Why Track Your Traditional Advertising and Marketing Campaigns?
Way back when I first started work as a Lab Junior at the tender age of 16, the Waste Manager brought in an oddball sample to be tested. It was odd because the lab I worked in tested samples from set stages throughout a process – waste being one of them. This sample wasn’t routine and I tentatively asked, “Why?”
His answer has stuck with me twenty five years later. And, as a lover of number crunching in my own unique way, it’s an answer I give other’s who ask, “Why?”
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it ”
The effectiveness of traditional advertising campaigns are notoriously difficult to track and measure. Sure, you can ask to quote a tracking code, use trigger words, call tracking, special offers and lead losses and more…
Online, you can track and monitor everything. With a few clicks you know exactly which web sites people have viewed, where they are geographically, what browser they are using, whether they clicked on your ads and so much more.
“So what?” I hear you mutter…
Traditional advertising is expensive, the cost of getting a new customer can be expensive. By tracking and testing your marketing campaigns as much as possible, you can increase the response rate and decrease ad spend. It all comes down to increasing ROI.
And, if that doesn’t float your boat, I accept used notes if
you want to throw money away .
If you are already using traditional advertising and marketing methods to promote your local business it’s well worth making a few simple changes to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.
These days, the internet is so ingrained in our lives that if you put your website address on your ads and marketing materials, people are likely type it in to check you out if they’re interested in your services. We’re back to 75% of Brits research online before making a purchase…
Even better, use traditional advertising and promotion techniques to specifically encourage people to visit your website.
The problem now is…
How do you KNOW which are the best performing ads and which have as much response as trying to sell a hamburger to a veggie?
This is where you can use the magic of the internet and Google Analytics to monitor your local advertising and marketing campaigns and track offline to online response rates.
How to Track Offline to Online Marketing Campaigns using Google Analytics
First of all, you need landing pages specifically for your offline to online marketing campaigns. It’s no good just asking people to visit your website, you’ll have no way of knowing if they did or where they came from. There are a few ways of doing it:
- Use a sub-folder yoursite.co.uk/promo
- Use a sub-domain – promo.yoursite.co.uk
- Or buy a new unique domain – yournewsite.co.uk
So for example, you may choose to have your Yellow Pages advert displaying a unique URL:
and your regular local paper ads pointing to a page on your normal website:
The landing page will be specifically written for your ad campaign. Then you need to put on some website tracking – Google Analytics works wonderfully.
Simply making those changes and using web analytics for ad tracking will give you so much more information about your advertising campaign. But, we’re not going to stop there.
Marketing Campaigns Using Tracking Codes
By using campaign tracking codes normally used for online advertising, you can compare advertising campaigns and response rates side by side. You can then see at a glance what is working and more importantly what is not working…
The video below shows a nifty URL builder tool from Google that helps you set up your tracking codes.
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As you can see, you do need a new landing page for each campaign area. Now don’t panic! You will be using redirects for the most part, so there’s no need to write lots of new web pages, just set them as place-holders. This may be a bit long winded, but it is definitely worth the effort.
When was the last time YOU read an advert?
Flicking through my local newspaper, there is a plumbing and heating company taking out a quarter page full colour ad. Buried in the advert blurb is an offer for a free gas inspection with every boiler service worth £45.
Now the newspaper advertisement itself is awful; glancing at it you can’t see their offer it just doesn’t leap out and grab you. Who actually reads adverts these days? Their special offer is lost due to poor design and bad wording. That’s beside the point and definitely a topic for another blog post in the future…
Anyway, they have included their website in the advert and this technique can be used to monitor if people actually visit it. Now, there’s 2 local papers here, one paid, one free. The same for the town next door. In our example we’ll run our free boiler service advert in all four papers. Using Google Analytics, we can measure how many people visited the website from each newspaper ad and took action.
1. Create Your Landing Pages
First of all, create a landing page with the offer. For increased effectiveness and longer term marketing possibilities add a mailing list opt in form. To qualify for the offer and receive your free gas inspection voucher with your boiler service, you opt in to their mailing list.
Now you are building a list of interested buyers who have gas appliances in the area. Even if these people don’t use their voucher, you have opened the line of communication and can build up the relationship through email.
For this example we’ll use the hypothetical landing page www.localplumber.co.uk/offerpage
2. Set Your Ad Tracking Codes
Then use Google’s URL builder tool to generate campaign codes for each newspaper ad. Our campaign codes would look like this:
and so on..
As you can see the tracking URLs are very long and not very print or user friendly.
3. Create Redirect Pages for Each Ad
To make things simple, you create pages to display in your ad for each local paper using one of the techniques outlined above. These are so much easier to type in to a browser.
There’s no need to put any content on these pages they simply redirect to the main offer landing page using the tracking campaign code that you generate using Googles useful URL builder. Everyone sees the same landing page with the same offer, but now you can track which ads are performing (or not!) using Google Analytics. Poor performing ads can be re-written or even stopped all together.
The video below shows how to set up a redirect page both in WordPress and as traditional website.
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Once you start measuring the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns you can start to manage them and increase your ROI. By testing and tweaking your ads and the corresponding web landing pages you can increase response for the same initial outlay for each particular ad campaign.
This ad tracking technique isn’t limited to newspaper ads, it can be used for all forms of traditional advertising, from radio spots and TV ads to leaflets, brochures, promotional campaign gifts and more. If all this talk of landing pages and tracking codes leaves your head spinning, do get in touch. My Local Business Online can help you with your offline to online local marketing campaigns.
Graph image (c) Yuriy Panyukov @ PhotoExpressTracking Offline Marketing Campaigns Using Google Analytics by Jan Kearney