Marketers often become obsessed with one area of their funnels, and as a result, end up leaving other essential segments of their funnel neglected or downright ignored. Typically, that obsession is centered around lead generation, which, while necessary, is only one section of an entire lifecycle that can be leveraged for growth. Typically, the need for an audit arises because a desired outcome isn’t being achieved. Perhaps you’re doing a great job bringing in leads, but they just aren’t converting. Maybe your leads are converting, but your churn rate is unreasonably high and unsustainable compared to the number of new customers coming in. While there are plenty of reasons for needing an audit, it’s worth noting that even if you don’t see an issue currently, that doesn’t mean one isn’t slowly creeping up, ready to surface and become a problem. A growth marketing audit is essential to every business and should be performed at least quarterly (though an annual audit should suffice also). Focus your audit on the entire lifetime value of your customers so that you’re able to deploy tactics and strategies that will improve not just the value of your initial sales, but also the frequency and number of purchases in the future.

How to Perform a Growth Marketing Audit

Building and performing an internal growth marketing audit is all about creating a better understanding of your business and ensuring your growth strategy actually works. To do that successfully, you’ve got identify not only strengths, but weaknesses and bottlenecks in each stage of your funnel:

Awareness

Are you using the right channels? While you might start with a shotgun approach to building awareness, over time you should be able to determine your top three channels. Typically, this boils down to reading and understanding your analytics and figuring out what’s driving traffic to your landing pages. If you’re using social media marketing, it should be easy to see which sites have the largest audience, are getting the most engagement, and ultimately, are driving the most traffic. From there, you can determine which blog posts are getting the most shares, ranking higher, and driving traffic. Once you have a clear picture of what’s working and what isn’t, you can then confidently pull all your resources from lackluster channels and put everything into your top three. Tools like BuzzSumo can be especially helpful in determining what works for your company and what’s working for the competition. Are your public relations in order? Consumers are smart and resourceful these days. Not only are they reading all about your product and what it can do, they’re also reading case studies, reviews, and rants all over social media and review sites to find the dirt on your company’s shortcomings. Bad press and bad reviews should be addressed and fixed (if possible) routinely and in a timely manner. Some great tools for this are The Brand Grader or the more robust Mention, both of which help you keep tabs on your company’s online reputation.

Interest 

Is your lead nurturing and relationship building approach working? A whopping 65% of marketers don’t have an established process for lead nurturing. Without proper nurturing, leads will either grow stale or straight up opt-out, which can lead to huge bottlenecks and wasted marketing resources. Nobody wants that. The best and most cost-effective, way to nurture leads is with marketing automation. In fact, companies using marketing automation to nurture leads  see a 451% increase in qualified leads on average, along with a 53% higher conversion rate. Tools like Mailshake allow you to send automated follow-up emails, see who’s opening and interacting with your email content, and schedule meetings with the right integrations. All on autopilot. What cache of content do you provide to lure prospects closer to conversion? A harsh reality is that consumers no longer need salespeople to make educated decisions about buying. Sure, there are intricate details only a seasoned salesperson can provide, but the majority of people do in-depth research and read about your product before they ever talk to you. What kind of content is out there related to your product or service? High-quality content is a sensational tool for lead nurturing and building trust. While it’s important to put out your own content, you shouldn’t neglect the added credibility that comes from a third-party. Nobody likes to hear someone talk about themselves or their product, which is why teaming up with industry groups, professional associations, content review sites, and macro and micro-influencers is so important.

Conversion

Is it easy to say yes? If you aren’t making it easy to say yes, then you may be repelling potential customers. Offering freemium products, free-trials, cancel at any time offers, and money-back guarantees can boost conversions because transparency is captivating, genuine, and charming. On the other hand, lengthy, constrictive contracts or  jargon-rich terms of agreement can give people anxiety and doubts about purchasing. During your audit, make an effort to make signing-up or purchasing as easy as possible. Eliminate doubts, tweak the user experience (UX), and get feedback from actual customers for best results. Are your conversions increasing month-over-month? “You’re either growing or you’re dying” is a harsh, but true statement. Conversion numbers should always be improving, even incrementally – otherwise, you’re doing something wrong. Not only should you be comparing conversions to last month, but historically from the prior year as well so you can track trends and seasonality. Finding a way to grow, even by a small percentage, every month has the potential to compound exponentially over time. For example, Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, wrote that a 10% growth per week will result in 142x growth in 12 months. That type of incremental growth for a company with 1,000 users would mean 142,000 users in a year.

Loyalty 

Are customers responding to the onboarding experience that you provide? Successful onboarding means your client is ready to use your product, feels supported, and has a plan in place to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish by purchasing your product. Some ways to tighten up the onboarding experience are sending out Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys at the end of onboarding, tracking initial usage metrics, and scheduling “check-in” calls or emails at key moments post onboarding. Depending on the size of your operation it can also be useful to assign them a dedicated Product Success Manager to act as their single point of contact through initial usage stages. An assigned role like that can help get over the initial hurdle of learning to use your product and provides a more turnkey experience. Where are you upselling and providing further value? There’s inherent stickiness is providing your customers with multiple products and services – especially if they integrate well and come with a bundled discount. Doing so makes it difficult to switch brands or cancel their service with you because doing so would require they find a new supplier for all their different needs. If you struggle with this question, brainstorm possible ways you can create further value to your customers. What other adjacent lines of business could you offer? What features could be stacked on top of your current offering?  What mechanisms are in place for consumer feedback? It’s crucial to find a way for customers to provide feedback during onboarding and after. When using your product, customers are more like to stay loyal if they know where they can get advice, repairs, support, etc. in a timely manner. One way to do this is to strategically offer an NPS survey at key intervals. Post-onboarding is an excellent place to start. Another is after interactions with your customer success team to make sure issues and questions were promptly and adequately resolved. Finally, offer these surveys throughout the year at regular intervals to determine customer satisfaction and track at risk-clients who may be in need of further touches and nurturing.

Advocacy

Does your product live up to expectations? If your customer success department is slammed, your churn rate is higher than the industry standard, or the review boards are riddled with negative reviews, it could be time for your executive team and product engineers to take a step back and revisit key areas of your product or business. Perhaps you’re targeting the wrong type of consumer. For example, some companies roll into key account and enterprise solutions too early and can receive backlash from customers for not living up to expectations. Alternatively, perhaps your company has grown and is now better suited for larger accounts which leaves small businesses feeling like your product is too complex or too pricey. Is your customer service up to par? Poor customer service is arguably the number one reason you’re going to receive bad reviews and resistance when it comes to creating promoters. It’s common sense. If your customers don’t feel adequately supported it will be difficult for them to recommend your product. Potential remedies can include offering other ways to contact customer support like live chat or rolling out an enhanced onboarding and training program. Finding a balance between being cost-effective and offering a world-class support department is tricky, but well worth the effort.

Running a Growth Marketing Audit

A periodic growth marketing audit is essential if you want to know whether your growth strategy is working or not. Break it down by funnel stage and try to keep a neutral perspective on the results. Make decisions based on hard evidence, clear data, and customer feedback rather than “going with your gut” and make sure the changes you implement have elements of quick wins and plans for long-term sustainable growth. A growth marketing audit can be an eye-opening experience. What changes have you implemented that had the biggest impact on growth for your company? Tell us your answer or share your story in the comments below: