There’s no doubting the impact COVID-19 has had on our lives. As well as affecting us personally, the crisis has left many companies reeling.
If you’re a business owner, it’s likely you’ve had to take a revised look at your marketing plans and the way you communicate with your customers.
And if you want to optimize your opportunities during this time of upheaval, auditing and improving your marketing strategies is an excellent way to approach it.
Any marketer who’s attempted an audit knows it’s a challenge. But you can make it as painless as possible by taking things step-by-step.
In this article, we’ll talk you through how to refine your marketing campaigns by identifying the aspects of your workflows that aren’t serving you well.
What is a Marketing Audit?
An audit allows you to take a detailed analysis of your marketing. A comprehensive audit will cover all areas of your promotional efforts and considers your goals, principles, and strategies. Typically, an audit will look at your internal and external promotional efforts and examine all your marketing properties, such as your website content, blogs, and email response rates.
Running regular audits is a critical aspect of monitoring your business reputation, and they will also enable you to create a more logical marketing strategy based on where your company is now.
In addition, once a successful audit is complete, you can ensure consistent messaging (and that your communications reach the right people), discover potential customers/markets, and fine tune your current marketing plan to adjust it.
There are additionally several occasions when you may deem a marketing audit necessary, such as:
- when you want to keep up with – or get ahead – of your rivals
- during times of slowdown or rapid growth
- before or after a major change in your company (for instance, a new website design or a senior staff member leaving or joining the team)
However, another time to conduct a marketing audit is in a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic. During an emergency, the way consumers want to receive content often changes. An example of this is the upsurge in email marketing in recent months, which some have described as the new normal during the ongoing pandemic.
Your first step in the audit should be to review your starting place.
Review Where You Stand Now
Regardless of what your outreach marketing plan looked like before, take a second glance at it because chances are it could be improved. Furthermore, because of the current situation your customers or clients may not be in a buying mindset now. Many of them will be just like you: readjusting their lifestyles and spending habits to better suit the current situation. For this reason, it’s a good idea to begin by objectively assessing your content. You should evaluate all your marketing channels.
However, there is a specific reason you’d want to concentrate on your emails: email interactivity is increasing as the emphasis on customer/brand relationships shift into greater focus. Specifically, consider the tone you use, language and images.
Although your imagery is important, it’s your tone and language that deserves special attention. For instance, research shows how many companies are using a more empathetic approach and using their brand voice to reach out to customers.
During these uncertain times, marketers are also choosing to use a more human approach in their tone and language. This means adopting a friendlier, more personalized voice when marketing to your current and potential customers.
Additionally, to encourage email opens and avoid the spam filters, more firms are adjusting their keyword strategies. Keywords like ‘COVID’, ‘coronavirus’, ‘community’ and ‘safe’ are in common use as consumers want to
- learn more about the virus
- keep informed on what companies are doing to adapt during the crisis
- and seek reassurance
Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Content Audit
Once you’ve examined the fundamentals of your content, you’re ready to delve deeper. Although a marketing audit may sound like a daunting prospect, it’s much easier when you break it down into five simple steps.
Build an Inventory
As part of your inventory, list your current marketing methods, including any offline promotions. Begin with the content you host such as blogs, your website, video marketing, etc. Then list your other promotional campaigns like your newsletters, emails, and social media.
Ensure your content is in line with your goals
Many companies will find that their marketing plans will need to be adapted to smaller budgets because of the COVID-19 crisis. While the average business spends between 7-12% of their revenue on marketing, many have been forced to cut costs even further because of decreased profit during the pandemic.
During this phase, ask yourself what your business aims are and if your current strategy will enable you to achieve them.
Analyze your data
See what your data is telling you. For instance, among other things, You can also use cloud-based accounting services to help keep track of your financial data as well, such as in regards to your marketing expenditures, revenue collected from customers and clients, and your business’s overall financial health. The best tools allow you to segment your data and create customizable dashboards and receipt uploads.
Additionally, your email marketing data will show you trends in click-through rates, open rates, and which subject lines get the best responses.
Do this for each marketing channel. When you’ve finished, work out your Return on Investment (ROI). However, don’t just think of your ROI in terms of sales. Gauge other aspects like social media shares, newsletter subscriptions, etc. You can thenuse this data to fuel your creativity and develop new marketing initiatives.
Are you reaching your goals?
Now ask yourself are your marketing efforts delivering results? For many, this will be the most troublesome part of the audit. However, once it’s completed, you’ll have a better idea of what is working and what isn’t.
Optimize your campaign
Armed with your fresh knowledge, you can make the necessary adjustments to boost your ROI and get the most from your advertising budget. Your audit can also help you decide on:
- a new email strategy
- developing future email campaigns
- boosting or reducing your social media presence
- future content creation
Other Elements to Consider
The above section describes a basic marketing audit, but there may be some further goals you wish to achieve. For instance, you might want to determine the customers you’d like to attract, which competitors you’d like to emulate, and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Although KPIs will vary depending on the sector you’re in, there are some KPIs that every email marketer would be wise to measure. These include your:
- Sales revenue
- Landing page conversion rates
- Cost per lead
- Organic and mobile traffic
- Conversion ratio
Knowing these crucial KPIs will give you a better idea of your advertising ROI. Unfortunately not nearly enough marketers do this. Did you know that nearly half of small and medium businesses don’t even measure their KPIs?
This is a major missed opportunity for those businesses to say the least, because if businesses actually do measure their KPIs to determine their ROI, there is a 72% chance that they have an effective marketing strategy.
Review Your Technical Elements
You’ve scrutinized your data, but what about the technical side? This can affect your marketing efforts just as much as your content. Components that can hinder your campaigns include, slow website loading times, duplicate articles, and not including keywords in your meta descriptions
Take some time to check if there are some technical aspects that might be holding your marketing back, and address them.
With many businesses forced to reconsider their direction andimprove their online setupsduring the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a great time to undertake a marketing audit.
A detailed marketing audit will enable you to get a clear understanding of how your promotional efforts stand now and whether they’re helping your business to move closer to your goals. And it’s many other benefits, too.
Marketing audits allow you to uncover essential records, which will paint a clear picture of the trends emerging in your business during the pandemic and beyond. Further, they will enable you to optimize your ROI and SEO, improve your organic search results, and cut unnecessary costs.