4 Strategic Insights to Glean from Conducting a Content Audit

We know that conducting content audits can sometimes be time-intensive and tedious. We also know that they are almost always worth the effort. Why? Well, because running audits on your content can provide your organization with strategic insights that help steer the direction of your current and upcoming campaigns. Here are the key benefits of a content audit.

What is a Content Audit 

A content audit is a comprehensive analysis of all of your content collectively. “Content” in this context includes your website content such as offers, blogs, and infographics, as well as offline sales and marketing materials, like sell sheets and brochures. 

What’s Included in a Content Audit

During an audit, you will pull all relevant stats and information about each piece. Relevance is in the eye of the bolder it turns out. Consider why you’re completing an audit in the first place and let that dictate what information you need. The purpose of your audit will be different depending on where you are in your content marketing strategy. 

Must-haves to include in your audit per each piece of content:

  • Title 
  • Quick topic summary
  • URL 
  • Stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision, etc.)
  • Stage of the funnel (lead, MQL, SQL, etc.)
  • Type of content (blog, infographic, etc.)
  • Where the content is accessible/what pages it’s found on
  • Persona targeted
content audit example

Nice-to-haves in your audit:

  • Relevance to current persona/business strategy 
  • SERP relevance and position
  • Total ranking keywords
  • Monthly or quarterly views
  • Conversion rate 
  • Industry targeted

Some of the ‘nice-to-haves’ listed above might actually be critical for your audit. For example, if you’re conducting an audit because you’ve decided to lean into a secondary industry, you will want to include a column to capture it.

Benefits of a Content Audit

You can use a content audit in a variety of different ways depending on your organization’s goals and your current state of marketing. At Lake One, we use content audits to assess the current state of content for our new and existing clients. During onboarding, the content audit provides insights into where our new partners have focused their time previously. We can learn valuable information from this, as well as prevent reinventing the wheel by recreating existing content. Here are some of the most significant benefits and strategic insights of conducting a content audit.

Identify Gaps in Content with a Content Audit

First, a content audit can identify where your gaps in content lay. As part of the inbound methodology, buyers move through the journey to buying from awareness to consideration to decision. As buyers move along that journey, they seek information that gets more complex and product-specific as they go. Getting into the weeds a little, writing content for each stage pushes users into a purchase. For instance, somebody might start looking for a way to improve their manufacturing process (awareness). This might lead them into a specific piece of technology that could solve their problem (consideration), and that might bring them to contacting that particular company for a quote on that new technology (decision).

buyer's journey
Source: HubSpot

As inbound marketers, we want to be sure we’re serving content for every stage here. A content audit allows you to map where your content currently sits and where your gaps exist. Being too heavy on one end of the spectrum or another may be doing you a disservice. 

Facilitate Strategy Creation

As I mentioned, we’re big fans of content audits here. Our Lake One FieldGuides™ (campaign strategies) almost always begin with a content audit. We start here because once gaps and areas of excess are illuminated, a strategy will start to appear. It will be clear where your opportunities exist, both in quick wins and in a long-term strategy.  

Pro Tip: If you find you’ve written ad nauseam towards a specific persona or topic without the desired results, consider adding conversion rates, views, and SERP info into your audit. Compare that cluster of content to others to see if you can identify any misalignments to pivot on in the future.

Make Workflow Creation Easier

Workflows, or drip campaigns as some people call them, are a series of automated emails. These emails intend to serve your lead with helpful content, insights, and CTAs that nudge them into the next step of the funnel. A content audit acts as a visual representation of your available content to lay out the subject matter of each email. What’s usable? What subjects flow together to achieve the desired outcome? If you don’t have a library of suitable topics at the ready, your audit will also identify that for you, so you know what to include in your strategy during your next campaign.  

Content Audit- the Sales Enablement Kickstarter

Lastly, having an up to date content audit available for your team to reference is the perfect first step into sales enablement. Sales enablement, according to HubSpot, is the “iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals.”

Related Reading: A Roadmap to a Sure-fire B2B Sales Enablement Strategy

If you give your sales team a living document of all marketing materials available, the hope is that they will use that content within their sales process. When sales and marketing teams are aligned, sales will give recommendations into the types of content they’d like created based on their conversations with real customers and prospects. Input from sales teams looks like: 

sale enablement
Source: HighSpot
  • Typical questions their prospects have that could be addressed by marketing material
  • Ideas for resources like eBooks, infographics or sell-sheets that may help close deals
  • Which complex topics marketing can help simplify through content or design
  • Passing along feedback on content from real conversations with prospects and customers

The content audit shows the sales teams what’s currently available for their use, and it also helps them identify what’s not. In the same manner that audits show marketers what’s missing from a high-level funnel perspective, sales teams can use it to determine the opportunities on a topical standpoint. The ultimate goal is to build out a content library that addresses all the needs of both teams.

how to achieve sales and marketing alignment

How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Whether your manufacturing digital leads are feast or famine, how do you know which leads are a good fit? How is the sales team determining which leads they should talk to and which ones are in need of nurturing by marketing because they are aren’t quite sales-ready? In other terms, how are they being qualified? If you find yourself asking these questions, you might need some help determining a marketing qualified lead. 

Often referred to as an MQL, a marketing qualified lead is a lead that is considered more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. These leads have shown an interest in buying. They are open to the idea of a sale and have engaged with you and your business by taking some sort of action. Marketing efforts are typically what bring the leads in, but it’s what the lead does next that prompts them to become an MQL. 

qualify manufacturing leads

Define Your MQL Criteria  

Before you can begin to qualify your manufacturing leads, sales and marketing need to come together and not only define what an MQL is but agree on that definition. What are the characteristics and engagements that make up a good lead for you and your sales team? At Lake One, we lovingly refer to this as your lead fit to win criteria. It includes both lead requirements and lead engagements.

Related Reading: Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

But okay, where do you start? Here are the top areas for consideration when it comes to defining your MQL criteria.

qualify manufacturing leads

Review existing opportunities and customers: Who is your team talking to right now? Which leads have turned into customers and what actions did they take prior to inking a deal? You’ll likely uncover similarities in demographic data, such as industry, geo, company size, or job title, along with similarities in engagement. 

Engagement can be the content offers downloaded, the frequency of web visits or maybe even specific page views. 

Examples of MQL Actions

  • Requests a quote
  • Requests a product catalog
  • Attends a webinar
  • Downloads an ebook
  • Engages with your social
  • Opens a marketing email (or two)
  • Subscribes to your newsletter
  • Visits your website and/or visits key pages
  • Requests more information or asks to be contacted 

Talk to Sales: Find out what a qualified lead means to sales. They are not only key drivers in moving leads from marketing qualified to sales qualified and beyond, they know what they need and are a great resource. For example, is a lead worthless without a phone number? Or does sales need to be connected to a certain role within a company to increase the likelihood of closing a deal? All of these can be factored in as MQL criteria. 

Marketing MQL

Nice to know vs Need to know: Defining MQL criteria is really finding a balance of what is ‘nice to know’ vs what is ‘need to know’. Especially when starting out, we recommend creating opportunities to collect information (like updating form fields and leveraging progressive fields if you have that accessible) while still making the MQL status obtainable by leads. You can always tighten up the fire hose. 

Review. Revise. Repeat: Like with most things in sales and marketing, you can’t just set it and forget it. We recommend revisiting your MQL definition at least on a quarterly basis as a team. If you aren’t seeing the number of MQLs that you anticipated, is it because your criteria is too narrow? Or is it a lead quality issue? MQL criteria is a great place to start.

Once you’ve defined your MQL criteria, you need a way to collect it, track it and communicate it with your sales teams. 

Cue marketing automation.

qualify manufacturing leads

Leveraging Marketing Automation Software

Determining marketing qualified leads for your manufacturing company doesn’t have to be a manual process and in fact, we recommend it’s not. Marketing automation helps with:

  • Data capture at the time of form fill
  • Contact data storage
  • Housing the MQL criteria infrastructure
  • Notifying sales when a lead becomes an MQL
  • Closing the feedback loop

Here are some of our favorite marketing automation tools to get you started.

Out of all that is listed above, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t discuss the importance of notifying sales and closing the feedback loop. When a lead is hot, it’s hot and sales needs to be notified in real-time and on the contrary, if a lead isn’t so hot, marketing needs to know that too. Marketing automation software helps facilitate communication through notifications and custom properties.

It’s All About Alignment

Marketing qualified leads are really just a piece of the big picture of sales and marketing alignment. If you know anything about Lake One, you know we’re major proponents of alignment and defining what a marketing qualified lead is for your manufacturing company is a critical step to getting both teams on the same page and funneling quality leads to sales.

MarTech Assessment

Trade Shows Canceled? 5 Strategies to Keep Your Sales Pipeline Active

Trade shows are an important part of generating leads and filling the sales pipeline for many. In fact, a survey conducted by IDG reported that conferences and trade shows are listed as second, behind companies websites, on effective B2B lead generation tactics. But when crisis strikes (i.e. COVID-19), many have found that attending trade shows is no longer a viable option. At a time when we’re all being asked to social-distance, the last place anyone wants to be is in an exhibit hall, surrounded by a ton of people. 

So, what do you do now? How can you pivot that budget to something else meaningful? More importantly, what strategies can you implement to help fill the sales pipeline? These are all valid concerns. Things don’t have to come to a halt just because conferences have been canceled or postponed. There are still ways to get “out there”. 

Here are 5 B2B marketing strategies to keep your sales pipeline active: 

sales pipeline

Host a Virtual Event

With more and more people working from home and utilizing video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts or Zoom, now is a great time to embrace video. Maybe you’re used to having a weekly in-person coffee or networking event, move it online. Or, see if you can get a list of the conference attendees and invite them to an event you’re hosting. You could team up with other types of vendors and see if they’d be interested in joining. Try to bring value to the businesses you’re trying to attract. They’ll be more inclined to attend. Almost like hosting your own mini-trade show.

Try Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing or ABM is one of those hot topics right now and rightfully so. 84% of businesses who used ABM, reported that the strategy offered a higher RO1 than other marketing campaigns. ABM is the strategy that directs marketing resources to target and engage a specific set of accounts or companies. Rather than casting a wide net in an attempt to generate leads and fill your sales pipeline, you’re identifying key prospects and you tailor your message accordingly. Think about it like being at a conference. If there was a specific company or person you were hoping to connect with or have visit your booth, you might seek them out. It would be very targeted and you would customize your message just for them. That’s the idea behind ABM. 

Related Reading: Marketing in a Time of Crisis Inbound and Automation Strategies

sales pipeline

Conduct a Webinar 

This is another great example of a way you can still get your brand and brains out in front of people. Typically this would be a free event to sign up for, but key phrase there is “sign up.” Make sure you have people register for your webinar so you collect their contact information and can follow up with them after. Your webinar topic should be informative and a value-add to the people attending. What it shouldn’t be is an hour of you self-promoting and making it a sales pitch but calling it a webinar. Beyond lead generation, there are other benefits of hosting a webinar. Like, 1) positioning yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, 2) deliver value and keep your audience engaged, and 3) broaden your reach by communicating with hundreds of people at once. Now that’s something you wouldn’t be able to do at a trade show. 

New call-to-action

Create or Expand Your Digital Marketing Strategy

If you’re already marketing online (as you should be), great! If you’re not, now might be the time. We recommend taking a look at your strategies. With your trade show budget freed up, there might be some opportunity to:

  • Start a paid media plan or look at increasing your ad spends. Think Google, LinkedIn or Facebook. 
  • Look at putting some dollars towards paid social, “boosting” or “promoting” your existing posts.  
  • If it isn’t already, optimize your website and content to ensure you’re set up for success to be a lead machine. 
  • Invest in that CRM you’ve had your eye on or perhaps another piece of marketing technology to help you work harder and smarter to generate leads. 
  • Devote more time and resources to creating valuable content for your site.

There are lots of possibilities here to either up your digital game or to start it. Not sure where to start? Check out the Digital Kickstart Checklist on how to pivot your business to digital quickly.  

Guest Posting and Speaking 

Since time and energy aren’t going into prepping for and promoting attendance at a show, maybe those resources could be spent working to do outreach and promote or create some really great content. That way you’re getting your name out there and building authority on topics you have an expertise in. Another way to build that authority and get some “face-to-face” time with people is to be a guest speaker on a podcast or webinar. I know it’s not the same as speaking at a conference or networking in person, but it’ll allow you to keep your distance while still actively trying to fill your sales pipeline. 

sales pipeline

Please don’t let lack of trade shows make you feel like you have to make a trade-off on achieving your goals. These are just a few strategies and tactics to consider with your newfound time and additional budget. But there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen

If you’re in sales and marketing, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about lead generation. Business folks, in general, are probably at least a little familiar with it. Maybe it’s discussed in business conversations you’re apart of or you’ve seen it in sales and marketing materials. But what’s all the fuss about? What’s so important about lead generation? We’re here to break down the basics of what it is, what’s tough about it, why it’s worth it, trends to watch for and how tools can help with it all. 

HubSpot defines lead generation as the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Lead generators are things like job applications, blog posts, live events, coupons or online content. These types of things {hopefully} create interest and attract potential customers. The goal is to create unique ways to get people, the right people, interested in your business. 

Lead generation sounds simple enough, right? Well, if it were that easy, everyone would do it and do it successfully. We know it’s not that simple, so we put together a few insights into lead generation to help get you started.

Click here to have the lead generation guide emailed to you.

Lake One’s B2B Online Advertising Glossary

Paid advertising is often a great way to increase traffic and sales as you’re growing and sustaining your online presence. But the lingo can be a little confusing if you aren’t used to hearing it every day. To help, here’s Lake One’s B2B online advertising glossary, including a breakdown of the basic types of paid media to help identify which ones might be a fit for you.

Types of Paid Media

1) Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is a form of paid media that serves ads to users who have already engaged with your site or social media page. The goal of retargeting is to re-engage users with your brand.

Because retargeting works via cookie tracking, it allows you to target your ads to a specific behavior. For instance, you can retarget an ad to people who abandoned their online shopping carts or viewed a specific webpage. This can be especially helpful for B2B buyers since buying cycles tend to be long.

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Pros to retargeting: Great for keeping your brand top-of-mind and moving users further along the funnel. 

Cons to retargeting: Not a strategy for acquiring new visitors.

2) Display Ads 

Display ads, or sometimes called Banner Ads, are static image ads. These are the ads that you see when browsing the web, outside of social media or Google. Display ads can be run as a form of retargeting, so this is why you might see an ad for the eCommerce site you just visited pop up on your fav news site. Display ads can also be interest-based: i.e. getting an ad for allrecipes.com after browsing a few different sites for summer dinner planning.

Display ads on Google all run through what’s called the Google Display Network. This is a vast network of over 2 million websites that are connected to Google and able to display your ad. Google estimates that this network is able to reach up to 90% of the internet.

Here’s are some examples of display ads not based on retargeting.

B2b online advertising

Pros to Display Ads: Retargeting through display ads can be especially effective when retargeting.

Cons to Display Ads: Display ads usually have low click rates and are typically used for awareness campaigns.

3) Pay Per Click Ads

Pay per click, or PPC, is what the industry calls advertising within search engine results. These are the “paid results” you see on Google (or Yahoo or Bing, etc.) before the organic search results display. You will only pay for an ad if it gets clicked, and the amount you pay will vary greatly depending on your targeting.

B2B online advertising options

Pros to PPC: Effective way to get to the top of the search engine results and generate traffic. For B2B, traffic generated from PPC can be highly targeted.

Cons to PPC: Can be expensive depending on your targeted keywords and often requires a higher level of expertise to be effective.

4) Social Ads

b2b online advertising

Socials ads are advertising served on any social media platform. Facebook and Instagram ads can be managed together while Twitter and LinkedIn need to be done directly through their ad serving platforms. (Here are some tips on LinkedIn advertising.) Depending on your audience’s social media savviness, advertising on these platforms can be hugely successful. 

Here’s an example of a retargeting social ad. These shoes and the cellphone case are specific products I’ve reviewed recently.

Pros to Social Ads: Platforms range in expense but are generally cheaper than other options plus offer the ability to target very niche groups, especially when using LinkedIn for B2B online advertising purposes.

Cons to Social Ads: Focus is typically on visuals of ads and some platforms, like Instagram, have high aesthetics expectation. It can involve trial and error when getting started.

Targeting Options

1) Mobile

Ads served just to mobile users and not to desktop.

2) Native

Ads that blend into the environment and do not look like ads; typically on social media.

3) Geofencing

Targeting an ad to a specific geographical area- can be down to specific zip codes. If your company only services other organizations within a specific radius, geofencing your ads may be a smart move.

4) Dayparting

Only serving an ad during specific times of the day (such as business hours) to increase targeting based on persona search habits. This can increase relevance and click-throughs when talking about B2B online advertising specifically.

5) Exact Match

In PPC ads, exact match ads are only served when your exact keywords are searched (e.g. exact match for “Best revenue generation firm Twin Cities” won’t serve an ad for “Best revenue generation firm”).

6) Phrase Match 

In PPC ads, phrase match ads are served when there is a contextual match for your keywords. (e.g. phrase match for “Best revenue generation marketing firm” will not serve an ad for “Best revenue generation marketing firm Minneapolis ”).

7) Bid

The budget you’re willing to pay for your ad to display. Bids can be set by click, impression, and/or on a daily/monthly basis.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Paid Media KPIs

1) Impressions

How many people have seen your ad. Unique Impressions are the individual people who viewed your ad vs Total Impressions which counts each and every view independently, even if one person viewed your ad more than once.

2) Click or Clickthrough

The total clicks on your ad.

3) Clickthrough Rate

The percentage of impressions that received a click.

4) Cost per Click

How much you’re paying on average to receive a click on your ad.

5) Cost per Acquisition

The average cost you’re paying for a goal to be completed (a goal can be a purchase, a form submitted, etc.)

6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template.

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing open rate

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs of B2B email, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

Practical Ways to Implement A/B Testing on Conversion Funnels

A conversion funnel is what we call the path a user follows to convert on a landing page. You can read more about the basics here, but the parts that make up a conversion funnel are the CTA, Landing Page, Thank You Page, and the Thank You Email. As marketers and business people, we want people to convert, but sometimes our marketing underperforms or our guts say that good performance could be better. So then we test. Here are practical ways to implement A/B testing on conversion funnels and improve their performance. 

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing CTAs

CTA testing in HubSpot could not be any easier. By creating two versions of your CTAs- A and B- HubSpot will naturally serve the CTAs equally. When running multivariate CTA testing, we’re focusing the majority of our attention on the Click Rates because clicks are the main goal of a CTA. Submission rates are a secondary factor because they are mostly an indication of your landing page performance. The caveat here is relevance, though. High clicks and low submission rates can be an indication that the promise of your CTA is incongruent with that of your landing page. The messaging of one or the other may need to be adjusted. 

Not all leads are created equal! Download our Lead Scoring Guide to learn how to automate your lead qualification.

In this example, version A and B were created at the same time. After a few months of testing, both have nearly identical views, but the clicks on version B are a full percentage point higher. At this point, since we have a decent amount of data, it might be time to create a new version “A” to see if we can beat or at least match version B.

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing Landing Pages

HubSpot also makes implementing A/B testing on landing pages super easy. What you’re looking at when testing landing pages are submissions. WordStream tells us we want 10% or higher to be considered among the best. Some of the things you could vary are your headlines and copy. You can even try testing the medium of your offer- guide vs eBook vs infographic etc.- to see what your audience is more compelled to utilize.

One of the biggest advantages to A/B testing a landing page is to see how the length of a form affects your submissions. As marketers, we of course want as much data as we can get, but we also know that there’s a breaking point in what we request. High-value offers have a higher threshold for longer forms. To test, create two variants of your landing page- one with a shorter form and one with a more complex form- to find out where your persona’s threshold is. If you can get away with having a longer form and requesting more information without your submissions rates suffering, go for it.

If you’re not sure where to start with your landing page testing, you can try setting up heat mapping to see exactly how your users are interacting with your page. You might find people are leaving right away (a better headline or more appealing design, perhaps?) or abandoning the form (shorten that sucker up!). Bounce rates can also indicate where to start.

Bonus: are your landing pages optimized for SEO? Learn more about it here.

A/B Testing Thank You Pages

You create Thank You Pages (TYPs) variants the same way you do Landing Pages in HubSpot. So what are you looking for here? Engagement. You want people to access their offer (via a link or a button) and then go on to engage with the site. This is where you have the opportunity to move them through the funnel or charm them with delight. You can create full variants of your TYP or try testing a CTA within your TYP as we discussed above. 

A/B Testing Thank You Emails (Kind of)

Thank You Emails are the automated emails that send after a user submits a form. They can be set up directly on the landing page form or via a workflow. Unfortunately, you cannot implement A/B testing of automated emails in HubSpot. But, there are a few ways to get around it. What you want to measure by testing thank you emails are your open rates and click rates.

Lead Scoring Guide

Open rates are correlated to the strength of your subject line. To test, benchmark your current views and opens then manually make and publish your updates to the same email. Allow your updates to gather data and then measure performance against your benchmarked data. Rinse and repeat.

You can test the click rates in your thank you emails by creating multivariate CTAs as discussed in the CTA section above. You can also manually update the copy and hyperlinks to your “next step” offer (whatever action you’ve included in your TYE that you want your user to take next such as downloading a different offer or contacting you for a consult). Benchmark your stats and revisit often to check the efficacy of your updates. 

5 Types of Digital Marketing Audits: Must-ask questions to get your audit underway

When it comes to your digital marketing program (or at times, lack thereof) conducting a digital audit can be both eye-opening and exciting. Yes, we said exciting! From your website to your content to your tech stack, audits examine it all. The digital marketing audit is your ticket to finding out the state of the state and where the opportunity is for you to make a quick splash on your modern marketing and sales program.

The purpose of digital marketing audits is basically to inspect all the strategies, practices, and outcomes of what your business has been doing to establish and also improve your online presence. This allows you to see areas that are working well and areas that could use a little improvement.

So, if you think you could be squeezing more results out of your current marketing plan or are feeling a little in the dark about your tech stack, then this one’s for you. Here are the 5 types of digital marketing audits Lake One utilizes, along with some of the top probing questions we ask to kick off the process.

digital marketing audits

1. Google Analytics Audit

The primary purpose of a Google Analytics Audit is to walk-through your site’s tracking implementation and setup. It goes beyond just paid media although that does play a part. From conversion to clicks to time spent on your site, here are a few questions to ask yourself to get you started in the direction.

Questions to ask:

  1. What are you currently tracking? Are you tracking everything you need to be?
  2. Is the data you are collecting valid? Can you trust it and make decisions off of it?
  3. What are the holes? What would you like to be tracking that you aren’t?
  4. Does anything need to be fixed? Is tracking broken?
  5. Can reporting and/or tracking be consolidated to make the process cleaner?
types of marketing audits

2. Website Audit

The fact that you are reading this blog post is a strong indicator that you realize how important your website is, but in case you don’t, we’ll say it: your company’s website is uber important. A website should attract your potential customers and empower them with information, aide in their buyer’s journey, and most importantly, provide opportunities for conversion. Design is critical as well, but great sites contain more substance beyond aesthetics. 

At Lake One, we like to review websites for four main areas.

start digital marketing

Performance

Performance can mean can quite a few things but in a nutshell, this section means, “Does your website pass the blink test?” Not familiar with the blink test? Simply put, are you able to determine within five seconds the purpose of the site, digest some content, and know what steps to take next as a user. 

Questions to ask:

  1. Is the main value proposition clear? 
  2. Is the main navigation menu clear and accessible?
  3. Is there a clear conversion path? Do the conversion paths flow through the buyer’s journey from awareness through to decision?
  4. Are there relevant resources for web visitors? Are they accessible?
  5. Do users know what steps to take next?

Content & SEO Audit

Now we start getting into the nitty-gritty, the ‘substance’ of digital marketing audits that I was referencing earlier. 

Content

When reviewing a website for content, it should be two-fold with both online and offline content. Online content encompasses all of the posts, downloadables, etc. that are accessible by web visitors; offline encompasses all of the sales assets, one-pagers, etc. that may be archived internally.

Questions to ask:

  1. Does the site contain relevant keywords that align with a clear content & digital strategy?
  2. Is the content keyword-rich?
  3. Does the content appeal to different buyer personas?
digital marketing audits

SEO

We create content for people first and foremost. But content needs SEO love to fully reap the benefits of your hard work. SEO is an ever-present tactic we weave throughout all of our digital practices; however, at its most basic, we review from both the content and website construction itself. (Click here for info on finding the SEO keywords that will be the hardest work for you.)

Questions to ask:

  1. Do the relevant page titles, meta descriptions, URLs, etc use relevant keywords?
  2. Do the above elements follow SEO best practices for character count, structure, etc.?
  3. Are the images optimized for SEO as well?

Conversion

Websites must provide visitors with an opportunity to convert. A website that’s fully optimized for conversion goes beyond a learn more button and a contact us form. You can have all the website traffic in the world, but if the website isn’t converting, you’ve got a problem.

Questions to ask: 

  1. Are there conversion pages at various stages of the funnel?
  2. Are there any CTA opportunities being missed?
  3. Is it clear what steps a user needs to take to get that information they need to convert?

Is your website built for lead gen? Get the checklist.

3. Technical Audit

A site audit wouldn’t be complete without reviewing the technical implementation and output of the website. Have you ever sat and waited for images to load or content to render and given up? Sure, it might have been a slow glitch in your wifi, but it might not have been. Here’s what to look for when it comes to tech.

Questions to ask:

  1. What is the site speed?
  2. Is the design responsive?
  3. Does the design render well on mobile?
  4. Are there any crawl issues?
  5. Is there a sitemap?

4. HubSpot Audit

HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. It’s a powerful tool that when fully utilized, can propel your sales and marketing results forward. With all that being said, we love to look under the hood and look for ways to get more out of your HubSpot subscription. We look at the following and more:

  • Landing Pages
  • Forms/Form Fields
  • Thank You Pages
  • Personas 
  • Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
  • Nurture Sequences

When reviewing, first check if those functionalities are in use and then check performance. 

Questions to ask:

  1. How are the above elements performing? (conversion rates, submission rates, etc.)
  2. Are the nurture sequence emails targeted? What’s the enrollment criteria? Is it useful? Is someone checking those emails?

By the way, did we mention we are HubSpot Gold Partner? We just so happen to be experts in utilizing HubSpot and making it go the distance for your digital marketing program. Let’s chat.

5. Sales & Marketing Alignment Audit

We have written several pieces on the importance of Sales and Marketing alignment to achieve harmony among client-facing teams. When teams are aligned, it’s dynamite. However, when conducting the audit, think less along the lines of quick wins and more along the lines of building a strong foundation for long-term success. 

Questions to ask:

  1. Do teams have a common definition and understanding of key terms? (i.e. marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, etc.)
  2. Are teams targeting the same buyers?
  3. Are teams working towards the same goals?
  4. Are teams promoting the same products/services?
  5. Are teams creating content together?
  6. What is the lead handoff procedure?
  7. How does sales provide feedback on lead quality?
  8. Do teams have regular meetings?

For an in-depth look at the questions above, check out our post on How to Evaluation Sales and Marketing Alignment.

Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing Audits

The best way to move forward and to grow is to gain a complete understanding of where your company is at digitally. Even if you’re not looking to grow (but who isn’t?) no matter where you are at with your marketing, everyone can benefit from a digital marketing audit.

Lake One’s Favorite MarTech Tools for Making Life Easier

Part of the Lake One Modern Marketing philosophy reloves around utilizing a smartly crafted tech stack to research, execute, and analyze marketing. There are many tools we collectively use, but independently, we have a few front-runners that allow us to work smarter and harder. Here are our favorite MarTech tools for making life easier.

Related Reading: Insider Tips on Building a Marketing Tech Stack You’ll Actually Use

Ryan’s Top MarTech Tools

Keywords Everywhere

Keyword research can be laborious. With the Keywords Everywhere extension, it becomes part of all your activity. Some of the best features include seeing keyword data across multiple sites from search to Amazon. Set KW to highlight keywords at a certain volume, price, or competition threshold so you discover them quickly. Then, you can to add to and export lists. Keywords Everywhere is a marketing tool that makes research become part of regular internet browsing.

Marketing Tools

Ghostery

I’m a martech nerd. I love to know what tools are being used. With the Ghostery plugin, you can dissect a competitor’s marketing stack quickly by seeing what tags are installed. For me, I usually stumble upon a new tool once or twice a week worth exploring.

Want to know what it’s like working with Lake One? Give this blog a read.

Pixel

I was a long time iPhone user, since the first generation. A couple of years ago I converted. First, for battery life. I’m on the road a lot during the day with clients and prospects, so not needing to carrying a charging cord with me every second is huge. Second, with new generations of Pixels, they’ve built in spam tracking and call screening. Unfortunately, with number spoofing, it’s too easy for spammers to take up space in my voicemail. At a glance or with a call screen I can weed them out and not interrupt my day. Third, the camera/video is awesome. The Pixel makes for a great tool to produce quick content on the go.

Rachael’s Top MarTech Tools

Jing

I’ve had Jing installed on my machine for nearly a decade.

Jing makes taking and sharing screenshots a breeze, and in my opinion, is a must for those in client-facing roles. Why? Because of its ease of use and quick sharing capabilities. My favorite feature is the option to take a screenshot, annotate it, save it as a ‘copy’, and then share it simply by using “paste” vs having to save it to your computer and upload. You can paste it wherever you need it to go (in an email, in a slack conversation, google doc, and even in a text message).

Preview (Mac)

If you have a Mac, you’ve likely used Preview for one thing or another like viewing a picture or a PDF. But file viewing isn’t why Preview makes my list… It’s the ability to easily resize images for the web.

As best practice, images should ideally be under 500KB if possible, and Preview makes it happen with a few clicks. Simply click ‘Tools’ and then ‘Adjust Size’.  Voila. 

Marketing Tools

Slack

By definition, “Slack is a collaboration hub for work, no matter what work you do” and that’s pretty spot on.  The possibilities with Slack seem endless, but at Lake One, we use it for ideation, collaboration, and oftentimes, we share client updates. Here are a couple of our favorite features.

Channels: Slack allows you to sort your conversations by channels. On our #LakeOne channel, we often discuss our internal marketing efforts, like this blog, and team wins. 🙂

Integrations: Slack can integrate with several platforms (think HubSpot, HeyTaco, and Google Docs) and provide real-time updates.

Giphys: You can easily incorporate Giphys into your slack conversation and this feature alone has provided so many laughs. I may be biased, but our slack channel is pretty entertaining.

MarTech tools

In all seriousness though, Slack allows the ability for instant communication which is a must, especially for virtual teams.

Danielle’s Top MarTech Tools

Yoast

Yoast is a blog plugin for WordPress. There are so many reasons why this makes my favorite marketing tools list. First, without Yoast, there’s no way I can edit my meta description or SEO Title. Yoast allows me to do that- they call it the Snippet. In addition, I can enter in a “focus keyword”. By doing so, Yoast scans my post and helps guide my optimization process. I can get a snapshot of how well I’ve included my keywords through the blog, meta, and alt-texts. It gives suggestions to make the post more SEO-friendly by offering improvements and pointing out potential problems.

Marketing Tools

Additionally, Yoast offers a “readability” analysis. This tells me if any sections are too long, how the writing scores on the Fleche Reading Ease test, and if there are too little or too many transition words. It gives me an overall audit of how well the post is written. 

Related Reading: Must-Have Digital Marketing Technology to Facilitate SEO

Google Hangouts

Because, #ViturtalTeam. We use Google Hangouts for all of our internal meetings. We love it because we already use Google Calendar, so adding Hangouts is a simple extra step. We even have one specific Hangout URL bookmarked that we pull up for impromptu meetings or check-ins with each other. This saves our team a ton of time and allows us to connect via video chat to keep projects moving.

While we love Slack for instant chat, the voice and video calls can be glitchy, not always picking up on the microphone. Hangouts saves the day in reliability there, so it’s always our default for voice and video.

RiteTag

Whenever we start doing social media posting for a client, we conduct a hashtag analysis. We look at the hashtags they tend to use already and then brainstorm what we think would be beneficial for them based on their content strategy. I run those hashtags through RiteTag. RiteTag tells me how popular (or not) a hashtag is in three categories: get seen now, get seen over time, and don’t use. It also gives me related tags I can add to our list and allows me to decide what the better choice between two may be. For example, #DigitalAgency is good for long-term exposure whereas #DigitalAgencies is no bueno. #DigitalMarketing is a great choice to be seen now. RiteTag is a marketing tool every marketer should have bookmarked for easy access.

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Benefits of Working with a Virtual Marketing Agency

I set out to build Lake One to be, in a lot of ways, the anti-agency. I thought about all the bad experiences I had as an in-house marketer working with consultants, freelancers, and agency partners and wanted to make sure to instill in the values of our team – the opposite of those bad feelings. A lot of the reasons people choose to work with us, are because of that choice. But one I get asked about is the flexibility of our team. Our team is virtual. Not in the sense of AI & robots (although we use a lot of cool tools that are built with that power enabled), but virtual in the sense that our team works from all over the place. Sometimes, we lose business because of this and that’s okay. But I think the benefits of working with a virtual marketing department outweigh any of the perceived concerns. Here are a few benefits to consider when working with a virtual marketing agency.

working with a virtual marketing agency

Highly Productive

Let’s face it. The office environment is distracting. Random meetings coming up for absolutely no reason, that person who loves to stop by and talk your ear off. Sometimes it’s hard to get work done at work. Remote work arrangements increase productivity by removing distractions. Of course, at home, a coffee shop or coworking spaces can provide their own kind of distractions, but being in control of the space our team works in lets us be flexible to adapt to the tasks we need to accomplish.

Better Team Morale & Health

Because our team works remote and has more control over their days, we can fit things in that help reduce stress. Research has shown remote teams have a 44% higher positive attitude and 53% lower stress level. All of this leads to a happier, healthier life which bleeds into the work we do.

Reduced Costs

Because our infrastructure costs are lower, overhead is low. It’s amazing how much companies spend on overhead and those costs get passed through, especially in the services business. Because our costs don’t include fancy offices, we’re able to provide services at a more approachable price.

Okay, I get the benefits – but how do y’all dig in?

So maybe I have you sold on the benefits. But you’re wondering about our ability to strategize. After all, the work we do is highly important to your business. Do we even talk to each other about the accounts we’re working on? Let’s address some of the ways our team works together.

Program Management

First and foremost, program management is the hub by which internally we see where all projects are. Externally, clients can see how things are progressing. We’re constantly fine-tuning our processes around program management to be as transparent about what’s getting done, what’s getting stuck, and what’s coming up.

Virtual Marketing Agency Program Management

 

Daily Communication

We adopt an agile marketing approach and run daily standups with our team so we all know what we’ve worked on, what we’re our priorities are for the day, and what we need from others on the team. That’s a starting point. We also have daily sidebar conversation virtually and a series of carefully planned meetings internally to tackle things like business operations, ongoing innovation, and ad hoc client troubleshooting.

virtual standup

Client Communication

Aside from transparent communication via our program management, we regularly communicate with clients. Often daily. We have a structured meeting cadence and frequently meet face to face to tackle the big hairy strategic discussion.

Reporting

Internally, we have dashboards monitoring all accounts and reporting on progress on goals. At a glance, we know daily how our clients are progressing which allows us the insight to isolate problems or opportunities.

Put a Virtual Marketing Department to Work for You

At the end of the day, we’re not that much different than an agency with an office. We have some flexibility that gets our creative juices flowing – but we’re always driven by one thing. Success for our clients.

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