- THE MAGAZINE
Tracking your advertising is crucial for business owners or managers, but too often we just don’t do it. Company resources are scarce and should be cautiously appropriated to those activities that will produce a positive return on the investment. If we make no effort to measure our results how do we know if it is giving us a positive return? The simple answer is “we don’t know.” To begin to manage your advertising profitability you must track and measure you advertising results.
What if you had an employee that showed up for work every day but did very little or no work? Day after day they produced far less than you expect and not nearly enough to pay their wages? How long would you keep this employee on the payroll? Hopefully not very long! Some of our advertising is equally as unproductive - so why do we put up with it? Because we are not tracking or measuring our advertising results.
Types of Advertising
Different types of advertising are suited for different purposes and the effectiveness of some types are more easily tracked and measured than others:
- TV and Radio: TV and radio are typically used for image advertising, increasing your brand or name recognition. These are not as closely linked to a purchase and are more difficult to track. Attempts to track these advertising campaigns can include “mention this ad and receive a discount”-type statements.
- Yellow Pages: Yellow Page tracking is not as simple as it appears. If a customer says they found you in the Yellow Pages, be prepared with a system to identify which ad or listing they were looking at in which book. Asking the customer for the page number from the book they are looking at is one tracking method if you have a limited number of ads. Placing a unique tracking number next to the phone number that the customer can give you is another method.
- Direct Mail: Compared to most types of advertising, direct mail is more customizable and easier to track. Most direct mail pieces have a special offer. Many customers will present the ad at this time of service.
- Coupons: Coupons are a typical “point of purchase” type advertisement. Many customers present coupons at the time of purchase making them fairly easy to track.
- Internet: When a customer says they found you on the Internet they could mean an e-mail, a local profile, a website, a loading page, a Yellow Page listing, press release, pay per click, an article or any number of places. It’s difficult to narrow down how the customer actually found you. How would you describe any given landing page may be very different than how a customer would describe it. To many of them it’s all “on the Internet.” You can place a unique number as a method of communicating with customers to identify just what page they were looking at on the Internet.
How to Track Your Advertising
Businesses should ask each caller “How did you find our phone number today?” This is specific enough and hopefully the answer will be helpful. You should be prepared to ask additional questions to help identify the advertisement as specifically as possible. If a customer is rushed or annoyed, take what you can get, but don’t be over bearing.
Keep a log or daily tracking sheet. Record the date and time of all calls and the caller’s name and phone numbers. Record the advertising source. Also, record the disposition of the call, if an appointment was scheduled and any information that would be valuable in order to make a follow-up call. There are three purposes for keeping logs:
- To tally the actual leads produced by each advertising source. Divide the cost of the advertising by the number of leads produced. This will give the cost-per-lead by that advertising source. Your cost-per-lead should be compared across all of your marketing and advertising campaigns. You will realize that some lead sources are consistently far more expensive than others. You can also determine which lead sources are profitable and which are not. To be more successful, do more of what works the best and less of what is not working.
- To calculate and post the closing ratio of each employee daily and weekly. Performance that gets measured and reported tends to improve.
- The third reason for this daily tracking sheet is for capturing leads. Just because a caller did not schedule with you on their first call does not mean they are not a valuable lead. Some people insist on making several calls and asking questions before they will make up their minds and commit to an appointment. These are leads! Leads that you paid dearly to generate. Work the leads every day. Follow up with them until they schedule with you, or give you some other reason why you should not call them back.
Track Your Website Traffic
You should track and measure everything! This includes your website traffic. Install Google Analytics or another analytics program to monitor where traffic is coming from. You can tell whether visitors came from an organic search, a referring site, or a pay-per-click ad, how long they stayed and what key word term they searched for.
Call tracking is a service offered by a call tracking company this is a more automated and more accurate way of tracking the source of your calls. A call tracking service will assign you a unique phone number to place in an ad or website that you want to track. When a call is received through that phone number, you know where they found your phone number. You are able to log into your account and see how many calls, how long each call lasted and who the callers were. The calls are also recorded. You can click on each call and listen to the actual phone conversation. This feature helps you to not only hold advertising accountable but also your staff.
Call tracking is a great tool to very accurately track your leads and know the results of those calls. It also gives you the ability to calculate the actual revenue generated. It is all reported systematically for you and recorded. Manual methods are not as accurate or as thorough because customers don’t care and employees are less than perfect or are even lazy.
Formula for Success
The purpose of tracking your advertising is to know the results of each type of advertising and to know the results of each advertisement or marketing campaign. If you have that information available you can follow the formula for success: Repeat what works - don’t repeat what does not work.