Raise your hand if you've been in the position where you're doing something just to do it and aren't really paying attention to the impact it's having on your life or business. My guess is we have some hands raised...
We've all been there. It's an all too common problem. As human beings, we like routine. We're creatures of habit and it's hard to push ourselves to look at things through a different lens.
You may be wondering what this has to do with marketing, so let me put it into context.
Inbound marketing is becoming increasingly more popular and widely used, which is absolutely fantastic, but more often than not, we're seeing companies leverage things like marketing automation software, blogging, email nurturing, etc., to run the same playbook they have for years but in a slightly different way.
Basically, they're letting their marketing coast along, without really watching or analyzing to see if it's helping their business grow (which ultimately, is everyone's goal, no?). They're stagnant in their methods. And let us be real with you, we know it's tough to break out of that.
Which is what we're going to talk about today: How you can run a marketing audit on your current inbound marketing strategy to identify areas for improvement, uncover strategies you might be missing, and kick bad habits that are bringing you down.
Today's blog post is going to give you six simple steps to perform your own marketing audit to help you take your inbound marketing plan from drab to fab.
When conducting an Inbound Marketing audit, consider these 6 steps:
1. Analyze Your Goals
Why are you doing inbound marketing? What are you trying to achieve? Ask yourself the tough questions up front, so you can more easily determine how to evolve your strategy to maximize its impact. By clearly defining your goals, you'll be able to pave the pathway for future growth.
If you're stuck on what goals to set, here are some potential ideas:
Gain more leads
Increase the quality of leads
Increase conversion rates
Release more content
With the end goals clearly defined, it’s easier to focus on what elements of your strategy need to be tweaked to help you reach those goals.
2. Define Your Buyer(s)
The next step in the audit process is to define your buyer personas. This is probably a step that you took when you initially set up your inbound strategy, but we recommend that you revisit to make sure they're still aligned with where you want your organization to go.
If buyer personas were something you skipped at the start, no worries, now is the time to do that. Your buyer personas are your ideal customers; the people whom you would target knowing they would have the highest probability of seeing value in your offering and becoming happy customers.
Some important elements to include in your buyer persona documents are their job role, position in their company, pain points, a day-in-the-life scenario and key messages that position your organization as the solution that best meets their needs. For a more detailed look into the buyer persona’s profile, read, 7 Things you Need to Know About your B2B Buyer Personas.
With your buyer personas defined, it is easier to understand the types of content that will help move them through the funnel. You'll also be able to define keywords they're using in search and help you build your content strategy around the type of language that will resonate with them on web pages, CTAs and blog posts.
3. Assess The Effectiveness of Your Blog
One of the first things we check when conducting a marketing audit for one of our customers is whether or not there is a blog. Chances are, if you're already doing inbound marketing, then you are blogging - great job! But just because you're blogging, we still take a deep dive into a company's blogging efforts and then focus on points such as:
How frequently are they posting?
How relevant are the posts?
Are there CTAs within the blog posts?
While there are other factors we look for in the blog, these are the three primary areas to cover when assessing a blog. A business should strive for a consistent blogging strategy in order to maintain traffic.
At this point, if a company isn’t blogging - they need to start!
Next, the goal is to manually crawl through the website to determine if it has incorporated a persona-driven architecture. This goes back to information about our buyer personas in step 2!
A website that is structured and optimized to support Inbound Marketing is considered a sales-ready website – which, of course, utilizes an architecture that is catered to your buyer personas! In other words, your blog should be engineered to address the pain points of your buyer persona(s).
Check if your website provides relevant CTAs for the intended audience. General CTAs used site-wide probably aren't going to cut it. Like the blog posts, we specifically look for offers that will cover the range of the persona's pain points as well.
Finally, I look for a resource center; that is, a section of the website that houses all content offers available for download. While the goal for the website is to position CTAs for these offers in relevant areas around the website, the benefit of a resource center is that it conveniently organizes all premium content offers in one easy-to-find section.
4. Run the Website through Performance Measuring Tools
Next, you’ll want to analyze a site’s performance with the help of a handy tool. Moz is my go-to tool for all of the data I need to complete an inbound audit. With Moz’s open site explorer, we can find metrics such as domain authority, page authority, number of linking root domains, total inbound links, social media metrics and so much more!
We can also utilize HubSpot’s Marketing Grader to find more sources of information. The Marketing Grader gives summaries of your website as it pertains to blogging, social media, SEO, lead generation, and mobile traffic. The Marketing Grader pulls information from your site and provides recommendations on how to improve your performance! If you wish to learn even more about the Marketing Grader, check out this post for more information.
5. Prepare Information in a Report
Once all the necessary information has been uncovered, it’s time to put it into an easily digestible format. We use an assessment template in PowerPoint to compile and present all of the data.
Our presentation format covers a variety of topics such as:
Text and color formatting
Use of persona-driven content and architecture
Call-to-action placement and content
Frequency of blog posting
The Assessment should cover all these topics and any other relevant information found through your inbound audit!
6. Craft a Plan and Measure Success
Now that you’ve audited your website, it’s time to put your findings into action. As you’re implementing an inbound marketing plan, you’ll want to revisit your goals, and ensure that you’re taking the correct actions to complete these goals. To get a sense of what is necessary at this stage we use a service level agreement (SLA) template.
Our SLA template uses current business metrics, and future goal business metrics, to help determine strategies to get from point A to point B. Additionally, the SLA template helps to determine the necessary number of visitors, leads, customers and average revenue per customer needed in order to gain the most ROI.
Once you can see the numbers and understand how they are generated, it becomes much easier to plan and predict inbound strategy solutions. Last but certainly not least, it’s time to implement the strategy and watch your business grow!