hubspot marketing graderIf you’re a business owner or marketer, it’s very likely that you’re always looking for ways to improve sales, save time and achieve results. You want to get ahead of your competition, but you don’t know where to start.

So where do you begin? A valuable web tool available to all business owners and marketers is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader. The free tool helps evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. All that’s needed is your company’s website address and email. Once entered, you can review your grade and see how it compares to your competitors. Your grade is broken down into three categories: Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Analytics. HubSpot also provides recommendations on how to improve your grade.

But while it provides recommendations, I still find that many businesses lack a clear understanding of the necessary ways to improve their grade. The exact protocol your company follows will depend on your specific marketing goals, but the following list will provide 5 key ways you can start improving your grade immediately.

1. Blogging

HubSpot’s Marketing Grader emphasizes the importance of creating, optimizing and promoting content as key to increasing website traffic and generating leads. One area it places a large emphasis on is blogging. The grader analyzes whether or not your company has a blog and if you publish content consistently. Also important is whether or not you share your blog content on social media. If your blog is easy to find on your website and is equipped with social sharing abilities then your marketing grade will likely be higher.

2. Social Media

Does your company have a Facebook page? What about a Twitter account? Maybe your company uses Google+ or Pinterest to connect with its audience. The grader examines your use of social media and its impact on your marketing efforts. The more active you are on social media, the better your grade will likely be.

3. SEO

In order to give your company the best chance of pulling traffic from the web, optimizing your content is necessary. Search engines like Google are always looking for consistent content that is fresh. That’s why the grader examines your SEO efforts, explaining key factors such as how many pages your site has indexed by search engines, if your images have alt tags and how many other sites have linked to your site among others. It also shares best practices with the marketer such as performing keyword research and making sure all your images include alt tags.

4. Mobile

The grader examines whether or not you have a mobile version of your website or if your site is mobile optimized. It even recommends taking into account smaller screen sizes and slower bandwidths. This is increasingly more important today as the number of people who own a smartphone and have access to the Internet continues to increase.

5. Analytics

The grader takes into account whether or not the marketer is measuring their company’s website results. It even examines how many unique visitors it has each month. If you’re using Google Analytics to measure your results, the grader will recognize your effort. If you’re not measuring your results, the grader will recommend ways to measure your website.

Like any new Inbound Marketing effort, it will take some time to reach your goals. But by using these tips, you’ll begin achieving results much faster than before.

To learn how to further improve your Inbound Marketing efforts, download “Turn Your Website Into A Sales Magnet” now!