Today there are many paths a customer can take to respond to your advertising. If you're not considering all the available off and online channels in your ROI calculations, you'll probably be understating the true value that advertising brings to your program.
It comes down to understanding the value of leads from different media sources and having the right plumbing in place to identify primary from secondary responses.
In the not too distant past, there were just a few basic ways consumers could be tracked and counted - primarily by telephone or Canada Post. It was a binary process to count BRE’s (business replay envelopes) and unique phone numbers to arrive at a fairly accurate return on marketing investment.
Fast forward to today and the tools available for Canadians to seek out information as part of their shopping experience is infinitely more complex. New communication channels are being invented and tested in developer labs, then launched as new portal features virtually every month.
Call Us Now has evolved to Contact Us Now!
In addition to offline media like print and TV, online connection points after hearing your advertising come from social media sites, blogs, RSS feeds and bookmarks, texting, web URLs, organic and paid search – to name but a few. So what is the true value of these leads? Does one generate a higher conversion rate than the other? Do some produce slower responses to your campaign than others?
To track how traditional media drive people online, some advertisers manage the situation by using a suffix on their call to action URL, like bestoffer.ca/daily. Studies have shown this is a somewhat futile effort, as fully 25% of people type in the wrong address - and end up at a “404 page not found” dead end. And it underestimates the value that advertising has on generating responses from other online tools.
Any Lunch Plans?
The first step in planning a multi-pronged tracking plan is to make nice with the company webmaster and go for lunch. They are invaluable in helping you understand site traffic and can usually provide extensive details on ‘typical’ weekly activity, including referring domains, organic and paid search, and net new or bookmarked visitors. Then,
1. Present advertising media selections to the webmaster so she can set up the right tracking URLs. Then you can follow customers from referring domains as well as leads from offline media.
2. Always drive traffic to unique “campaign” landing pages not the company home page. It's just way easier to track your responses.
3. Track conversion rates by referring source. This helps you understand which channels deliver more qualified buyers so you can refine your media investments and improve efficiencies next time out.
4. Understand the typical rate of traffic buildup and decline to your website when a program is in market. Then you can justify how long to count inbound leads – even after the program has ended.
If you’re looking for some starting advice and counsel in this area here, it’s worth a visit to the Marketing Management Analytics website based in Wilton, CT. They’ve been developing some innovative new measurement tools to help marketers assess and track the combined impact of sales from offline and online media.
I'm sure they'll know where you came from.