In this Surge Session, we talk about full marketing strategy audits. We discuss how to perform a full marketing audit for your website including the components of your marketing strategy you should be looking at and how to improve productivity from your efforts. Our CEO Duran Inci is joined by our Director of Marketing, Joseph Hassun.
When most small businesses, and most online businesses, think about an audit, they think about a technical audit, as in an SEO audit or a specific website audit.
But in the past few months, we have seen some misinformation regarding how a full marketing audit should be done. First of all, if you are paying for a technical audit, where you’re just getting a full report of what pages are wrong, what’s happening on your pages, and which pages have 301 redirects and which ones have 404s, do not bother; any tool nowadays can give you that for free.
However, you should be paying for an audit where the right partner or the right company analyzes your entire business structure.
So why would a consultant like Optimum7 actually go in and try to understand your business? The reason being that everything, when it comes to marketing, in this day and age, is integrated.
You don’t have the luxury to do marketing without knowing technology, without knowing the sales cycle, without knowing the products or the services that the company offers.
We were discussing this issue and what we find out is that a lot of these SEO audits are useless. The reason that they’re useless is that somebody is charging you to send you a report of issues that are easy to fix, that you could have detected yourself using a free tool. You should not be paying for this. There are tools that do this for you in 10 to 15 minutes.
Now, if you have tens of thousands of pages, and if you have a big website, then that’s okay. But what we are saying is it should be coupled with your conversions, your calls to action. Are you doing email marketing? Are you doing follow up drip-marketing campaigns? If you’re an eCommerce company, are you tracking your phone calls? And what are your gross profit margins like? These are all questions you need answers to.
We can not do marketing anymore without knowing the details about your sales cycle, without knowing the details about your technology, without knowing the details about how your operational team is handling these specific leads or the new business we generate for you. We call this integrated marketing in today’s world.
Why is it important to analyze the entire business and understand exactly what their audience is, what they need to do if they’re competitive in the market? What’s the value in that? It allows us to provide the most value. Without that information, without that knowledge, we’re operating in the dark.
We’re only looking at the surface. We really need to be able to dig into the company, know their customer profile, their brand, their products, their profit margins.
If we’re doing any type of advertising for a client, we need to know that we’re actually going to generate a profit or if they’re generating a profit when they’re advertising, as well as their customer lifetime value. Without any of that information, we can’t really move forward effectively.
Optimum7 is a marketing company. We’re a technology company. We only have clients as long as we make money for the clients and if we don’t make money for the clients then we don’t have clients. So, this puts us in a difficult place.
In the past five years, to remain effective and competitive, we have had to merge marketing with technology. We’ve had to build a development team in order to provide the kind of value that we know will create results for customers, and that has been a big challenge for us.
What we have seen is that the clients who get a thorough level of consultation and who will actually listen and follow the strategy that we created, are incredibly successful.
So, what we’re saying is if you are not heavy on marketing, if most of what you do is word of mouth and you’re looking into marketing, you have to find a trustworthy consultant and you have to work with a company that actually understands your entire operation.
When it comes to understanding a client’s operation, the first step we take here at Optimum7 is we send these potential clients a questionnaire that they need to fill out.
Once they send that back to us, then we can go ahead and hop on a kickoff call to discuss each and every line item one by one to truly make sure that we fully understand every single aspect of their operation.
In the kickoff call, we go over a lot of different elements: your brand guidelines, your products, your services, your competitors, your value proposition, your points of differentiation, your revenue, etc.
Optimum7 has over 20 services. We have a few services that we crush it on and then there are some services we don’t really make money on. So, what you do is you have to prioritize based on what your income is like, and what your intermediate and long term objectives are.
When it comes to SEO audits, they have zero value if the consultant does not understand your business model, your audience, your products and services, your profitability. It has zero value.
What we started doing is we started looking at it from a brand standpoint. If you’re an industrial business, what are we going to do with you on social media? You do B2B, right? So, your social media execution should be limited to LinkedIn, maybe a little bit of Facebook if you have an audience there, but other than that, why do you need to be on Twitter? Unless you have a fully dedicated team that can handle Twitter, you don’t need to be on Twitter.
Prioritize in terms of what the objectives of your business are. That’s very important.
When we look at these technical SEO audits, a lot of them do not provide guidance, they don’t provide advice. They’re not guiding you and showing you what you should prioritize and what you shouldn’t based off of all of this technical data. There are a lot of things that these audits don’t provide you with. They don’t guide you step by step whatsoever.
Audits, and therefore the solutions for the issues they detect, are not generic, they are different on a per client basis. If you’re getting over 50,000 visitors monthly to your website, then I’m not going to give you a hard time about very basic structural issues. But if you are an eCommerce business and you don’t have your snippets, you don’t have the star showing up on search results, then that’s your priority.
A lot of these audits don’t actually prioritize based on the business’ objectives, which is very important, or it’s very important that a consultant that you’re working with actually understands your business, regardless of it being eCommerce or B2B.
If you are speaking to a marketing company and they don’t ask you what your products are, how much you sell them for, what your profit margins are, what your delivery is like, what your sales cycle is, how long it takes you to close a lead, what your conversion rate is, what are your best selling products… then you are working with the wrong consultant.
We are aware that there’s a lot of information here. There are a lot of different aspects of a business, providing just one report makes it hard to follow and it’s not enough.
What we like to do, instead of providing a report of the audit, is we actually do a screencast. So it’s visual, we talk through the report and record it so that the client is able to much more easily understand the information and is also able to go back to it if needed. It’s a bit more engaging and allows them to retain a lot more of the information that we go through.
Screencast video audits allow clients to review everything, and then allows them to actually see the most essential points. We also couple that with an action plan, which we structure in a manner that makes sense to your own business.
Marketing gets a bad rep all the time. The reason that marketing gets a bad reputation is most people that say they do marketing don’t understand technology. They don’t spend enough time to understand the business objectives of the entire business. But more importantly, you, the client, are cheap and you are not spending enough money on your marketing execution.
If your marketing is not working, you are either working with the wrong consultant or you are paying too little, or both. Because marketing is difficult. We have to know all the details of this as consultants. We have to know the technology, all the social media platforms, your brand message, your profits, your entire operation, and we have to know where you are choking.
The number of companies who are able to do this successfully are slim. You have to choose the right partner to do marketing successfully.
If you get generic audit requests, if you get somebody who is saying they’re going to do an audit for you for a few thousand dollars, don’t do it. If it’s a technical one, if they don’t understand your business, don’t do it.
It takes five minutes of a conversation with a consultant or a marketing company to know if they really know what they’re talking about.
Furthermore, if the price is too good to be true, if somebody is saying they can do marketing for you for $500 a month, don’t do it. You’re just throwing money away.
With all that being said, don’t take risks on your company’s future. Invest in technology. Invest in marketing. If you don’t know what you have to do, find a good partner that knows what he or she is talking about.
Don’t be cheap with your marketing and with the future of your company.
Below is an example of a screencast video marketing audit created by Duran.
Have any questions regarding marketing audits or any topic we have previously covered? Need help performing your own marketing audit?
Contact us. We’re here to help.