According to Coschedule, businesses with a well-thought-out marketing strategy are 538% more likely to succeed than those working in the dark.
Top marketers set goals, document their every step, and regularly check to see how business promotions are doing.
In fact, every business should conduct marketing audits from time to time to make sure their advertising efforts are paying off — and that they’re not wasting money on channels that don’t work.
In this guide, I’ll explain how to carry out an efficient digital marketing audit. You’ll learn what business aspects to check, what tools to use, and what to do if your metrics don’t look good.
Let’s start with a marketing audit definition to see why this process is so important for stable business growth.
A marketing audit means examining all your promotional activities, from welcome emails to Facebook Ad campaigns. The goal is to analyze and improve your resources, strategies, and marketing channels.
Let’s see how it works. Imagine you’re running a corporate blog but have fewer visitors than you expected—or fewer customers than your competitors have. By conducting a thorough marketing check, you can figure out what’s going wrong.
For example, perhaps you’re using irrelevant distribution channels. Or maybe your website loads for almost a minute and Google doesn’t like that. In this case, you may need to fix technical site errors and optimize UI/UX design to increase the loading speed.
But to figure out what’s going on in the first place, you need to run a marketing audit. A well-performed analysis covers each and every aspect of the website, from CTAs to color schemes.
Basic marketing parameters to check include:
When to perform these checks is up to you. For instance, you might do it before introducing a new content strategy or preparing an expensive ad campaign.
Though there are no strict rules, it’s better to launch a marketing audit regularly—at least once per month or, even better, every week. Constant checks will help you and your team to find and solve problem areas earlier.
And of course, sometimes it’s better to entrust audits to professionals. They have a deep understanding of marketing audit definitions and access to the best tools and practices. Besides, there’s a chance they’ve already dealt with cases similar to yours.
The list of what to include in a marketing analysis differs depending on your needs. If you want to focus on the website, check SEO results and technical errors. Want to expand your social media presence? Pay attention to the user engagement rate on your social media pages and define the best-performing types of content.
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ checklist when it comes to marketing audits. We’re going to cover the five most essential directions:
Let’s consider each direction in detail, with an overview of the most important tools and metrics for every stage of the audit.
If you don’t employ a specialist or aren’t ready to hire one, you can conduct an audit on your own. After all, it’s better to make at least some checks than no checks at all.
For each direction—SEO, SMM, emails, and so on—you’ll need to use specific software. Below, you’ll find a list of the most popular applications and tips on how to conduct a marketing audit, step-by-step.
Before you start checking how well your marketing channels perform, outline your core business goals and objectives.
Most marketers follow the SMART approach, an acronym for:
Those core values will help you create specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that are easy to assess and will keep you on track.
For example, you may want to increase the site’s conversion rate by 10% or 15% or have 20,000 people subscribed to your newsletter. The goal should be specific; it shouldn’t sound like “I just want more clients/money.”
Here are some marketing objectives to give you a start:
You’ll need to work on both long and short-term goals. For instance, a long-term goal maybe something like “generating more qualified leads”, while a short-term one is to “grow the client base by 5% in 6 months.”
To visualize your goals or show plans to stakeholders, you may wish to use a marketing roadmap template.
After you’ve defined short and long-term goals, it’s time to see how to measure the marketing results you’re getting now. Start with the SEO audit.
An SEO audit covers lots of aspects, including technical site state, keywords, on-site SEO, loading time, and so on. We’ll cover the most important areas. First, it’s an on-page SEO audit. This includes checking keyword density, meta description, alt tags, heading and title tags, robots.txt file, sitemap presence, and word count. You can use built-in checkers with tools like Ahrefs or Semrush. Make sure there are no technical errors such as 404 pages on your website—Google just hates them. You can use an online link checker or Ahrefs (Outgoing links -> Broken links) to scan pages for broken links.
The next parameter is website loading time. Pages that load within 2 seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in 5 seconds have a bounce rate of 38%.
Here’s a marketing audit example benefit: You find your website loading for more than 7 seconds (it’s a critically big number!), optimize the problem parts, and get a higher position in Google results.
Some optimization tactics include resizing the images or changing their format, or removing extensive videos and other media that directly affect the loading speed. Another way to solve this problem is to connect with your hosting provider and ask if there are any issues on their side.
Try Google’s PageSpeed Insights checker to analyze the performance and see tips on how to increase your website loading speed.
Finally, content optimization is one of the best time investments you can make to increase your organic traffic. Make sure you create a valuable piece of content: long articles with images and videos, valuable insights, and links to authoritative sources. These not-so-obvious content marketing tips will help you produce truly appealing and high-converting materials.
Also, make sure that you optimized your content for SEO. This means adding quick-win keywords to headings, meta tags, and throughout the text. If you don’t have a list of keywords you want to rank for, use Google’s Keyword Planner to gather them.
Tools for an SEO audit:
38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive. That’s almost half!
How is a marketing audit useful here? It ensures that visitors like your website layout and interact with your site in the way you planned. Is it easy to target actions, like buying a product or subscribing to the newsletter? Or do they get lost somewhere in the process and switch to another site?
Start by checking your website with heatmapping tools like Hotjar. They’ll show you a heatmap with scrolls and clicks from visitors. You can see which parts of the UI/UX design work for people and which don’t. It’s a good place to start thinking about new ways to beautify and improve the navigation of your website.
If you’re running a few social media accounts, you’d better dig into data and see how they perform.
Most popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook have native analytics systems you can use to find out what stats any given piece of content receives:
The next step is finding out how social media accounts fuel the drive to your website: which content works best for generating leads and sales.
For that, you can also use tools like Google Analytics (the “acquisition” tab).
Tools for SMM audit:
When assessing an email campaign’s performance, pay attention to the following metrics:
By checking these metrics, you’ll see the current trends and can correct non-working elements. Use tools like Google Analytics or the built-in ones your current email provider (e.g. Mailchimp or AWeber) gives access to.
Another marketing audit example is to perform A/B testing to compare different subject lines, CTAs, and placements, and choose the one your customers like best. Tools like MailTester will help you test the spamminess of your email, while Google Analytics will track users’ journeys after they show up on your website from a link in your message.
Tools for email marketing audit:
When you have an actionable SEM strategy and run Google Ads or any other pay-per-click campaigns, it’s important to check their performance and profitability.
Metrics to pay attention to:
Do the obtained numbers disappoint you? Well, it’s time to make a few thorough checks. Who are you targeting? Are they generic personas, or more specific? What platforms do you use for running ads? Is there a point in switching? How many ads are you running in parallel? And many more.
Tools for SEM audit:
That’s it! We’ve uncovered the marketing audit definition and basic directions you might want to check. Of course, you can customize the list of tools and practices for your business. Or maybe expand to new marketing platforms, if you haven’t tried them yet.
Performing a marketing audit requires skills, knowledge, and the right toolkit. It may seem complicated at first, but the more checks you make, the better your business will run. The most successful businesses make all of these checks on a regular basis. After completing an audit, you’ll define a list of areas you can improve—SEO, content optimization, social media, etc.—and some actionable takeaways. Bear in mind that there’s no marketing audit example that works for everyone, so tailor it to your specific business.
If you’re not ready to dig into all these seemingly complicated processes, you can always hire a professional team. At ReVerb, we help our clients to conduct comprehensive audits, measuring and improving their marketing results. If you need a hand, just let us know!