With an ever-changing digital world, and the shortening attention span of consumers, it’s crucial to regularly assess your marketing efforts—such as strategic planning, social media, content marketing, email marketing and measurement. Routinely monitoring these activities keeps your education marketing strategy on target. What you did a year, or even three months ago, is likely different than what you’ll need three months from now. After completing a marketing audit, you’ll be in a better position to develop laser-focused channel-by-channel strategies for each stage of the buying cycle.
To begin your marketing audit, choose a substantial time period ranging from 6 months to a year. We recommend reviewing an entire year’s worth of data to evaluate the seasonal fluctuations in the school buying cycle. Once you’ve determined the time period, gather a wide variety of materials for the audit. Include website pages, blog posts, social media content, email marketing messages, print collateral, and so on. Anything with your company or product logo is fair game.
When you’re analyzing the assets, detail and quantify the following information:
- Type of content: Is it a landing page? Newspaper or social media ad? Designating a content type will allow you to evaluate volume, compare and contrast similar assets and identify gaps where you may need to create more content.
- Word count: This figure can demonstrate whether short and snappy content is getting more engagement than your longer, more in-depth technical product pieces. Word count analysis across the same types of content will indicate which length is more effective with certain audiences.
- Audience: What if you are selling a product to school principals but your content focuses on topics more relevant to a classroom teacher? Analyze each piece of content to determine if your voice and messaging are in sync with the desires, concerns and needs of your intended and primary audience.
- Buyer’s journey stage: Which area in the buyer’s journey does this content most speak to? Awareness? Consideration? Decision? Advocacy? Map your content to the buyer’s journey to create a logical expository progression that answers the questions encountered during each stage.
- Analytics: One of the more crucial pieces of the puzzle is reviewing the performance of your collateral.
- Website: This piece of the puzzle takes pre-planning to set up your Google Analytics to gather the appropriate website data for the time period under audit. Some of the most important metrics to evaluate are pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on the page, bounce rate and the exit rate. Each paints a picture of the user’s journey when engaging with your website.
- Social Media: Evaluate impressions, engagement rate, link clicks, as well as your posting frequency and use of visual elements.
- Print: Assigning performance points to print materials is tricky, but it’s a valuable exercise to assess the messaging surrounding them, and if they’re reaching your intended audience.
- Media Relations: The data available for media relations efforts is more robust than ever. Our clients receive first-class information for their media relations efforts with our preferred program, TrendKite, which tracks metrics like coverage type, referral traffic, social amplification, sentiment and more. Monitoring these variables daily is important for assessing the performance of your company and products, especially when a crisis surfaces.
Once the data is compiled, you can analyze your marketing toolbox. We recommend creating graphics and charts in Excel or Google Sheets to visualize the data. Some of our favorite visualizations are:
- Total Content Assets by Primary Audience
- Buyer’s Journey Stage by Primary Audience
- Each Content Type by Primary Audience
- Each Content Type by Buyer’s Journey Stage
- Social Media Impressions by Primary Audience
- Social Media Content by Primary Audience
Taking a big-picture look at the purpose your marketing collateral serves, and whether it is successful, will allow you to refine future campaigns and strategies so you to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. This exercise will yield three to five key takeaways for your next marketing plan that will help prioritize which items are most important, and which areas to focus on next. It also will help determine if what you’re doing is beneficial, or needs to be re-evaluated.
See how we helped Teaching Tolerance with an audit to improve its education marketing strategy in this case study. If a marketing audit piques your interest, we’re here to help! Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.