Marketing Audit and Why Do You Need One

What Is a Marketing Audit – and Why Do You Need One?

You’ve heard the term “marketing audit” float around before, but what is it? And do you really need one, or is it just another unnecessary paid service?

Well, let’s start by explaining the concept of a marketing audit.

Professional marketing audits involve a comprehensive analysis of your brand’s marketing environment, both within the company and outside. Experts thoroughly examine your goals and strategies to figure out where you’re succeeding, where you could do better, and where your best opportunities lie.

Do you really need one? The resounding answer from any marketing guru is yes.

Audits give you the opportunity to adjust your marketing course, and therefore draw in more revenue and consumer attention.

In recent years, a whopping 89 percent of marketers ranked “improving the ability to measure and analyze their marketing impact” as a top priority. The best way to do that? Conduct a high-level audit – or have a professional do it for you.

One marketing audit every once in a blue moon isn’t going to cut it, though. Let’s take a deeper dive into the ins and outs of professional marketing audits to understand why. We’ll talk about how they continuously help your brand improve and grow.

If we’ve done our job right, by the end of this post, you’ll be scheduling your next audit for the benefit of your marketing efforts – and overall business.

A. Understanding the Importance of Marketing Audits

Before we go any deeper, we want to talk a little bit more about the sheer necessity of strong audits.

Over the course of months and years, your marketing campaigns change – whether you intend for them to or not. Conducting an audit draws you back to your central course of action so you can readjust campaigns accordingly. Without an audit, you’ll struggle to stick to your measurable goals – and you might not even realize when you’ve lost sight of your main objectives.

If you don’t already have goals in place, a marketing audit will force you to set some. We know it’s easy to get lost in the big picture of your overall business dreams. However, it’s essential that you outline your specific marketing goals so that you understand exactly how they play into this bigger picture.

During a marketing audit, you won’t just look at your goals. You’ll also weed out unsuccessful tactics, gather powerful information, and learn to make better judgment calls in the future.

Here at Curve Communications, we begin each of our marketing audits with a three to four-hour discovery session. This gives us the opportunity to reveal just how influential an audit can be. We’ll get to know the nitty-gritty details of your brand, then proceed with a targeted plan for marketing analysis and adjustment.

B.Explore Your Promotional Environment

One of the biggest benefits of a marketing audit is its focus on your promotional environment. Your marketing “environment” is the field in which your advertising (inbound and outbound) efforts play. It includes your target demographics, local economics, politics, social changes, and so much more.

If you want your marketing efforts to strike hard, you need to understand the field you and your competitors are facing. Up to 61 percent of marketers state that their top challenge is generating traffic and leads. The more you understand your landscape via an audit, the easier it will be to enact marketing that works.

C. Get an Outsider’s Point of View

Wondering if a self-audit would suffice? In some cases, maybe, but there’s an enormous benefit to gaining an objective point of view on your marketing tactics.

An effective auditor should have:

An auditor within your company will likely struggle to stay entirely objective. They’ll understand the reasons and first-hand efforts behind your current marketing strategies, which will make it difficult for them to detach themselves and really find your weaknesses.

If you want to learn from an audit, we suggest hiring an agency that specializes in the process. They’ll be more prepared (and experienced) for rooting out your problems while identifying your strengths.

D. Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Organization

A marketing audit doesn’t just look at your overall results. It forces you to examine your company’s current structure, advertising policies, and management style.

Your marketing success starts from within. If there is a weakness in your marketing team’s organization, then your outward efforts won’t reap the rewards you’re seeking. A professional audit will help you gain insight into your core system.

During an audit, you’ll learn how to:

Think about it this way: if you’re trying to sell a house, you don’t just fix up its curbside appeal but leave the inside messy and outdated. A great marketing audit will help you clean inside and out, improving the value of the entire system.

E. Different Kinds of Marketing Audits

One last thing: we need to talk about the different types of marketing audits out there. It’s important to understand how these each help your business and how each kind will serve your efforts.

1. Macro Environment Audits

The word “macro” means “large-scale.” Therefore, a macro environment audit takes a look at all of the big-picture and external factors that influence your marketing. These include (but are not limited to):

Analyzing these big-picture concepts ensures that your marketing messages aren’t tone-deaf, offensive, or off-putting. To advertise to the fish, you need to take a swim in the surrounding ocean and understand the current layout – and a macro environment audit helps you do that.

2. Micro Environment Audits

Micro refers to “small-scale” concepts, so a micro-environment audit takes a look at internal factors impacting your marketing success. These include:

As we said before, a marketing team that’s inefficient will struggle to craft an effective marketing strategy. It’s just as important to analyze what’s within as what’s outside.

3. Strategy Audits

Finally, a “marketing strategy” audit focuses on the totality of your current visions and goals. Professional auditors will help you understand if your current marketing process aligns with what your business truly wants/needs. If it doesn’t, the audit will point out where you can better match your strategy to your goals.

Only about 58 percent of marketers say they “often” succeed in achieving their marketing goals. Increase your chances of doing so by understanding where your strategy is compatible/incompatible with your objectives.

F. The General Audit Process

Now that we’ve given you an overview of marketing audits, let us explain how the process typically works. Keep in mind, the process looks a little different for each company. These are the general steps you can expect. 

Step 1: Pick Your Auditor

As we said before, you could conduct a self-audit. However, outside audits are generally considered more reliable due to their specificity and objectivity. If you really want to know where your problems lie, you need an outsider to point them out.

As you choose your auditor/marketing consultant, question their experience. Do they have the skills needed to provide excellent recommendations? How many audits have they conducted before?

Step 2: Set a Date

After you’ve found your auditor, talk about your timeline. When do you want your marketing audit to start? Are you planning one audit now, or are you scheduling multiple for the year to come?

Our professional recommendation is to make plans for regular audits – not just one big check-up. This ensures that you’re frequently adjusting your plans for the best results. It doesn’t matter how great your marketing team is – things change, and your marketing strategy needs to change with them.

Step 3: Determine Your Goals

Next, think about why you’re conducting an audit. What do you want to learn? What will you examine? What improvements do you hope to make?

It doesn’t matter if you’re conducting a self-audit or hiring a company to do it. Clarifying your objectives early on will ensure you’re following the right audit process.

Step 4: Make a Plan

Even if you’re working with a talented team, it’s a good idea to go over your audit plan before you start. Work together to identify your:

Step 5: Gather Your Data

Finally, it’s time for the big job: gathering the data. This is what you hire an outsider to do, efficiently and objectively. It’s a tedious, but crucial, aspect of any audit.

A professional auditor will gather data by reviewing your:

To gather some of this data, the auditor will need to ask questions from your employees and other team members. Information is often gathered via surveys, questionnaires, or even interviews.

Once all of the important data has been gathered, the auditor will prepare it for analysis.

Step 6: Analyze That Data

Although gathering data might be the hard part, analyzing data is the crucial part of any audit. This is the step in which you learn what you’re doing right, as well as what you could do better.

Using their own tried-and-true methods, an external auditor will analyze for:

Step 7: Study the Environment

Before providing recommendations based on the data collected, the auditor will also study the environment in which your team is marketing. As we discussed before, your “promotional environment” includes political, economic, and social factors that could influence your marketing capabilities.

Step 8: Recommendations

Finally, your auditor will deliver their findings, as well as their recommendations for a more successful marketing future. This is your chance to learn from the audit. Understand what your priorities should be and how you can address weak points within your strategy and team. 

G. After the Audit

The marketing team’s work doesn’t stop after the recommendations have been delivered. You’ll likely want to bring the rest of the company into the loop by sharing the audit’s results. Find company-wide strategies for boosting marketing efficacy and bringing in more sales. 

Conclusion

Marketing breathes life into your business. It’s the element that keeps customers coming and your business on track. When your marketing is unhealthy, so is the rest of your brand – which is why a regular audit is so incredibly essential. Think of it as your business’s annual – or bi-annual – checkup.

At Curve Communications, we provide full-fledged discovery sessions and marketing audits to help you grow your business. We’ll take care of the heavy lifting – like analyzing your inbound and outbound marketing efforts, as well as campaign conception and planning evaluation.

Let’s find out where your marketing strengths and weaknesses lie. Call 604-245-7213 or reach out online to begin your Curve discovery process today.

How to Generate More Leads for Your Local Business

How to Generate More Leads for Your Local Business

Struggling to pull in nearby prospects? Local lead generation is an art – and one that requires plenty of practice. We’ve got some tips and tricks up our sleeves that will help you quickly generate more leads for your local business.

Effective, localized digital marketing gets your brand in touch with the right people. These tactics will help you push your products and services into the local market, as well as establish a strong presence in your area.

Without further ado, here are six excellent local lead generation strategies to employ.

1. Local SEO

We’ll start with the most obvious tactic: improving your SEO to better reach locals.

“Local SEO” involves optimizing your online presence to gain traction within your community. Your goal is to appear on Google and other search engines in localized searches, and proper SEO strategies can help you do that.

We could spend the rest of this article talking about local SEO tactics, but for the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed down the basics you need to focus on for local lead generation.

A. Keyword Research

First things first: you’ve got to use the right words, and that starts with keyword research.

Don’t fret – your primary keywords are actually quite easy to discover. Just think about what people would search on Google to find a business like yours. Say you’re a hairdresser.  You know people will search with phrases like:

Take these phrases and you’ve got some strong local keywords, to begin with. Then, you can find more keywords to use by looking at Google’s “suggested” searches – or a keyword research tool of your choice. We recommend Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest – it’s free.

What similar terms or phrases are searchers using to find businesses in your industry?

B. Google Maps

Secondly, and arguably most importantly, you’ll need to ensure your business is popping up on Google Maps. No one is going to visit your in-person store or understand how close you are if your location is inaccurate.

You’ve likely already noticed how local searches work on Google Maps, just in your own time. You want your business to appear right next to all of your local competitors – with the right information listed.

Roughly 46 percent of Google searches are for local businesses. Don’t miss out on these motivated searchers because your address is listed incorrectly or you don’t appear on the map.

C. GMB Listing

Speaking of having the right information listed, it’s essential that you create a free Google My Business listing. Local lead generation is only possible when people can find your basic information, such as:

Image Source: Google Support

Additionally, creating a GMB account ensures that you’re more likely to wind up in the top three results on any Google search. This significantly increases your odds of drawing in local customers on a regular basis. At the same time, you’ll benefit from Google updates and opportunities, including its newest addition, “call history.”

In the United States, select businesses can opt-in for this new feature and use call-forwarding to better track their potential leads. Users will be able to see a full list of who has used Google to call them, when the calls came in, and what their numbers were.

2. Google’s Local Service Ads

Next, we’ll talk about a more targeted approach to local lead generation.

Image Source: Google Ads

Local service ads aren’t just paid ads. They’re an indication that Google trusts your business. Searchers notice that green checkmark beside the ad, indicating the “Google Guarantee.” You need your local searchers to trust your brand, and a thumbs up from Google is a good way to start.

Additionally, local service ads allow you to include past customers’ ratings and reviews. This is another way to impress customers and earn their trust, just with a simple ad.

Another benefit is that local service ads on Google can be optimized for voice search. Considering that 20 percent of all searches are now voice-based, this is a huge incentive.

3. Localized Content

Third on our list of local lead generation strategies is local content production. Ads and SEO are important, but you also need a big magnet that will really attract tons of users directly to your website.

We’re talking about creating a piece of content (or multiple pieces) that directly relate to your area and product/service. For example, this Texas Charter Bus Company created an excellent magnet piece about planning the ultimate road trip in their state.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few prompts that will give you some magnet piece ideas.

Remember: These don’t just have to be blog posts. You can also create lead magnet local pieces in the form of emails, webinars, eBooks, and more. The format of these lead magnets is entirely up to you; they could be webinars, email-gated videos, or simply .pdf eBooks.

4. Localized Ads

We already talked about using Google Local Service ads for local lead generation, but now we need to cover localized ads that aren’t necessarily done through search engines.

You’ve heard the term “location, location, location” used in real estate pitches, but the same goes for winning customers as a local business. You need to reach people at just the right time to snag their interest. That’s where “geo-marketing” advertising comes into play.

Image Source: App Samurai

How much more likely are you to purchase a coffee at Starbucks when you receive a notification like that? If you’re like most consumers, you’ll head directly to the shop on your way to your final destination.

This is a prime example of effective geo-marketing. Your goal, as a brand, is to influence the purchasing or service decisions of people nearby with highly localized, well-timed ads.

5. Landing Pages

Have you thought about what role your landing pages play in local lead generation? Using the right images, phrases, and calls-to-action are crucial in turning interest into revenue.

Image Source: Airbnb

Try to incorporate as many localized elements as possible on your landing page. If you service many different areas, consider creating multiple landing pages to target each location. Airbnb and other travel sites have done an excellent job of this, so turn to them if you need some examples.

As we talked about in the SEO point, it’s important to include strong local language. Use the right keywords such as “Things to Do in X” or “Expert Tax Filing Services in X.” The more personalization and localization you put into your landing page, the better luck you’ll have with local lead generation.

6. Popups

Last but not least, let’s talk about pop-up ads. Although many site visitors complain about the intrusiveness of this advertising strategy, popups can still be extremely effective in certain circumstances.

When used correctly, pop-up ads convert quickly and immediately draw attention. By using a highly enticing, local message in the ad, you can grab the attention of local shoppers instantly.

Image Source: Kate Spade

To offset the annoying qualities of popups, try to include something for the visitor in the message. Give them 10% off their next order if they provide an email address or direct them to a page specially designed for viewers like them.

Local lead generation is about getting your brand in front of the right eyes at the right time. Sometimes, that calls for an add that literally pops up in a shopper’s face.

Conclusion

Using these local lead generation tips will revolutionize the way you draw in nearby consumers. Instead of waiting around for local searchers to find you, it’s time for you to hunt down the ideal local candidates via smart marketing, Google Ads, SEO, and more.

Ready to ramp up your brand image and draw in more local leads?

Reach out to Curve communications today. Call 604-245-7213 or send us a message online today.