As entrepreneurs, we're facing unprecedented uncertainty and challenges. The good news? We don't have to go it alone. Now more than ever, togetherness and collaboration are essential. Amber Gray, Founder, and CEO of Trusty Oak is collaborating with Stephanie Loayza, Founder of Exec Wranglers for The Better Together Series: Virtual Coffee Chats for Entrepreneurs.
Candice DeRiso, Founder of Beckmann Collaborative, discussed marketing content in today's business world. Candice brings over 14 years in marketing and business development in the performing arts, high-tech, and small businesses. She calls herself a “wannabe engineer who loves data.”
4 Steps to Conduct a Marketing Audit
A marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic, and periodic examination of a company's marketing.
As soon as you start going through, very honestly, what your content marketing looks like, you will see patterns and have these epiphany moments. These moments show you where you have been successful, and other times where you have epically failed.
What I've learned is that if you go back and truly evaluate all the little pieces, you're going to have the moment where you say, “oh that's why this failed.” For example: Sending an email to the wrong list, and forgetting to segment it. There's a plethora of possibilities.
A marketing audit is really just the evaluation of what you've been doing, and there are a lot of ways to go about it. I always recommend taking a fairly strategic approach and follow four simple steps.
1. Start With a Strategy
Create an outline, a plan of what wanted to do with your marketing, and then go through it, and ask if you actually follow through? Did you follow through on what you said you were going to do or did you make up a different idea and go a totally different route? This can sometimes happen and it is always good to be aware of what direction you are going.
2. Evaluate Your Systems
Often you realize your failure is a result of misuse of technology or not using your technology to its full potential. An example of this is creating a campaign for inactive leads to nurture them back into active clients. While in the process you see that you are missing important information. Instead of going back and auditing the entire campaign, I suggest an agile approach (evaluating and auditing after every task you do). Consider an agile workflow to be a real-time marketing audit - send the email, evaluate, make updates, send a new one, and evaluate again.
3. Identify the Opportunities and Weaknesses
Once you’ve established where you failed or potentially could improve your marketing, you’re ready to identify opportunities based on that information. Are there missed opportunities? You may also see where you went wrong: such as using technology incorrectly, not segmenting your lists, or a whole host of other issues, and you can start identifying the opportunities to improve.
4. Understand Your Results and Apply the Changes
Finally, want to analyze your data and apply changes to your marketing based on all of the data you’ve collected. This is where you can start over again and re-evaluate your marketing content and campaigns based on the changes you’ve made.
Again I'm talking about taking an agile approach. Now, if you were to just go back and say, "I want to audit my marketing for the year," you could still follow the four steps. The difference is you'll be looking at a bigger data set. The only thing I would forewarn you about is that it could be overwhelming and scare you away from doing any audit at all.
Here are a few ways to break your audit down into smaller pieces to make it more doable:
- Evaluating one channel (Facebook, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn) at a time.
- By quarter (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4)
- By campaigns
Establishing Goals and KPIs
One of the big takeaways I've learned in doing audits for other people is to establish goals and KPIs. It is so funny how often people don't set any goal or KPI, they just put marketing content out there with nothing to measure against. And that's not the worst thing in the world, if you've never done any kind of marketing before, you don't have any expectations. What an audit allows you to do is better plan for the next round. Now, let’s get into how we analyze data.
Analyzing Social Media Data
Let’s talk about social media data because it is the easiest to analyze. The first question to ask yourself is what is your content creation process? Are you using any kind of content or or project management software for managing your content creation process? Evaluate that first.
Questions to ask about your process and social content.
- Were you behind on deadlines?
- Did things fall through the cracks?
- Who is your audience?
- Was this the right target audience for this campaign?
And now we get into the data.
- What was your total reach for that entire time period?
- What was your total reach for that per post?
- Which post had the highest reach?
- What hashtags were you using and what is the reach of those individual hashtags (if hashtags apply)?
- How frequently were you posting?
Here is a fun fact: Facebook's algorithm recently changed. Facebook only wants you posting once a day on your business page. If you post more than once per day, it can actually hurt your business page’s reach. You're actually better off posting once per day and telling your team to reshare because the platform wants individuals interacting.
Adding Multipliers to Your Engagement
If you're anything like me, I usually add multipliers to my engagement. A like is very different from a comment, from a share. A like to me is valued at one point because that could be passive, people don't think about it. A share, that's a little bit more than a comment so I'll give that two points. A comment takes more effort. That's definitely worth three points to me. If you're on Twitter or Facebook, a share with a comment, that's four points. I use those point values to calculate a better engagement rate, a more realistic one, instead of treating them all as equal because we all know it's not equal.
Now that you’ve decided to evaluate your marketing and pull together a bunch of data, how are you going to understand it? Visualization of data helps significantly.
If you are not using a tool for data visualization, I would highly recommend Google Data Studio. You can actually pull in your Google Analytics data from the website, but also social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also pull in a good old-fashioned Google spreadsheet from there. It’s not hard to make your data visual with free or inexpensive tools like Google Data Studio.
How to Get Started With a CRM
On the other hand, a CRM is a great way to visualize data and pull in even more information. My first CRM was Microsoft Excel. What I quickly learned, especially when I first started out was, the importance of remembering the personal things about a client and taking notes. You’re really looking for patterns in the data, so whether you are using an Excel spreadsheet, a CRM, or even a notebook, you just need to start storing the information and collecting that data to analyze for patterns.
This can help you compare the results of your marketing campaigns with other information from your contacts. For instance, did a contact engage with an email you sent out? You may also notice they have a note in their file about industry pain points. Combining this data could help you target them more effectively.
With all the tips described above, it’s easy to see why a marketing audit is important for businesses of all sizes. Marketing audits can help improve, grow, and streamline your business. You don’t have to do it all at once: auditing can be approachable and easy if you start small.