Sometimes, we get so busy working IN our business that we forget to work ON our business. When that happens, it helps to step back and take an objective look at what’s going on around you. And one of those areas of your business that most often needs a fresh set of eyes is marketing. If that describes you, here are some ideas for conducting your own marketing audit and getting back on track.
- Get a group of outsiders – neighbors, friends, business associates, clients (best of all) – to take an overall look at your “presence.” This includes your logo, colors, fonts, your marketing materials, website and everything else. Is your look fresh and current or old and outdated? If it’s been more than 10 years (maybe even 5!) since you last refreshed your image… it’s time to take a look. Note: no logos are timeless.
- Now, line up all your marketing materials together – ads, biz cards, collateral, proposals, website, trade show booth, etc. Do they all look and feel the same? Do they look like they came from the same company? Or is there a certain ‘randomness’ to them which does not support your brand? What you’re looking for here is that they are all current and consistent.
- And while you’ve got the outsiders gathered, ask them to surf your website and give you their feedback. Is it easy to navigate and find what they need? Is your contact information on every page? Does it look cheap… or did you invest a little in making a good appearance? Nothing will harm the perception of your firm more than a lousy website.
- Is there just one idea per ad? Is the headline a ‘benefit’ and not the name of your company or a product? Is there a call to action? Do you list contact information?
- Use fewer words… ‘nuf said.
- Take a look at your competitors’ ads? Do your ads look like all the rest – or do you stand out a little?
- Look at your writing (website, collateral pieces, ads, articles, etc.). Make sure the message is focused on the benefits of using your company and your services and not just selling.
- Are you consistent with your email? Is the content promotional and focused internally (not good) or filled with usable information and problem-solving ideas? Are you measuring and testing? Is there an easy way to opt out?
- Are you using social to just promote your firm or are you trying to engage clients with good information and ideas? Do your social sites connect to your website – and vice versa?
- Look at the date of your latest blog post or tweet… are you consistent and frequent? If you’re going to do it – do it right. Create an editorial calendar and stick to it!
- Are you measuring your marketing? If not, how do you know if it’s working?!
- When all else fails, ask everyone you speak with, “How’d you hear about us?” then track the results.
- Are you doing simple A/B testing of emails, ads, etc? It’s an easy way to get better at marketing every day.
- If it’s not in place yet, set your business up on Google Analytics today to measure activities related to your website!
- Is ‘content marketing’ part of your plan? Are you providing beneficial content for your clients and prospective clients as a way to build credibility and differentiate your firm? Are you mixing up the delivery vehicles – articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, eBooks, webinars, etc.?
- If your content is at all “salesy” – erase it and start over.
- Lead generation: are your marketing tactics generating new leads (online, via email or over the phone)? Are you immediately capturing the lead information and putting it into a CRM system (yes, you need one!)?
- Lead nurturing: once in your CRM, what are you doing to stay in touch with these leads on a regular basis? To qualify them and start to build relationships? This is where regular emails and phone calls can be very beneficial.
- Database: In addition to your new leads, what are you doing to re-ignite the old, cold leads that have been sitting in your database for (gulp!) years? Much of that old data will be no good – when you find bad data, get it out of the system.
- Do you have a marketing plan in place? Is it based on strategy? At the very least, do you have a calendar of events that you can stick to?
- Can you articulate HOW you are different than your competitors (“We do good work. / We have great people. / We really take care of our clients.” does not count – everybody says that!)? Once you can articulate a difference, it should become the centerpiece of your marketing message.
Every so often, take the time to step back and really take a look at your marketing. By keeping it current and paying attention to the little things, you’ll give your firm a competitive advantage that most won’t be able to match.
Question: What would you add to the Marketing Audit Checklist?