JUMPSTART 2018 STEP 3: Online Presence Assessment of Marketing Performance
Time for a Reality Check: Is Your Current Online Marketing Presence Doing Anything for You?
The easiest way to begin? Google. Google your company and key offerings and see what pops up. Hopefully, your website will be in the first couple of results for your name. If not, then we’d recommend you put your website at the top of your priority list for 2018. Even if your website does show up at the top, you should spend some time on it with a critical eye. After all, a website is never complete. It’s a living thing that constantly needs updating, improving and attention.
There are four main areas to think about when doing an online audit of your website and social media channels: design, content, performance and analysis.
First of all, how does you look online? Review your site design to make sure it’s engaging, customer-centric and modern. There’s nothing like out-of-date design to immediately turn a new visitor away. When you’re checking out a new-to-you site, don’t you immediately judge that book by its cover? If a site looks old-fashioned or just plain boring, visitors may think your company is unsophisticated or at the very least doesn’t care about the details.
Also, note how the design of your site looks on all devices – is it responsive to desktop, mobile and tablets? It needs to be; more and more visitors (up to 80%!) are now checking out websites from their mobile devices. Your site should look good on all platforms, and responsive design is the best way to make that happen.
Your social graphics, including your profile images and other pieces you post and share, should also be a unified, modern design. Everything you put out there is a reflection of your business. First impressions mean a lot online, and visitors often take what they see at face value. It’s just like dressing for success – make sure you’re presenting your business in the best way possible!
When you Google your company, make note of any other results you find, from social media to articles to outside reviews. It’s important to document what you find, since you’ll be working to make improvements and want to be able to show progress.
For your social media channels, look at what you’ve been posting. Are you consistent? Does your tone of voice reflect who you are and make sense for that channel? Do people engage with you? Like it or not, people judge your company based on your social media presence and website, so make sure you’re presenting a united front.
If you find outside articles and reviews, are you happy with what others are saying about you? Do you think it needs improvement? Maybe you’ll want to focus on building up your positive reviews as part of your 2018 marketing efforts.
When it comes time to develop new content for your site, be strategic. Make keyword research the cornerstone of your content development, and stick to it. Optimize your current pages and be prepared to do the same for any new blogs posts, content offers or pages you add to the site. Staying consistent with your keyword strategy will make Google happy, which means you’ll see better rankings!
It can be especially helpful to have someone who isn’t close to the development or management of your site audit it. Look at user experience, make sure everything works and really think about whether or not your site has all the information someone would hope to find there. Does your site represent all you do? Is it responsive?
Make sure the back end of your site is also buttoned up – you want to be sure its programmed and identified in a way that enables your site to be easily read by search engines. This is one area where hiring an outside expert can be really valuable, as the algorithms the search engines are programmed for are constantly changing.
The key to successful analysis is to get a full picture of your online presence. Having Google Analytics running on your website is the first step. You’ll be able see where your site traffic is coming from, what pages they’re visiting, where they exit from, links clicked, keywords used, demographics and more.
Analytics become really useful when you have a good baseline of data to compare. You want to compare information in an apples-to-apples way (be it period vs. period or year over year) so you can see gains or losses.
Make sure you’ve also identified conversion pages on your site and set goals in Google Analytics so you can track how any inbound marketing you’re doing is actually working. You can even assign a dollar amount to the conversion page for real insight into your ROI.
If you’ve been doing any digital advertising, document what you’ve spent and what your ads look like. Pull data on performance from your ad source (whether it’s Facebook, Google or something else), and give it a hard look. Is it worth your money? Are there areas for improvement?
Again, you want a good baseline to compare against once you’ve enacted your 2018 marketing plan. If you’ve set up your analytics and gathered all of the data you’ll need to judge your performance early this year, you’ll have that baseline by the end of 2018 to really see what’s working.