Most of the time in business, we can see why certain issues occur. Perhaps a spate of poor PR has caused a downturn in sales or a period of high employee turnover caused a reduced quality in product and service. However, when it comes to brand growth, it is often not very clear why it has hit a rocky patch. If this ever happens to your brand, there’s one solution to get to the bottom of things: a digital brand audit.
As well as helping you get to the root of the problem, a digital brand audit will also perform a full service on your brand, showing you exactly what it is that needs to be done to stand out from competitors. For a brand that has never performed a digital brand audit before, it can be tricky knowing where to start. In this guide, we’ll cover all the basics so that you end up with a full idea of exactly how your brand is performing.
Why Carry Out a Digital Brand Audit?
Figure Out Your Brand’s Position in the Market
Once you’ve done the digital audit, you’ll see where your brand positioning in terms of search and social media engagement. This will help you understand your ranking against competitors for your niche audience.
See Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Branding
Around 50-90% of marketing strategies fail. That’s a high failure rate so you need to establish which initiatives aren’t worth your time. The digital brand audit will give you an insight into the ones that are best suited to your own brand.
Align Your Products and Services with Your Target Audience
You should already know all the benefits of defining your target audience. Knowing the people who are more likely to purchase from you will help with targeting your branding and marketing. Carrying out a digital brand audit will ensure that all your efforts are definitely aligned with the right audience and that they’re having the desired effect.
Understand Brand Perception
How does your target audience view your brand? It’s important to know this, as this can help you tweak your marketing and branding while also fine-tuning products and services. Your digital brand audit might even flag that a rebranding is necessary to overhaul your audience’s perception.
Your digital brand is more than just your website. It’s also your logo, social media platforms, reports, and all your brand’s other online presence. Because there are so many different fragments that make up a brand, it’s easy for inconsistencies to slip in. Any inconsistency within your brand can cause confusion among your target audience. Thankfully, a digital brand audit will help establish a base for your brand so that there is perfect consistency throughout your brand’s digital presence.
How to Perform a Digital Brand Audit
Put a Digital Brand Audit Framework in Place
As with most things, good planning is key to a successful digital brand audit. Building a framework is the perfect plan as you’ll see all the aspects of the brand that need to be audited and how you will go about it.
So, first of all, make a list of everything that needs to be audited. This will likely include things like your website, target market, competitors’ performance, and products or services. There are other things that might be useful to your audit too. For example, as 73% of consumers love brands with helpful customer service, you might even want to include your own customer service as part of the audit. If it can help improve your brand, then it needs to be included as part of the framework.
Analyze Your Social Media
How is your social media looking? One of the most important things is that your brand needs to be completely consistent across all profiles. This has been shown to improve revenues by up to 23%. So if your brand looks different on each platform, this needs to be urgently addressed.
Making sure all social media profiles are consistent is the main part of auditing your socials, but there are some other things that need carrying out too, such as checking all links in bios to ensure they aren’t broken or lead to outdated URLs. Now is also the time to reevaluate your hashtag and content strategy. Could there be new hashtags that are suitable for your brand? Is our content-posting strategy frequent enough to maintain a flow of traffic from socials to your website?
Now is also the time to check on your influencer marketing. Was yours one of the 65% of influencer marketing budgets that grew in 2020? If so, you’ll need to make sure that all that extra spending is going on the right influencers. If the influencers you’re using aren’t engaging your audience correctly, then it’s time for a rethink.
Focus on Website and Analytics
Your website will be incredibly important to your brand. After all, it’s like your home on the internet and will be where you want to direct your target audience. Even though you should be scrutinizing it on a regular basis, it’s still important to include it in your digital brand audit.
Website conversion rates drop by 4.42% with each additional second of loading after the first five seconds. If yours is loading slowly then this is something that needs addressing. Otherwise, you’re pretty much turning away potential customers.
Don’t forget to rule out any inconsistencies in the site’s design. If it looks different from the branding design on your socials, white papers, and the rest of your online presence then it needs to change. It takes around five to seven brand impressions for a customer to remember you, so any inconsistencies in the design could make it incredibly difficult for you to stick in their head.
Let’s not forget about looking at brand analytics either. If your analytics look healthy and are consistently growing, then it shows your brand is gaining in popularity. And that’s what we like to see!
But large amounts of web traffic aren’t always a good thing. For instance, if all that traffic isn’t coming from your target geographical market, then you likely won’t be growing any sales. Take the time to analyze your traffic—where it’s coming from and the demographics that it consists of. If these don’t match your target audience, it’s time to alter some of your marketing strategies.
One final thing to look at is your site’s bounce rate. This rate shows how quickly people leave your site after landing on it. The higher your bounce rate, then the less time people are spending on your site. This could be for various reasons: perhaps they navigated there by mistake; your site’s navigation might not make it easy for them to find what they’re after, or perhaps your site loaded far too slowly. If your rate is fairly high, it’s important to see how you can bring it down and persuade people to spend as long as possible on your site.
Take Your Target Audience’s Viewpoint
What does your target audience think about your brand? Carrying out a digital brand audit will let you know. As customer experience is the top priority of businesses for the next five years, it’s important to include this analysis in your audit.
The easiest way to see your audience’s viewpoint is to just ask them about it. After all, brand analytics can show you so much, but questioning your target audience directly will give you their honest view.
There are various ways you can do this, from running online polls to running brand tracking. You’ll be able to ask whatever you want, such as whether a customer would recommend your brand to their friends and family or what they think the weaknesses of your brand are. It’s also worth finding out how your customers differentiate your brand from all your competitors. This should show you how and why your brand is standing out and whether it’s successfully attracting your target audience away from competitor brands.
As part of seeing things from your customers’ point of view, it’s also a good idea to do some UX testing. Are your website and apps benefiting customers in the way you expect? If not, it could be costing you customers as 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.
Don’t forget to also test out the security and privacy of your site too. On average, there is an attack every 39 seconds on a site. You need to make sure that your site doesn’t fall foul to one of these attacks otherwise your customers’ data and privacy could be at risk.
Check the Market
How are you performing next to the competition? Answering this question should give you an idea of where your brand is placed in the online market and whether your branding is standing up to that of your competitors.
To get an initial idea of your brand’s positioning, using a brand tracker, should give you an idea of how well your brand is performing in your specific industry.
There are other benefits that come with checking the market. For instance, you’ll also find out the keywords that your competitors are targeting. Uncovering this should show you whether you are targeting the right ones for your niche and if there are any others you could jump onto. Plus, you’ll also see which keywords your competitors are neglecting to target—perfect for you to use as they won’t be so saturated.
Analyze Your Findings and Take Necessary Action
The final part of your digital brand audit should be to finalize an action plan so that you and your team know how you can move forward with all this new information.
Found a few problems with your brand? List them down and come up with some actionable points for each one. That way your whole team will understand what needs to be done, and they will have a structured plan to work through.
Keep this plan close even once all the points have been actioned—you’ll be able to return to it when monitoring your efforts to ensure that your brand is on course for improving.
As a digital brand audit is required fairly frequently, it’s worth keeping hold of these old reports as you’ll be able to reflect on the growth and improved overall health of your brand.
Every brand needs to carry out a thorough digital brand audit. Whether you think your brand is performing well or could do with some polishing, it’s worth taking the time to analyze it as you’ll never be quite sure what might be thrown up.
A strong brand is key to success in any niche or online market. Following all the steps above will bring some clarity and point the way to an even better brand that stands out from competitors, delivers a more streamlined customer experience, performs well in the digital sphere.