We get it. The idea of doing an annual review of your marketing is quite possibly the very last thing you want to tackle on your business to-do list. Not only does it seem time-consuming, but knowing where to get started can feel impossible. And that’s exactly why so many businesses decide to opt out of a review altogether, ready to leave the year behind and get focused on the year ahead.
Here’s the problem: Not doing a review leaves you not knowing what you need to do to make next year awesome.
So before you bid farewell to 2022, take time to run a B2B marketing annual review so that you know exactly where you stand. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there.” And, if the word “review” makes you think of the IRS knocking on your door, consider a gentler phrase – like a retrospective.
No matter which way you look at it (or what you call it), reviews take time – but that’s a good thing. Remember that with the time you invest right now, learning about your business is the best way to gain direction and leverage (the kind that will help you meet all of your upcoming goals). Once you know which type of review is right for you, you’ll discover that there are plenty of tools that will help you gather and organize all of the information you need.
Marketing Review or Website Review?
While there are a variety of different B2B marketing annual reviews, each capable of providing a different set of information, all business reviews result in one thing: real data that shows you where you are and the path to where you are going. In general, there are two different types of reviews that businesses use, marketing reviews and website reviews. Pick one…or both!
Let’s first start by taking a look at the benefits of an in-depth marketing review:
Benefits of In-Depth Marketing Reviews
Doing a marketing review can help you recognize patterns so that you can better plan, implement, and manage your marketing budget. When you start to analyze how your marketing strategy is actually working, you’ll be better able to answer questions like:
- Am I spending money as intelligently as possible?
- What exactly is the ROI for each type of strategy being implemented?
- Which high-potential marketing tactics are currently being under-utilized or overlooked?
A marketing review will highlight all of your business’s best practices, giving you insight into what’s actually working with your audience. In other words, it takes the guesswork out of your marketing strategy and leaves you with a clear vision of what needs to be done.
Similarly, a marketing review showcases exactly what’s not working with your current marketing efforts. Knowing this can prevent your business from wasting money on fruitless or ineffective tactics next year.
A marketing review reveals opportunities for your business and brand, showing you where to make smart investments.
The information collected during a marketing review acts as the cornerstone of next year’s marketing strategy by providing clear, actionable steps with an increased potential for ROI.
And then there’s a website review. Somewhat similar to a marketing review, the biggest difference is that a website review focuses only on what’s going on with your website and its performance. Below are some of the biggest benefits of running an end-of-year website review:
Benefits of Website Reviews
A website review looks at a variety of data sets, including the content on your website as well as the technical performance of your site.
A website review provides you with an in-depth look at the overall framework and infrastructure of your website’s technical features. This information can give you answers to questions like:
- Do search engines like my website?
- Do people find what they’re looking for on my website?
- Is navigation simple on my website?
When you run a website review, you learn where you can improve your SEO. If you’re overlooking a great opportunity to boost your ranking, a website review can help you find it. At the same time, a website review can show you where your current SEO tactics have failed.
An in-depth website review can give you the information you need to optimize your website for your user. It turns out, search engines actually like your website more when you build it for a real user – not a crawling spider.
Website reviews also help you better understand how well your site is working when it comes to generating leads and converting visitors. This data will also show you where you can refocus your attention in order to improve the way your website generates leads and money.
Website reviews keep your audience happy by finding broken links, page errors, corrupted data, missing features, etc.
Website reviews also ensure that you’re compliant with all of the latest online requirements, including new privacy policies determined by the GDPR.
Are there different ways to do reviews?
Yes. In fact, there are millions of different ways to do an end-of-year review, which is exactly why so many business owners get frustrated and skip it altogether. How you run your review will depend on a lot of factors, but really it should all boil down to one important question: What do you want to learn?
Even though it can feel overwhelming, the meat and potatoes of reviews are actually pretty simple. When you focus your attention on the question, “What do I want to learn,” you begin to see clearly which type of review is right for you. For example, if your biggest question right now is, Which social media channels can I eliminate and which should I pay more attention to?, a social media review makes the most sense. If, on the other hand, you need to know how to optimize your website, then a competitive website review could be your best bet. Remember, trust your instinct about what’s right, and ask a professional for insight and guidance if you’re finding yourself struggling to make a decision.
What are the different types of reviews?
The best way to know how you should run your review is to first start by knowing specifically which type of review your business needs. While far from comprehensive, we’ve focused on the most helpful types of reviews within each of the two major categories to help you zero in and get started.
The Comprehensive Marketing Review
Because this review is so in-depth, many businesses choose to use an external agency in order to make sure nothing is overlooked. At the beginning of this type of review, all of your marketing objectives will be mapped out, including the current strategies and activities you’re implementing, as well as the results you are getting. The ultimate goal of a comprehensive marketing review is to make sure your end goal is being achieved – and that your budget isn’t being wasted.
The Overview Marketing Review
Done from a higher perspective, this type of review reviews your overall marketing philosophy and then checks to see which marketing efforts best align with the vision. An overview review can help businesses improve their branding and messaging by offering cohesion.
The Strategic Marketing Review
This review will look specifically at all of the marketing strategies that are being used, providing you with real data that shows what is working – and what’s not. The insights gained from taking a closer look at all of your different strategies can help you discover where you should focus your energy and budget next year.
The Efficiency Marketing Review
Your marketing budget is a big deal – even if it’s small. Looking at the efficiency of your spending can help you make better decisions in the upcoming year. Even if you got a return on a campaign or strategy, was it the best use of your time and resources?
The Persona Review
Knowing who you are talking to in your advertising is the key to making it effective. As you look at which campaigns and strategies were most effective in last year, begin to develop a clear vision of who your avatar or ideal customer is. This type of clarity can inform all of your upcoming marketing decisions.
The Marketing Tool Review
Are you using all of the best marketing tools available? Are you paying for tools that are ineffective or that you don’t use to their full potential? This type of review not only saves you money by cutting down on unnecessary expenses, but it ensures that you’re up-to-date with all of the latest technology and trends.
The Competitor Website Review
One of the more comprehensive reviews you can run for your business, a competitive review gives you a closer look at what your competitors are doing in order to rank and convert. Often heavily focused on SEO, this type of review will show you the best keywords to target and reveal secrets to better-ranking pages. Highlighting what your website is doing well and, specifically what your toughest competitors are doing right, this review will give you the knowledge you need to replicate your industry’s best practices throughout your site.
The Technical Website Review
Running a more technical review of your website will give you an insider’s look at the inner workings of your site. You’ll learn exactly how long it takes pages to load, how many tags you are using, and which navigation cues work the best so that you can optimize for SEO and user experience.
The Website Content Review
By looking at all of the content on your website, from the obvious home page to hidden meta information, a content review is one of the best ways to improve your website’s SEO dramatically. Not only will you learn which type of content is most effective for your audience, but you’ll see which keywords you’re underutilizing so that you can take advantage of missed opportunities. Ultimately, you’ll end up with a comprehensive roadmap of all of the content on your website so that you can create a strategic game plan for which areas need to be optimized, revised, created, or deleted altogether.
The Lead Conversion Optimization Review
If one of your major goals for next year is to improve overall website conversion, then this super-specific review is the right choice. The data collected from this review will demonstrate where you are missing out on opportunities to convert visitors, including any technical issues that can get in the way of them ultimately giving you their money. Looking at the usability of each page and areas where you can improve the customer’s overall experience can dramatically improve how well your CTAs and buttons convert.
The Social Media Review
If you’re spending any of your business’s budget (or any of your personal time) on social media, then running a social media review is a must. Posting content, even when it’s consistent, can be a complete waste of time and money if you don’t know what type of content your audience wants. Looking at the analytics of your current social media strategy, including engagement, hashtags, and headlines, will show you where you need to focus your energy. Creating an educated plan with a targeted focus for your social media marketing will allow you to see improved results. Looking at your competition will also give you useful insight.
Which type of review should I do?
Ultimately, it always comes back to what you need to know. While you can try to perform several of the reviews listed above, it really is best to focus on what’s most important for your business right now. Knowing which information will provide you with the best insight for propelling your business forward will make sure that your time isn’t wasted.
Looking for help?
The awesome team at Seventh Scout is happy to work with you to develop an end-of-year review strategy specific to your business’s needs. We can talk through your business needs and review the different reports and reviews that would work best for your business. You’ll get all of the information you need so that you can move into next year with confidence (and still have time to get to that holiday party everyone’s been talking about)!