Main Street U.S.A. has gone digital, and barring the internet disappearing overnight, it’s going to stay that way. Your website is now your second storefront. Email marketing is the new direct mail. And social media is the new word of mouth. All this is to say that, if you’re not putting time and effort into these new mediums your business is going to fall behind. But, if you’re not familiar with the best practices of digital marketing, or marketing analytics, how can you be sure your efforts are making an impact? You start with a digital audit!
Just like you would make sure your storefront display is free of dust and smudged windows, you need to make sure that all of the digital channels that your business uses are consistent in message and tone across all platforms, are properly optimized, and are using best practices.
The answer is yes. Just like you go to the doctor’s to get a regular checkup, it’s important to regularly audit your digital footprint to ensure there are no holes, blemishes, or red flags.
Not performing a regular digital audit could cost you customers and sales. If you’re having a hard time seeing how, let’s do a little test. Think of a few words or phrases that someone looking for a business like yours might type into Google. Got them? Good. Now, search for them on Google.
If your business shows up in some form near the first page of search results – whether through a search listing, local listing, or placement on a review site – congratulations, you’re on the right track (or you have little competition). If your website ends up near the bottom of the page, or isn’t even on the first page, you’ve got some work to do (or a lot of competition). 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results. So, if your website or business listing doesn’t at least show up on that first search engine results page (SERP) 75 out of 100 of your potential customers will more than likely encounter your competition instead. With 81% of people saying they perform some type of online search before making a purchase, this isn’t something you can afford to ignore.
Well, now it’s time to put a strategy together that addresses your weaknesses and compliments your strengths. With all of the digital channels that there are to manage, this may seem overwhelming. Don’t worry. Your audit will include detailed instructions and online resources so you can start to implement measures yourself, or give the report to your internal or external team to work through.
Take stock of what’s working and double-down on those efforts. Whether you add to your marketing team, hire a consultant, or use your member resources – a digital audit will give you a granular look into why your weaknesses are weaknesses. Put a list together of what they are. Some of these things you’re not going to be able to fix on your own, unless you have staff on hand with skills like coding or search engine optimization. But there is always something you can improve on.
First, figure out which of your digital weaknesses are within your skill range, and make those your first priority. Social media, email marketing, updating your local business listings, and overhauling the content on your website don’t require the technical knowledge needed to fix problems on your website like loading speed or mobile-responsiveness. Start with those and build from there.
Put a list together of how many times a week you’re going to post on your various social media, send out emails, write new articles, and respond to reviews – while you’re at it, reference your digital audit as a guidepost.
Dig into the analytics of the social media channels you use and find out which posts performed the best, then start putting out more posts like that. Do some testing with your newsletter to figure out how to get the highest open and click-through rates from your contact list. Play with the structure, length, and topics of the articles you post. And use your digital audit as a guide to continue putting work into your digital strategy.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the weaknesses pointed out in your digital audit can’t be fixed in a day. Put a plan together, execute it, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Digital marketing is a long game. It’s going to take time to start seeing boosts to things like your social engagement and email click-through rates. But, stick with it, experiment, and you’ll eventually break through. Next time you audit your digital footprint, we can almost guarantee your results will be better and your efforts will pay dividends.
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