The Components of a Basic Inbound Marketing Assessment

By Scott Anderson Miller

Because an inbound marketing assessment (IMA) provides a deeper, more thorough assessment than a website grader, it is more actionable. It also requires more effort. In addition to grading and analyzing your website, it defines a baseline for most or all of your current digital marketing connected to your website from which you may measure your future inbound marketing success.

An IMA measures your inbound marketing efforts against key performance indicators (KPIs). Your IMA measures differences between inbound marketing strategies and conversion metrics in greater depth so you’ll know where to best focus your inbound marketing activities.

At its core, inbound marketing is about forming connections. An IMA reports how well your marketing connects at multiple levels. This includes:

  • Technological connections such as Google Analytics, marketing automation software, and sales CRM connections

  • Internal connections such as combined marketing/sales reporting and measurable return-on-investment (ROI) from marketing efforts.

  • Consumer connections such as unique visits generated, leads captured, and customers won.

A basic IMA may be performed internally and outlines gaps between how your marketing connects with prospects and customers at each stage of the Purchase Funnel. It measures your strengths and weaknesses in connecting with prospective customers at several points in their purchase path:

  • Top-of-funnel gaps — where consumers research

  • Middle-of-funnel gaps — where consumers shop

  • Bottom-of-funnel gaps — where consumers buy

You can perform a basic IMA yourself; however, a comprehensive IMA performed by a professional provides deeper insight into any inbound marketing performance gaps. Many marketing firms even provide a limited basic IMA for free as an introduction to their more robust IMA paid offering. At any rate, a proper professional IMA provides actionable marketing discoveries, and the resulting recommended marketing tactics may be executed by the firm performing the IMA, by a different marketing firm, or by you.

Many inbound marketing firms also provide an IMA score or grade that includes the following metrics:

  • Attraction gaps and recommendations: Are your paid search, Google rankings, and content marketing attracting the ideal prospects?

  • Nurturing gaps and recommendations: Is your website organized for easy navigation, providing content that form an inviting, intuitive path to conversion toward a purchase?

  • Conversion gaps and recommendations: Does your website have enough onsite and landing page conversion point opportunities?

  • Analytics and reconversion gaps and recommendations: Are you effectively measuring inputs that directly and positively affect your ability to create your ultimate end conversion?

  • Composite score for four components of inbound marketing: How does your inbound marketing rate compare versus your competitors and against KPIs?

Most organizations don’t have the in-house tools to perform an objective IMA on themselves. So, if you’re considering hiring a professional firm to perform a comprehensive paid IMA, check first to see if that firm will perform a basic free IMA. Even though the results aren’t as comprehensive, you’ll glean useful information while gauging the professionalism of the firm providing the initial IMA.

An example of a basic IMA report.

An example of a basic IMA report.

A multitude of marketing firms offer this service. The results from even a free IMA require explanation, so there’s usually a 30-minute telephone consultation associated with a free IMA to explain the results. You can find a free IMA that scores your efforts on a 100-point scale here: Inbound Marketing Matters.