some functionality will be sacrificed for the user experience, so this should offer you an insight into the parts of the website where the company really wants the user to focus on.  And picture yourself as a user of the website – ask yourself what the user experience is.

Search Engine Optimisation: The quickest way to measure the effectiveness of SEO activity is how a website ranks against a series of keywords – however, who, apart from the company who you are analysing, is to say what those keywords should be?  And the ranking of a website is the output of an SEO strategy, so what is the input?  There are a lot of tools on the web to help you with this – Woorank is a decent free starting point and will show you which SEO elements the website is good at and which ones it can improve on – this could highlight an opportunity for your website

Pay Per Click: This is a tough one to measure without being able to access AdWords, but there is something that you can do.  SEO and PPC should work together through the customer journey, so you should be able to get a view of what that mix is if you understand the customer journey (you will if they are a direct competitor).  For example, in many industries, the searches start very broad and gradually get more specific – so start looking for the SEO and PPC mix through a series of keywords which take you through the user journey.

Social: In many industries, social media is an important part of the digital presence.  It can offer a human face to an impersonal company, as well as giving the customer a reason to choose one product or service over another.  So, you can tell a lot about a company by its social presence.  When you are looking through the social networks (you should check at least all of the ones which the company’s website points you towards), look out for:

  • The mix of content type (image, video, link, etc.)
  • How consumers are using social to communicate (is it a customer service line?)
  • What is the tone of voice – is it formal, informal, etc.

Of course, the best way to truly analyse a competitor website is to pay for an analysis tool, there are plenty out there, but if you have half an hour, you should be able to get a view on what the competition are doing.

Image via getmemedia.com