Last week, I've been invited by the Luxembourg Business Angel Network to animate one of their "Lunch and Learn" session. To do so, I had prepared an original keynote on how to assess the marketing effectiveness of a company before investing into it.
But before I start listing you the tips I've prepared, you can download the slides right here.
Tip 1 - Is the budget Agile?
One thing that's sure, is that marketing a company is a long haul. Therefore, the first thing you should look at is how their efforts are structured. Do they plan for 2 years in advance and "guess" how the future will look like or do they approach their marketing efforts in a more agile way?
I don't know about you, but I don't take my business decisions based on hypothesis, and no marketing team, with so many data available, should.
That's why my first tip is to look how they plan their budget? Yearly or per cycle?
We don’t want to base our decision on hypothesis. Therefore, the planning has to be agile. Here are the steps to follow:
- Define your cycle length (6 to 8 weeks) - we call them Sprints
- Define the effort available for a Sprint (Money and time)
- Plan accordingly and always focus on the task that will have the biggest expected impact with the smallest effort needed.
- Plan and measure what’s working and what’s not to adapt for the next sprints.
Tip 2 - Define the Status Quo
Once you understood how they manage their marketing, it's time to dig into Google Analytics and define their Status Quo.
- Number of sessions per month
- Number of visitors per month
- % of New sessions
You also need to analyze the following KPI’s to know if the website is solving your visitors’ needs:
- Bounce rate (if higher than 60%-75%, it can tell us that people are not getting what they expected or that we attracted the wrong kind of people).
- Average session duration
Tip 3 - Define the Traffic quality
It is easy to cheat with traffic metrics. Therefore, you need to dig deeper and assess the traffic quality especially by analyzing 2 metrics:
- Geographical origin: If the major part of your traffic is coming from Egypt or Pakistan and those countries are not in your target market, it is highly possible that the traffic quality is bad and could originate from click farms.
- Conversions: You need to track actions done by your visitors. In other words, are people buying on my website? Are people requesting appointments?
Bonus Pro Tip - Properly Configure G.Analytics
Follow this Pro Tip to properly configure Google Analytics to filter out SPAMs and make sure you get the cleanest data to base your decisions upon.
Tip 4 - Check the current audience
It is important to check if the company already has an audience - meaning how many people could the company communicate to tomorrow? To evaluate the audience, simply sum up their email lists and social networks following.
Tip 5 - Test the quality of the email list
No matter the size of their email lists, ask them how did they get those email addresses? If they are bought online, forget about them. You need quality mailing lists! If they have already sent emails to those lists, make sure that the unsubscribe rate is under 1% on average.
For a few dollars, I'd advise you to get their email lists through a tool called Kickbox. Kickbox is a tool that will test the quality of your email lists. It will send an HTML request to the mail servers of each email and check if the email is valid, not blacklisted, etc.
Bonus Pro Tip - Does you emails pass the Spam filters?
Use Mail Tester, it's free, to test the spamyness of your emails. You'll get a score on 10 and advices to improve it.
Tip 6 - Check the quality of the social media following base
Just like you did for your traffic, to check the quality of the following base, you need to calculate the engagement rate of one or a bunch of posts: the total figure of interactions on a post divided by the number of followers of the account multiplied by a hundred. The higher, the better!
In addition, make sure that they are not buying “Likes”. It is the worst thing to do as it will significantly reduce the engagement rate and therefore limit all your posts reach.
Tip 7 - Check the website’s performance
Performance of your site is non negotiable. You absolutely need to assess your website’s performance with GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights. With a fast website, you will get better rankings in search engines. Make sure the website loads under 3 seconds.
Tip 8 - SEO Site Checkup
Search Engine Optimization is not something you do once and forget about. It should be part of everything you put online. To see how the prospect company is doing, use SEO Site Checkup to run a complete audit of the website's SEO.
Tip 9 - Check if the competition do search Ads
Type in keywords related to the company in Google and analyze the results. If you see ads, it's a good and a bad news. On the one hand, it means that this request has interest which is good but on the other hand, it means that it will cost you more to show ads for these requests because of competition.
Tip 10 - Are they running ads on social media platforms?
It's even easier to see if competitors run ads on social media. For Facebook, you can check it here. For LinkedIn, simply go to the “Ads” section of any company page. Doing this might help to create future campaigns.
Bonus Pro Tip - Hotjar
Most tools out there will help you get quantitative data. To get qualitative data and see how people behave on your site, you should use Hotjar. It will show you where people click on your website, how far down they scroll, etc. You can even record visitors to learn how to improve your website depending on users’ behaviour.
There you are, 13 tips to evaluate the marketing effectiveness of a company. If you think I forgot one, don't hesitate to tell me on Linkedin.