Most companies start the new year with a fresh marketing budget, earmarked for new projects or to continue existing ones. Before we get too far into 2019, we have a recommendation: if you didn’t do it as part of your budgeting exercise in the fall, audit your marketing efforts and assess their effectiveness. Regardless of whether your budget is higher, lower or the same as last year, this is the perfect opportunity to examine your program and how well it’s performing in relation to your business goals. With each of our clients, we go through an initial marketing discovery process; likewise, a new year is the perfect junction to do some rediscovery if you haven’t in some time. An audit allows you to:
- Examine the separate elements of your program or campaign to determine their effectiveness
- Create the opportunity to address challenges and/or refocus attention where it is needed
- Utilize the talents of marketing professionals on the cheap (more on that below)
An audit of your marketing program includes investigation into the tactics you plan to spend the majority of your resources, whether time or money. Digging into reporting, and then analyzing the performance – while daunting – may provide direction for the entire year. For example, here are a few questions that might be valuable to answer before you finalize your marketing plan for 2019:
- Are all your landing pages loading?
- Are they still current, or do they have old, outdated information on them?
- Do those landing pages give visitors access to outdated assets?
- Are your links current?
- How often are you posting fresh content such as blog posts?
- Have you tested your forms lately to see if they work?
- How fast does your website load? Are there areas to improve?
- Is it built mobile friendly?
These are just a few of the questions to get you thinking about the health and performance of your website. Google offers tools to help you in assessing your website’s health, such as Search Console and Page Speed Insights. Additionally, you can test your site’s mobile friendliness in terms of speed and performance with Think With Google.
- How long has it been since you last reviewed your business’ keyword library?
- How are you keywords ranking?
- How valuable is the organic traffic that is coming to your website?
- What are your highest ranking pages?
- What are your most important landing pages?
- Which pages are people leaving the website from, that should be strengthened?
- What are your competitors doing that you need to be?
- What keywords are your top competitors using?
- How does your return on ad spend compare month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter?
- Have you looked at your demographics lately to see whether or how much they have changed?
- Have you looked at ways to enhance your ads with sitelink extensions, callout extensions or phone extensions?
- Have you changed your ad copy lately to try to outperform old ads?
- Have you tried Google’s new dynamic search ads?
- Which platforms are you on and are they best for your business?
- Are you missing opportunities by not being on certain platforms?
- What types of post are garnering the most engagement?
- Which posts make the most sense for boosting?
- Are you running any paid social campaigns? How are they performing?
- Are you marketing with emails to your prospects and clients?
- Have you reviewed your key indicators of list health?
- Have you tested the deliverability of your emails?
- Have you looked at your email platform to see if there are new features you should be using?
- Have you ensured your email templates are up to date?
- Are you testing different messages, imagery, and other key elements to ensure your efforts are not being wasted?
If that list is getting you a little worried, don’t sweat it. This could be a grand opportunity to experience interaction with a marketing agency without the need to bring them on full-time. An agency can take a look at the tactics you have questions about and give you a report on their health status as well as suggestions to improve them. This can be a boon for your company, as you get to witness the agency’s level of professionalism and get a sense of whether or not it will be a good fit for future projects, gaining the benefit of professional marketing wisdom without engaging the company for a large project or full program execution. Even if you are already working with a company on SEO or paid ad management, an audit can be an easy way to implement checks and balances. This will give you peace of mind — or confirm your worst hunches about the effectiveness of your marketing spend. Utilizing checks and balances well is one of the most effective ways for your business to establish a solid marketing foundation for the new year. Sure, it’s doing some homework, but what you discover could change what you thought your plans were going to be.