Over the past few months, we’ve covered much of the preliminary work needed to create a marketing strategy.
We are now ready to start the process of auditing your existing marketing.
So why is the audit so important?
Put simply, to understand:
- What’s working
- What’s not
- What could be improved
The audit should also help you identify opportunities you can take advantage of and threats to be mindful of.
Naturally, all these questions need considering in the context of the goals you have previously identified.
The audit should include every element of your marketing. The understandable temptation might be to jump straight in and look at your website. However, many people will find your site following a Google search, which is where you should start this process.
The journey from suspect to prospect, then to a qualified prospect and ultimately to becoming a customer or client (the two are very different) has changed over the years.
The ability to search online and find the answer to our questions in the blink of an eye has altered how consumers connect with professional advice. 20 years ago, someone needing advice may have asked friends, family or work colleagues for a recommendation and then picked up the phone. They had very few options other than to make direct contact.
These days things are very different.
While the journey to your door may still start with a traditional referral (and we all know these make the best type of new enquiries) there’s now an extra stage.
It’s called Google.
There’s a good chance that people referred to you will search for you or your business online before deciding whether to get in touch. It’s known as a brand search and we all do it. It works in reverse too. I know advisers who check out prospects on Google and social media before returning their call.
The journey to your door
First things first. The suspect must be able to find your business online.
What they see following a brand search will increase or decrease the likelihood of them getting in touch. You need to make that first impression a powerful one, in the right way of course.
Ideally, your business will dominate the first page of Google for a brand search. This means the following should ideally be displayed:
- Links to your website
- A fully completed Google My Business profile, preferably with client reviews
- Social media links
- Your entry on the FCA register
- Links to other statutory pages
- Press coverage
A word about your Google My Business listing
This is too often overlooked.
Many firms have not claimed their listing. Those which have been are rarely fully completed and often neglected.
That’s a shame as the listing is a great opportunity to showcase your business. You can add links to your website, a description of your business, photos and post articles. It dominates the right-hand side of the search results page and is also a great opportunity to ask clients to rate/ review your business.
It’s widely accepted that positive customer/ client reviews influence decision making. What could be more powerful than a suspect Googling your business name and seeing a string of positive reviews?
These positive Google reviews will help your local search rankings too.
Time to head to Google
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client. Open a private browsing window, head to Google, and search as they might for your business.
What do you see?
If it’s everything I’ve outlined above, that’s great. You can move on to the next phase of your marketing audit. However, if your business name is so generic it doesn’t appear for brand searches we have a potential problem; if you can’t be found, how can the suspect carry out even basic due diligence?
The solution might be as simple as claiming your Google My Business listing to help you dominate the first page of the search results. You might want to consider a small AdWords campaign. This wouldn't be as advertising in the traditional sense but to help those who already know about you to connect with your website. Changing your business name might also be a radical yet occasionally necessary solution.
Creating more referrals
A key part of your marketing audit is to review your referral and recommendation strategy. We’ll get to that in coming months. However, being easily found on Google for a brand search is fundamentally important to that strategy. Which is why brand searches are where your marketing audit should start.
After all, none of us knows the referrals we never had because the suspect couldn’t find our business online, or because they didn’t like what they saw when they did.