So very few business owners exist, if there is some at all, who have pursued a digital marketing campaign just for the sake of it or just because everyone else is doing it. It would be a sure bet business owners embark on marketing activities through digital and online channels because they want to gain something more for their business – either to gain popularity or authority in their niche, generate valuable business leads, and of course generate sales and profits.
Yet, many businesses engaging in digital marketing campaigns do not fully understand the hows, the whys and what works with their marketing efforts online. Many think that all there is to digital marketing is to have your landing pages set-up, throw in a few online ads here and there, and generate lots of traffic to their websites. In the fast and very dynamic world of digital marketing, such erroneous notions may prove disastrous for your business, with you ending up paying for huge marketing investments without anything to show for it.
Conducting an audit of your digital marketing campaigns is like a self-check routine that allows you to gain considerable understanding of how your programs are performing and how you can speed things up for your Return of Investment.
The Importance of a Digital Marketing Audit
A digital marketing audit can be defined as a comprehensive and systematic process of examining the activities, techniques and processes used, and overall performance of your digital marketing campaign on a periodic basis. The information gained from this audit will help you determine system or procedural inadequacies, weak spots, and other problem areas that you can immediately address for continuous improvement.
Ideally, a digital marketing audit should be performed by an experienced third party, equipped with fresh eyes to look into your overall digital marketing strategy from a fresh perspective. The information extracted from this audit will tell you what areas you need to improve on, budget re-allocations that need to be done, and critical areas for improvement that need more focus from you or your marketing team.
There are practically three levels of digital marketing audits that you need to consider for your overall marketing campaigns. These include:
- Health Check – This is a quick and simple review and audit of your digital marketing campaign status and performance to gauge levels of engagement with potential customers, effectiveness of your channels for conversion, and overall impact of your campaigns on your bottom line.
- Gap Analysis – A deeper analysis of your existing digital marketing structure and channels to gain a more detailed understanding of gaps between what exists and what you are aiming for. Here, you can identify which channel should be prioritized, optimized and which will bring you the biggest cost savings.
- Capability – This is an assessment of the capabilities and qualifications of your digital marketing team or staff, to identify training requirements to increase knowledge and competencies – to enable them to plan and create digital marketing campaigns that actually bring desirable results.
Digital Marketing Audit Basics You Need to Know
There are key areas in digital marketing audits that marketers and business owners should focus on to establish a comprehensive gauge and assessment of the campaign’s overall performance. These key areas are needed to give you a better insight into your brand, product or service’s digital presence and how your digital marketing campaign is making an impact on the future and sustainability of your business.
1. Audit Your Reach
Ranking high in search engine results are what most digital marketers and businesses online focus heavily on, utilizing both organic Search Engine Optimization strategies and techniques, as well as paid Pay-Per-Click advertising to gain dominance of their chosen keyword phrases. However, many fail in getting good results for lack of proper audits and diagnosis of their reach performance as well as addressing the problems and issues their campaigns would be facing in using improper digital marketing tactics.
The following are some of the steps you can use and perform to effectively audit your digital marketing reach:
- Make use of tools like Rank Checker to gauge how well your landing pages or main web pages rank in natural search results for certain keywords.
- Optimize your Google AdWords strategy by making use of Google AdWords Review to improve your reach, conversion rates, and impression shares.
- Make use of good email marketing programs to get even better reach. If you have such programs in place, make sure you monitor your click rates, open rates and other metrics that monitors how well you can connect with target audiences through email.
- Make use of analytics tools provided by social networking channels like Facebook to measure and gauge your reach through subscriber numbers, views, comments, likes, number of followers, and shares.
- Make of use of monitoring tools in your Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns to monitor the number of impressions and Click Through Rates your ads are getting.
2. Audit Your Architecture
Going back to basic here, it is important to reiterate the importance of good website design and architecture in your digital marketing campaign so it is a must that you audit and assess your website’s design, structure, features and functionality. Key elements to consider when auditing your website architecture include:
- Check your website’s usability particularly from your targeted audiences’ point of view in terms of how effective your content is showcased in your web pages and how well your audiences consume this content.
- Check how optimized graphical elements in your web pages are set-up particularly in terms of loading times, clarity and appropriateness to your central theme or content.
- Check the integrity of your link and navigation system, making sure that your targeted visitors can easily digest and navigate their way through your pages and content.
- Check how well your social media channels are integrated with your main website, making it easy for targeted visitors to access and interact with your profile pages.
3. Audit Your Content
Content remains the core ingredient in any digital marketing campaign so it would just be fitting for you to check and audit your content to optimize your campaign activities. Auditing your content is both qualitatively and quantitatively. However, don’t just settle for the numbers, as many websites have done so in the past. Go for quality content that will not only rank well with search engines but is consumed wholeheartedly by your targeted audiences. Other things to consider when auditing your content are:
- Establish your content strategy to ensure that you’ll have a constant and regular flow of quality content.
- Establish a monitoring system to gauge what content is producing results and which ones do not.
- Establish strong content formats that can bring the desired results. These formats include audio, applications, photos, text and video.
4. Audit Your Interaction
Your digital marketing strategy should include auditing how you or your site managers interact and engage well with your targeted audiences. Make sure you have proper contact forms where people can reach you. Site visitors should also be provided with the facility to engage with you or your site manager in real time through live chat. You can perform all this while keeping in mind that all your engagement and interaction purpose is conversion.
5. Audit Your Conversion
As mentioned just a few moments earlier, digital marketing’s main goal is to convert website traffic into business leads or paying customers. Traffic numbers is not the most important success measure in digital marketing but on how well your landing pages or main web pages convert these numbers into leads or sales. A conversion audit is what you need to ensure this happens and you should take note of the following considerations:
- Measure how well your targeted visitors interact with your content by measuring how long they stay on pages, how they use social plugins (ex: liking or sharing your content), form filling analytics, and bounce rates.
- Measure how well your targeted visitors react with your calls to action by measuring how many makes a specific action against the total number of site visitors.
6. Audit Your Multi-Platform Integration
One of the key Digital Marketing trends for 2014 is multi-platform integration, so it is wise and logical for you to audit how well your digital marketing strategy is making use of multi-platform channels. Integration means cross-linking to both online and offline engagement points like proper linkage with social media channels and clear link or channel information from print materials, calling cards, brochures and other offline marketing tools.
7. Audit Your Training Programs
If you want to sustain your digital marketing campaigns for the long haul, then it would be to your best business interest to invest in training and education an in-house digital marketing team. Training can come externally with qualified providers like Internet Secrets Made Easy to clearly, precisely and concisely train your staff and team important digital marketing aspects – and prepare them for bigger and better things to come.
Conducting performance audits for your digital marketing campaign is a necessary activity to help you and your business improve in all aspects of your internet marketing efforts. Audits can identify weak points and key opportunity areas, while ensuring that your activities and strategies are in line with your ultimate goal in mind – conversion.
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