It’s amazing how quickly your digital presence can take on a life of its own – morphing into something that has been shaped by both positive and negative customer feedback and reviews, and perhaps even scarred by an underlying competitor agenda.
As a result, it can be difficult to keep track of what your digital brand is, let alone control your brand image and make sure your core messages remain intact.
A comprehensive digital marketing audit includes reviewing your online position in the market, and is an effective way to ‘sense check’ that everything you do digitally is an accurate reflection of your brand, key messages and target audience.
At this stage, my aim is to establish a clear idea of how you currently feel your brand is portrayed online compared to your competitors, and how your perception translates in reality.
Specifically, a digital brand audit will allow you to:
- gain a broad picture of your position in the digital space, your engagement in social media and where you stand against your competitors
- identify your strengths, failings, gaps and areas of opportunity
- understand how your target audience perceives your brand so that you can implement more effective strategies to increase your appeal.
My role as an independent auditor is not to give you a prescriptive list of what needs to be done but rather to identify where your brand is positioned, who your customers are and where your competitors sit. From there you can take this knowledge and implement effective strategies, whether that is a realocation of pay-per-click spend or a change in focus of the social marketing channels you are using.
It all Starts with Your Brand
Most of the companies, I work with have a reasonably defined idea of their brand, i.e. what differentiates their company from their competitors and the unique impression customers have of them in terms of service, products and advertising.
Having a detailed SWOT analysis isn’t necessary, but by providing a written marketing plan or articulating top-line messaging about what you represent, I can then identify how these are reflected as part of your digital branding and presence.
Customers are Key
Similarly, if you have developed customer profiling, I can assess these and look at your digital presence as a whole, and determine how accurately you are attracting your target audience through appealing content and the most appropriate channels.
One of my clients, a tailor, was surprised to find his online business attracted more website traffic specifically for its wedding suits rather than its business attire. He had been investing very little of his marketing/advertising spend on this key selling point and adjusted accordingly. He also rewrote his website content so that there was less emphasis on price, and more on quality and customer service with great results.
Just Tell Me About my Competitors
Naturally, one of the biggest areas of interest are the competition – who are the biggest threats; what are they doing successfully that we’re not, and most importantly how can we differentiate ourselves.
This is obviously an area of importance and as such, I explore and report on competitors online profiles as part of a separate step in the audit. At this early stage of the review, I am once again more interested in the way you view you competitors and how accurate this is based on their actual digital footprint.
Interestingly, this if often the area where accuracy–or rather inaccuracies–are identified. For example, while a particular bricks and mortar business may be your biggest competitor when it comes to physical store traffic and sales, this may not necessarily correlate to what is happening online. You may actually lead the race on website traffic and online sales.
Staying on track
By gaining a better insight into your company’s digital presence, including all the positives as well as the weaknesses, you will be able to refine your marketing strategy, understand how to stay ahead of the competition, and allocate the right resources to take advantage of opportunities going forward.