Have you evaluated your online marketing lately? Is your website helping or hurting your business? Are you managing your social media so that content is up-to-date?
Are you getting a decent return on your digital advertising investment?
The more often you review your online marketing results, the better. If you have not done a digital marketing audit for a while, here are some suggestions to get started. We’re breaking this into four elements:
- Website and search optimization
- Social media
- Digital advertising
Top Priority: Your Website
Your small business website is the central, most critical piece of your online marketing. The other three elements support it by sending visitors to the site. If your site isn’t ready for visitors, you’ll lose opportunities to win new customers.
Here are some website factors to look at:
- How fast does your site load? Google considers this “page speed” when ranking sites for search. You can check load time with a Google page speed tool. After the test is complete, the tool lists things you can do to improve speed.
- What does your site look like on a mobile device? This is another Google ranking factor, and you can use a Google tool to test it. If your site is not set up to automatically change its appearance on a mobile device, Google may not show it on a mobile search.
- Does your site look up-to-date? Believe it or not, some businesses still rely on websites that were built 15 years ago. If your site is that old or looks that old, consider an update. You don’t need to spend much money to have a nice-looking, easy-to-use site. Platforms like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace offer tools and website hosting for monthly fees. Their functionality is limited, however, and you could easily outgrow those platforms. A better option is building a site with the WordPress content management system. The software is free. You just need to purchase a domain name (yourcompany.com, for example) and a web hosting plan. GoDaddy can provide both.
- When did you last refresh your website content? If you can’t build a new site, consider revising or adding pages that contain content that could improve your search optimization. Add information about new products and services. If you’ve made adjustments because of Covid-19, add that information to your site.
- If you expect web visitors to take action — make a purchase, sign up for an email newsletter, make an appointment or download a white paper — you need to include calls to action that tell them what to do.
A Social Media Audit
Every business and organization should have a Facebook page, unless you’re the CIA. (Wait, even the CIA is on Facebook.) If you don’t have a Facebook business page or some other social media presence, you’ve lost an opportunity to engage and delight customers.
On the plus side, if you start now and stick with it, you can catch up. That’s because many, many businesses have let their social media accounts go to seed, filling the platforms with accounts that haven’t been updated since three weeks after they were first created. Good intentions, it seems, pave the road to social media purgatory.
Here are some things to consider in your social media audit:
- Look at each of your accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.), and review your activity for the last month. If posts are infrequent or inconsistent, take one of two actions. Resolve to post more often and more consistently, or abandon the page and remove any existing website links to it.
- Review the engagement with your posts. Are people liking them, commenting on them, sharing them? If yes, great! You’re doing something right. If not, your content needs to be more inspiring.
- Speaking of content, do your posts only promote your business or do you include links to other content that educates or entertains your followers? Posts about your sales, your skills or what you offer should be limited to about 20 percent of all your content.
- Are you using images with every post? People are more likely to read your information if there’s an interesting photo or graphic with it.
Evaluate Your Digital Advertising
Are you buying online ads, such as banner (display) ads, search ads, or social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.? Do you know which ads are working and which aren’t?
Here are some things to check:
- As with social media posts, your ad content should be refreshed and updated periodically. Businesses often create an ad on Facebook, for example, and just let it run without ever changing it. As time goes on, the ads are less effective because folks get tired of looking at it.
- Where do viewers end up when they click your ad? If you’re sending people to your website home page, you are missing opportunities. Ad campaigns should have specific landing pages that provide exactly the information people expect to find when they click.
- Check the targeting. Are your ads appearing to the appropriate audience? Targeting options vary depending on the platform, but you should make sure your targeting is not aimed at too many people or too few.
- Look at the numbers — clicks, cost per click, impressions, click-through rate, ad position, for example — and compare them, either with the numbers for previous months or with available industry benchmarks.
Build an Email List and Use It
How’s your email list? If all the social media platforms and search engines disappeared tomorrow, would you still be able to communicate with customers and prospects? Not if you don’t have their email addresses.
If you’ve overlooked email marketing, it’s time to get started. It can be as simple as asking customers for email addresses when they visit your store. You can also ask website visitors to sign up for email newsletters and announcements.
Some things to look at:
- Are you delivering what you promised to subscribers, whether a regular newsletter or occasional promotions? They’ll be disappointed if you’re inconsistent.
- Is your list in a spreadsheet, on a sheet of paper or in an email delivery system like Mailchimp or Constant Contact? The only way you’ll be able to track performance is with an email delivery system. They’ll also help you avoid spam blockers.
- Look at the numbers, and again, compare them to past performance. How many people are opening your emails? How many go undelivered? Are people clicking on the links in your email?
- Review the subject lines on your emails. Will they inspire someone to open them? Would they inspire you to open them? If not, try to write punchier but still informative subject lines.
An Audit Is Just the Beginning
The suggestions in this article just scratch the surface of questions to ask about your digital marketing performance, but they are enough to get started. A digital marketing audit like this is just the beginning. It will be a waste of time if you don’t take some action as a result, and time usually is in short supply at a small business.
It’s OK to tackle one element at a time and make necessary changes as you go along. Or, do a complete review and then schedule changes as you’re able to accomplish them. Tuning up your online marketing will pay dividends in happy customers, interested prospects and more revenue for your business.