You probably remember the old industry cliché: “I know half of my advertising is wasted. I just wish I knew which half.” In traditional advertising, such as television or radio spots, it is much more difficult to track the results of a particular campaign. But despite this saying, there are now numerous ways that we can track marketing campaigns to determine what’s working and what’s not working. Are you implementing any of them currently?
Here are a few ways you can track your marketing activities now:
1) Incorporate a coupon code for special offers or discounts. When you utilize a promotional tactic such as a coupon or discount off a product or service, include an alpha-numeric code that your customers must mention to get your discount. When your customer redeems the coupon, keep track of all coupon codes in a spreadsheet or other sales tracking software.
2) Start recording lead sources. Your call center, sales force and website are all great tools for keeping track of lead sources. Make sure that your customer service staff and salespeople ask all prospects and inbound callers this simple question: “How did you hear about us?” and have a system in place for recording this data. You can also ask for this information on your website information request form. When you add a new person to your database, note from where this lead came. Remember, you should track where the lead originated but also multiple responses from specific campaigns.
3) Track your website visitors. One of the simplest ways you can start tracking marketing activity now is through your current website. Most hosting providers offer tracking programs, but if you’re not sure what tracking program you have, be sure to ask your hosting provider for a login and password to view your tracking data. Some of the important statistics you’ll want to track include: a) unique visitors (ignore page hits) b) referring sites (how people are finding you from other sites, including search engines and spiders c) keyword search phrases d) entry, exit and visitor paths. Analyzing these statistics at least monthly will help you see whether your marketing campaigns were effective, which pages of your site are under-performing, and even why visitors are leaving your site, so you can adjust accordingly. If your current provider is not offering website tracking, or you’d like a more sophisticated website tracking program, software such as WebTrends can supplement your existing offering.
4) Use Internet landing pages. Whether you’re doing banner advertising, eNewsletter advertising or search engine advertising, you should be using a unique landing page with a unique URL for each campaign. This is a simple, yet effective way to track how many people are responding to your ad, and also a great way to tailor a page of your website that reinforces and provides additional information to the marketing message for your campaign. You can also use variations of a landing page to test specific conversion rates.
5) Track your email marketing campaigns. If you’re sending out an e-newsletter or doing email marketing, and use a professional email software provider (which I strongly recommend), you should automatically receive extensive tracking data on who has opened your email, as well as who has clicked on specific links within your email. This is a great tool for your sales team because it allows them to see who is most interested in which products or services. Make sure your next email campaign is not simply long paragraphs of text but consists of teaser paragraphs with links back to your website or other articles posted on your website.
These are just a few examples of how you can begin calculating your marketing ROI. Even if you have a small marketing budget, it’s easy to see that you can still find ways to track the results of your efforts. Doing so will help you focus on the marketing campaigns that perform the best and earn the highest revenue for your business.