In the early days of my website design business, I decided to create a website audit to use to get people to sign up for my email newsletter. To be fair, it never really resulted in a lot of business. I think that was mostly because the wrong people received the audits.
I think audits are a fantastic top of funnel service. You can use a website audit for enticing people to your email list; however, it may be best that you have established a relationship with them first.
If you choose to use a website audit as a lead generation tactic, you will need to think about it strategically.
For example. Are you going to do a deep dive type of report with a ton of information that takes a few hours to complete? If so, giving that away for free is not the best use of your time.
When I was performing these website audits, I used a checklist that I had created. Later, I would use the checklist plus something like WooRank to run the SEO part. In fact, I would run the SEO audit and then go back and manually confirm what the automatic report generated.
When conducting a website audit, there are three ways you can use them for your customer: as a freebie, as a paid engagement, and as a yearly checkup.
Let’s break these down.
Using a website audit as a free report
If you are going to use your website audit as a free report that helps you get email subscribers, you need to keep in mind the time you use to generate the report.
Now, I believe if you are using a freebie to get email subscribers, you should put as much value into the content as you can. Adding value to your freebie often means plenty of upfront work.
How many times have you downloaded a PDF and been disappointed? Even more, how many downloaded PDFs do you have in a folder somewhere that you never read?
It is a balancing act to be sure. You want to create something that is worthy of a download, but you don’t want to put so much into the content that you lose a lot when it is placed in a folder. This one reason I am big on Content Upgrades.
As I see it, to do a website audit as a lead magnet, you have three options.
The first option is that you automatically generate the report. You simply plug the domain into one of the automated systems, and it creates the report for you. It doesn’t take as much time, and you get some valuable insights for your potential customer’s website.
I see one drawback to this option. These automatically generated reports are almost always an SEO report. Now, this is still something that is very valuable, but you would be missing out on other vital pieces of information. Indeed, many SEO Audits are much more extensive.
Nevertheless, since you are giving your audit away for free, this may be the best way to go. The report will show your prospect how much work they have to do. Later, you can run a more thorough audit (for a cost, of course).
The next option for using a website audit for a lead magnet is to create your report, with all the information of a paid report, for a short period. In other words, you offer your prospect all the information and benefits of a paid audit, but the offer is for a limited time. This option would provide an incredible value. It would be wise to tie it to a consultation session, so you have a legitimate chance to close the sale.
In this option, you can go “all in” on the report without worrying about holding back.
The final option for using a website audit for a freebie is to create a checklist of a few of the most crucial website items and make it downloadable. You can then add a few instructions on how to utilize the checklist. This will allow your prospect to do the work so he or she can see some of the things needed first hand.
Many people like the Do-it-yourself option and this appeals to that tendency. Your prospect could spend a short period following the instructions to see what they can improve.
The benefit of this option is that you can create your checklist and instructions once and reuse them for each prospect. You might even consider creating a video or two about how to use the checklist to add more value.
Using a website audit as a first engagement
Some website developers use paid discoveries in their first engagement with a customer. Many customers aren’t sure what kinds of problems they have. A website audit is an excellent way to help a customer identify those things they need to improve.
It was a conversation with WordPress professional Heather Steele that caused me to think about using a website audit in this way. Visiting with her in the Business of WordPress Slack group, she told me,
“I think it’s a slippery slope (using a website audit as a lead magnet). When you start a relationship with an audit you are basically coming to someone and telling them they are doing it wrong…. no one wants to hear that, even though it may be true.
“You need to gain someone’s trust before you start showing them the specific problems. Instead, I prefer to start a relationship by addressing the fact that certain business problems exist for people like my customers, then show them how we have helped others solve those big business problems through some specific strategies.
“Once we are on the same page there, we can start to point out the very specific and personal problems that exist with their website or marketing.”
As Steele points out, an audit is better received after having a relationship with the customer. Certainly, a more thorough website audit is part of the process of learning how you can help your customer have a more optimized website.
Another issue with using a website audit as a lead magnet is you end up with tire-kickers. They are happy to get the information for free and then shop for a cheaper solution.
Using a website audit for yearly checkups
Twice a year, at least, I take my car to be serviced. The mechanics change the oil, refill fluids, rotate the tires if needed, and review the car for any potential needs.
As business owners, we review our business each year. We see what is working, what is not working, where we can improve, and more. The same can be said for a website audit.
You want to make sure your customer’s websites are working optimally. A yearly website checkup is a great way to identify potential problems.
If your customer is on a website care plan, you already have access to various types of data that can be included in the report.
If your customer is not on a website care plan, you have a reason to touch base with them about their website. If your customer sees the value of this kind of checkup, then it is a win/win for you and your customer.
Wrapping it up
A website audit is a great tool to have your toolbox. You can give your prospect or customer extremely valuable feedback based on a good review of their website using your expertise and professional tools.
You have more than one way to use that service as we mentioned above. Think strategically about how you use an audit for your business.
Do you use a website audit for your agency? If so, let us know in the comments below.