Why you should conduct a marketing communications audit.

We often start with an audit when we begin working with a new client. During the research phase we are learning about the client, their marketplace, and their competitors. Then we delve into their existing marketing and communications including the organization’s branding, printed materials and web presence.

Depending on the client’s needs we may focus more on one area or another, but the goal is to provide an overview of the current situation and a list of specific recommendations for how we can help improve their marketing. The audit itself is not necessarily a huge expense, but it is a huge investment, because it gives the client immediate feedback on what is working and areas that can be improved.

For a website, we would recommend starting with four primary areas:

  • SITE ARCHITECTURE: whether the website utilizes best practices for site architecture including the development of a coherent site map, site hierarchy, logical navigation, and descriptive page names
  • COMPETITION: Review top 10 (or 20 or 30) keywords and conduct a search reviewing the client’s top 3 competitors’ sites and see where the client comes up in SERP (search Engine Results Page)
  • SEO and Local SEO: whether the website utilizes best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) utilizing xml maps, setting up Google Analytics, and creating effective titles, descriptions and alt tags. Depending on the business/industry, local SEO can have a huge potential upside. Especially for any locally-based (or regional) small business or retail establishment, you want to ensure that your site ranks high in your local market. After a quick review we can provide an assessment of what sites you have or have not claimed and can make recommendations for improvement.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Depending on the industry/market we review the site’s current social media presence and make recommendations on where they could enhance their branding and engagement

For communications and printed materials, we would start with a review of a company’s logo, all printed materials, branding and messaging. We would focus on how well an organization has established their brand identity, how consistently they manage their brand across their business(es), and provide a specific list of ways to improve the overall marketing communications of the organization.

So if you know that you “need to do something” but are not sure where to start, consider an audit. Once you have the results, your next steps will be more clear and you will know how to use your marketing dollars more wisely.