What if your digital marketing strategy is leaving money on the table?
That question alone is enough to keep you up at night.
Because even if your results are fine right now, knowing they could be better (or even a lot better) will cause you to stop everything you’re doing until you’ve fully optimized your marketing.
After all, $$$$$$ > $…
Am I right??
But figuring out what you need to do specifically to ramp up your digital marketing is no small task.
You not only have to know how to properly analyze your current results, but you also have to know what to change and how to change it in order to unleash your business’s potential.
And if you aren’t careful, you could spend 100s of hours on a digital marketing audit that doesn’t do anything (and might even hurt your results).
Because that would literally be the worst, I created this step-by-step process to guide you through the process of doing an in-depth digital marketing audit.
This process isn’t perfect by any means, but I’ve used a version of it over the last 4+ years to help clients skyrocket their traffic, leads, and sales.
And it could help you do the same…
Do This Before Moving Forward (I MEAN IT!)
Before we dive into this process, there’s one thing you HAVE to be clear on…
And that’s where your marketing stands right now.
Because it’s not enough to think you know where you are. Making assumptions based on your intuitions without consulting any data will almost certainly make your marketing worse.
I’ve seen it happen with my own two eyes.
You have to quantifiably know where you are.
So before we even get to Step 1, here’s what you have to have:
- Analytics tracking in place on your website (and properly set up)
- All of your critical data (conversion rates, email list numbers, traffic, paid traffic, etc.) ready for analysis
- At least a general idea of your customer lifetime value
- And a clear picture of who your current customers are (ideally accompanied with in-depth research and survey results)
This seems like a lot, and it may even be so overwhelming you want to stop reading this post immediately.
But I’m telling you, if you want to improve, you gotta do this the right way.
Have as much of this information as possible before moving on.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be in crazy spreadsheets or anything like that—you just need to be able to look at your data and generally understand it.
For most businesses, all that means is pulling up your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, CRM, and Paid Ad accounts and looking around.
And we’ll go over exactly what you need to look in this post.
A Proven 3-Step Digital Marketing Audit Template
Step 1. Offer / Conversion Analysis
Your offer is the most foundational component of your marketing.
It doesn’t matter how great your SEO is, how cheap your getting leads with Facebook ads, or how many followers you have on Twitter…
If your offers aren’t clear and compelling, you won’t make money.
That’s why it’s so important to solidify your offers for everything from lead magnets to your products/services BEFORE trying to reach people.
And you can start to identify which offers are working and which aren’t by analyzing these 4 things:
Part 1. Current Conversion Rates
If you have goals set up in Google Analytics and/or eCommerce tracking, conversion rates are easy to find.
(Here’s a guide on setting up goals if you haven’t done this yet.)
Just head to Google Analytics, click Conversions -> Goals -> Overview, and you can see your overall conversion rate for your site.
You can also view individual conversion rates by changing the “Goal Option” filter to a specific goal, then selecting “Goal Conversion Rate”: in the next drop-down menu.
These reports should give you a decent idea of how many people who come to your site purchase certain products/services or download certain lead magnets.
But take these numbers with a grain of salt.
They’re very helpful, but aren’t 100% accurate.
Since Google Analytics calculates these based on website sessions that complete a specific goal, it’s possible that people trigger these goals without actually purchasing (for instance, you editing that page, a team member looking at that page, someone accidentally finding that page, etc).
That being said, I think they are close enough to accurate in most cases to be beneficial for a digital marketing audit.
What to Look For
I don’t recommend following a “best practice” conversion rate goal with all of your offerings (like saying everything needs to be > 5%, for example).
That doesn’t take your business and your margins into account.
Instead, I recommend creating target conversion rates for each product, service, and lead magnet based on the ROI you want to see.
Let’s say you’ve figured out your customer lifetime value and ideal cost per acquisition, and you need at least a 4% conversion rate on your main product to make a worthwhile profit.
I’d set 4% as the baseline conversion rate.
If that specific offer consistently converts under 4%, you need to address it quickly. If it’s 4% or more, you can optimize it until it’s closer to 6% – 8%.
Once you know your current conversion rates, you can explore the “why” behind them with the next 3 strategies.
Part 2. Customer Insights
Survey and other qualitative data from your customers is vital to improving your conversion rates.
After all, your customers know best why they did or didn’t purchase…
And if you figure out why they made their decisions, you can make critical changes to your offers.
The best way I’ve found to uncover these insights for each of your offers is through:
Put a survey (via pop-up, link, embed) on your thank you pages asking visitors what made them decide to purchase from you.
Ask questions that get them talking about what they felt right before and right after purchasing.
- What made you decide to pull the trigger on [FILL IN THE BLANK]?
- How do you plan on using [FILL IN THE BLANK]?
- What impact do you think [FILL IN THE BLANK] will have on your life within the next few months?
Try to get a few of these people on a Zoom call as well so you can see their body language and let them expand on their responses.
It’s arguably even more valuable to know why people didn’t buy—but this info is generally harder to get.
You’re essentially making another ask after they declined your first one (or even several others).
So, you have to approach this tactfully.
I recommend sending automated emails with a survey link to anyone you can verify almost purchased (added to cart, visited a certain page, saw a launch sequence but didn’t buy, etc.) that say something along the lines of…
“Hey, I saw you didn’t [TAKE ACTION] which is totally cool. If you’re up for it, I’d love to hear why (not gonna sell to you!!) so I can make [PRODUCT] even better.”
Then ask questions like these in your survey:
- What was the biggest reason you didn’t [TAKE ACTION]?
- What was missing from [OFFER] that would’ve made you [TAKE ACTION]?
- What’s going on in your life right now that prevented you from [TAKING ACTION]?
(You’ll get even better info if you can get a few of these people on a Zoom call as well.)
Part 3. Page Analytics
With conversion rates, conversion baselines, and customer insights in hand, it’s time to look for additional clues you can use to hone your offers.
And Google Analytics has the golden nuggets you’re looking for in the Behavior report.
Head to GA and click Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages, then look for the specific landing page / sales page you want to analyze.
Then, adjust the date range and look for trends over time with:
- Bounce rate
- Average time on page
- And exit %
What to Look For
If your bounce rate and exit % are high, and your avg time on page is low, then people are landing on your sales page and leaving.
The hard part is figuring out why.
It could be:
- Low-quality traffic is landing on that page
- The offer isn’t clear or compelling
- The page loads slow
- The page is poorly designed
And if you’ve already honed-in your offers and addressed design/load time issues, the most likely issue is traffic…
Step 2. Traffic Analysis
This is where most people jump in with their digital marketing audit.
But, like we’ve already discussed, this is dangerous because your offers are the most fundamental component of your marketing.
I know you won’t make that rookie mistake.
So, now that you’ve laid a good foundation for your audit, it’s time to dive into the nitty gritty of auditing each of your traffic channels.
Part 1. Content Audit
Here you’re trying to answer the overarching question: is my content truly unique and valuable?
Because at the end of the day, that’s the only way you’ll get results.
But how do you answer that incredibly vague question?
You can begin by combining a few different data points on every single piece of content on your site (yep, all of it):
This report in Google Analytics (click on Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages) shows you:
- How long people view a piece of content
- How many other pages they view after viewing a piece of content
- Whether they interact further with your site after reading your content
…And with these insights, you can begin to piece together how your website visitors digest your content.
(Important: Don’t let these metrics solely influence how you determine whether a piece of content is successful or not.)
Traffic & Traffic Quality
It doesn’t matter how much traffic your content generates if it isn’t high quality.
Because at the end of the day, you want more leads and customers.
Good looking numbers in your Google Analytics account mean nothing without conversions.
So, you need your content to drive valuable actions for your business (like opting-in for a newsletter, downloading a lead magnet, or booking a call).
And the Acquisitions report in Google Analytics will show you whether it’s hitting the mark.
Head to Acquisitions -> All Traffic -> Channels then change the goal to a specific goal that’s valuable for your business.
This shows you a breakdown of your traffic quality by channel (i.e. conversion rate by channel).
But that’s not even the best part. 🙂
You can break this down even further by clicking on a specific channel and selecting “landing page” as the primary dimension to see which pages generate the most conversions for a specific channel.
Deciding if Your Content Is “Outstanding”
Outstanding content drives traffic and leads to your business. Period.
If a piece of content isn’t doing that (after having ample opportunity to get data) then I’d revisit it and see if you can figure out why with the two steps above.
But don’t think that if you have several posts like this that your whole content marketing strategy is crap!!!
You can adjust and fine-tune your weaker content until it starts driving traffic and leads.
I’ve helped clients do it with content audits and it’s not as bad as you think.
This concept (minus the redirects) also helps you audit your social media and YouTube content
Part 2. SEO Audit
SEO audits are so much more than keyword research and meta descriptions.
Those things are important, yes, but alone they do nothing for you.
Proper SEO audits look into:
- Your reputation online
- Your brand
- Your content quality
- Your backlink profile
- Your website’s UX
- Your website’s technical health
- And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I’m not going to touch on how to do each of these specifically since I cover a lot of it in my website audit checklist post, but I’ve found that answering these 3 questions will help you formulate an overarching strategy and course of action with your SEO audit:
Where Is My Site Now?
This is easy enough.
All you have to do is look at your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Ahrefs/SEMRush accounts.
You want to make sure you’re 100% clear about:
- How much organic traffic you’re getting
- What your best keywords are
- What your best pieces of content are
Where Could My Site Be?
The quickest, most effective way (in my opinion) to answer this question is by identifying and researching your organic competitors.
Luckily, this is pretty easy. 🙂
Here’s how to do it:
1. Pop your URL into the site explorer.
2. Click “Competing Domains”.
This will give you a list of sites that share the largest % of keywords with yours.
3. Export or take note of the top sites on this list.
4. Go through your list one-by-one and examine their sites in the site explorer.
Take note of:
- Keywords they’re ranking for
- How much traffic Ahrefs predicts their generating
- What sites link to them
Your direct organic competitors are prime examples of where your site can be one day.
What Do I Need to Do to Reach the Next Level?
Answering this question requires you to dig a layer deeper into your findings from step 2 with 2-3 of your top competitors.
We’re looking for how they got so much organic traffic and became one of the top dogs in your industry.
Because once you know how they did it, you know what you need to do to replicate their success.
And we can start to figure this out with Ahrefs. 🙂
Start by popping one of the big dogs in your industry into the site explorer:
Then, do a deep dive into two main areas:
Click on “Organic Keywords”, then manually look through each ranking URL.
Look for trends with content length, quality, how many keywords each page targets, etc.
You want to see what kind of content you’re gonna have to write to have a shot at ranking for similar keywords.
Take the time to go through a bunch of blog posts and make notes (it’ll be worth it).
Click on “Backlinks” and sort by DR.
Look through the kinds of sites (what industry are they in, their DR, the UR of the linking pages, etc.) that link to them.
Those are the sites you need links from.
Answering these 3 questions will help you formulate a killer SEO plan. Here are some super helpful resources you can use to implement that plan:
- My website audit checklist post
- This keyword research guide by Brian Dean
- My guest post on MarketingProfs on how to do an SEO-driven content audit
Part 3. Ad Audit
When it comes to auditing your ads, there are two main areas to look at (assuming you’ve optimized your messaging in Step 1):
- Your ad strategy
- The ads themselves
Obviously, there are 100s of factors that go into effective online advertising, but analyzing specific areas in these two buckets will help you fully optimize your ads.
Analyzing Your Strategy
Your goal here is to figure out if your ads are showing the right offer to the right people at the right time.
This is where the stages of awareness come into play.
You need to know which of your ads (across all platforms) are targeting:
- Unaware people
- Problem aware people
- Solution aware people
- Product aware people
- And most aware people
Because the messaging, copy, and offers in each ad will be completely different based on the target audience’s stage of awareness.
And if there’s any disconnect between your ad and your target audience, your ads won’t reach their full potential.
How do you know if your ads miss the mark in terms of the stages of awareness?
There isn’t a straightforward answer, unfortunately, but you can get an idea by:
- Looking at your ad results compared to benchmarks from similar businesses
- Analyzing landing page data in Google Analytics (like we’ve done a few times already)
At the end of the day, you’ll have to make a judgement call on whether you need to fine-tune your strategy based on the data.
Analyzing the Ads Themselves
Now it’s time to take a look at your ads on a more granular level.
Assuming that you’ve already done your conversion/messaging analysis in step 1 and made adjustments with your ads, the #1 way to optimize them further is by honing your targeting.
What does this mean specifically?
It means going through each of your ad accounts and running experiments with your audiences, interest targeting, keywords, etc.
Because once you hone-in your targeting, you can drastically lower your cost per conversion.
Here’s an example:
I recently started a Facebook ad campaign for a brand new website that was consistently bringing in leads between $1-$2 each.
I was pleased with that, but continued testing ad sets with different interests and lookalike audiences to see if I could get it even lower.
…And eventually I got it down to $.50 – $1.50.
Optimizing your targeting is all about knowing your audience like the back of your hand.
You need to know:
- What websites they like
- What YouTube channels they follow
- What similar products they buy
- And more
Because without this information, it’s nearly impossible to optimize and improve your ad targeting.
Step 3. Nurture Analysis
It doesn’t matter how much traffic you get or how many leads you generate if you aren’t getting customers.
Because at the end of the day, traffic and leads are factors that contribute to more customers.
And if more traffic and leads don’t equal more money, then they’re just vanity metrics that look cool in your Google Analytics account.
I’m just stating facts…
So before we call this digital marketing audit a wrap, we’re going to do a full analysis of your nuture strategy.
Specifically, we want to optimize how you’re moving customers from:
- The top of your funnel to the middle
- The middle of your funnel to the bottom
Part 1. Top-to-Middle Funnel Nurturing
This refers to how you’re turning brand new leads into warm leads.
Here, you want to build trust with your new leads and prove to them that you’re an authoritative source.
Because 90% of the time, you won’t be turning a brand new lead into a valuable customer right off the bat.
It takes time for them to get to know, like, and trust you. Just like any friendship or romantic relationship.
One of the easiest and most widely applicable ways to initiate trust-building this is through email onboarding sequences that:
- Shows leads how you can make their life better (specifically for FREE, right now with great content)
- Tells them why you exist (in terms of how you can help them get a specific benefit they want)
- And asks them specific questions about what their dreams and goals are, and what obstacles and struggles are standing in their way
The goal of this initial nurture campaign is to move leads to the next stage.
Part 2. Middle-to-Bottom Funnel Nurturing
This refers to how you’re turning leads who know and like your brand into customers.
Usually, this is as simple as presenting the right offer to the right person at the right time.
Before you scream at me, I’m not claiming this is easy, just that the concept is simple. 🙂
I’ve found analyzing and optimizing this part of your funnel with the concepts from Ryan Levesque’s book Ask in mind is incredibly helpful.
Basically, your customers will tell you what they want if you optimize the top of your funnel the right way and include surveys (#3 above).
And you can use that survey data to segment your leads into buckets and give them offers that directly help them reach their goals and solve their problems.
Here’s an example:
I have a writing coach client who has a quiz as one of his lead magnets. 100s of leads take this quiz every day and their answers are recorded as tags in his CRM.
So, based on their answers (whether they write fiction or nonfiction, whether they struggle with procrastination or finding time to write, etc.) they can get sent down a specific email sequence that directly addresses their situation and presents them with a course at the end.
This stage of nurturing doesn’t have to be done via an email sequence.
It can also be remarketing ads, manual email outreach, or a dozen other things.
The key is giving a tailored offer to your warm leads based on their specific goals and struggles.
Part 3. How to Analyze and Optimize Your Lead Nurturing
The #1 way to know if your nurture campaign is working is whether it’s getting you customers.
Groundbreaking, I know. 🙂
But there are a few other metrics you can track and analyze that help you paint a clearer picture.
1. Email Engagement Stats
How many people open your emails in each of your sequences?
How many people click on your emails?
How many people buy the offer at the end of your sequences?
2. Remarketing Stats
How many people interact with your remarketing ads (click, share, like, etc.)?
3. Voice of Customer Data
Get on the phone with people who’ve gone through your nurture sequences (both people who bought and didn’t buy).
Ask specific questions about their experience and whether the solution you offered them was appealing and/or solved their problem.
You’ve Looked at Everything…Now What?
Digital marketing audits are freakin’ exhausting.
The first thing I recommend doing when you finish is taking a break.
Give yourself a few days to refresh and process your findings before you begin implementing any changes.
When you go back to implement, let your data inform your decisions.
If you keep your data and proven marketing principles in mind, you can fine-tune your marketing to see the results you deserve.