Marketing Instrument Panel: The tools you need to track & maintain your marketing

Have you seen the Adobe commercial where the guy visits a psychic and asks “Is my marketing working?”  and she replies after a long, questionable pause…  “yes?”  People.  Psychics, like emotions have no place in measuring marketing results.

I wrote a post last week about trusting your instruments when measuring the results of your marketing that got me thinking, if you’re new to my blog you may have no idea of the tools that are available to you to track your marketing efforts. So, I’ve compiled the best marketing tracking tools out there for you to build your very own marketing instrument panel for your business.  I cannot stress the importance of incorporating as many of these as possible.  Don’t just do one.

I hear time and time again about businesses owners who choose to advertise with medias because they like the account rep and don’t want to let her down, their friends work there, they want to get the attention of the editorial department, or they cancel their ads because they’re not getting any “love,” they are mad they didn’t get any editorial or “think” they didn’t get anything from their ad.  Oh boy, there are a lot of emotions and assumptions wrapped up in all of those real life scenarios I’ve just listed that can point you and your business down the wrong path.  So… take a gander below and get crackin’ on this… it’s one of the most important systems for your business.

Marketing Instrument Panel-01

WEB ANALYTICS PROGRAMS

Your website is your receptionist.  Period.  No longer do people see your ad, scan for your number and dial up right away.  They research you first.  And where?  Your Website!  So, having a bird’s eye view of how people have found your website (it’s not all links from other sites!) and what they look at on your site when they get there are crucial indicators of your offline and online marketing and how effective your site actually is at keeping their attention once they’ve arrived.

Web Analytics programs tracks three different ways visitors get to your website.  Only one of those actually tracks internet referrals from other websites.  Here are the other two best ways to keep track of your offline marketing with Web Analytics…

  • DIRECT TRAFFIC.  Direct traffic is a list of people who have gone to a search engine and specifically typed in your website address.  Meaning… they already knew it.  They didn’t search you or find you on another website, they saw your website address somewhere else (eh hem, perhaps your print ad) and typed it into the URL address box.
  • SEARCH.  Organic (meaning not-paid for) search traffic is two fold.  There are people who search for your business type and people who search for your business name.  Type is true organic search that you can thank the search engines and SEO for.  However, Business Name searches should be attributed to your offline marketing and general brand awareness campaigns. Whenever you see someone search your business name, ask yourself… “How did they know about me to google my business name?”

Here are three web analytics programs I recommend…

YOUR WEBSITE FORMS

Your contact form or request for proposal form on your website is more valuable than you think.  Since your website is your new receptionist, it’s crucial that she is accepting all the necessary valuable information you’d normally have a human ask. Besides the obvious information you need from new inquiries, asking the question “how did you hear about us?” is likely the 2nd most important question to have on the form.

Here are some tips to improve the results you get…

  • Make the question “How did you hear about us” required.  Duh.
  • No open ended questions.  It’s not the job of your new client to track your marketing. Trigger their memory with a list of all the potential places they could have seen you.
  • Use checkboxes for multiple answers.  Once you’ve listed all of the print, bridal shows, websites, social media, friend referrals and even editorial your business is in, use checkboxes instead of a dropdown list so that the client can click ALL THE WAYS they’ve seen you instead of only one.  If studies show it takes multiple impressions for a client to take the initiative to call your company, it’s likely they’ve seen your business in several places.  This will help you get more specific results.

This is a great example of a perfect contact form I’ve found on a venue website…

Best-website-contact-form

Here are form builders you can easily add to your website so you can edit and track the entries without your web developer…..

SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS

Who doesn’t love the feeling of having a bajillion fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter.  But do they really mean anything?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If social media is an important took in your marketing plan then you need to be looking at the quality of audience you’re attracting and NOT the quantity of audience.  There are tools out there that tell you demographics, engagement, interests, etc.  Before you place any weight on whether social media is “so great because it’s free so I’m going to drop all my advertising because I have a bunch of fans”….  stop, look and analyze the audience.

Below are some social media analytics programs I recommend….

UNIQUE PHONE NUMBERS

By assigning a unique local phone number to each advertising or marketing campaign, you will be able to track all of your phone calls back to the campaign that generated the call. This will allow you to discover exactly which advertising campaigns are generating sales and revenue for your business.

Here are three custom phone number companies I recommend…

QR CODES

QR Codes are another way to track unique urls that lead to your website.  If you run an ad in a newspaper, have a sign up at a local coffee shop or anything else offline… you can place a QR code on the graphic WITH a prompt for the person to scan the code for either a discount, to see a portfolio of your work, or to save your contact information in your phone, etc.  Give them a reason to scan it and they will.  You can then track the unique URL for that QR code through your web analytics program to see how many people are using the code.

COUPONS & PROMOTIONAL CODES

I placed this at the bottom of the list because it’s truly an old school method, however still effective in some cases.  If you’re going to do a direct mailing piece or promotional hand out at a bridal show, tradeshow or ad, use a promotion to get people to pick up the phone or call instead of just a branding piece.  Then, give your promotions unique codes that your management can track when clients turn them in.  If you don’t have a computer system that keeps track for you, create a spreadsheet that your manager can enter the customers into when they bring in the coupon.  Remember, no one is going to bring in your ad/postcard for no reason, they need the incentive like $500 off or a free gift so don’t forget that part.  At the end of the promotion or year tally up the results to see which promotion worked best.

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE

Why on earth would I add accounting software as a way to track your marketing?  Because your bottom line is the ultimate indicator if your business is growing.  Marketing is intended to drive growth.  If you haven’t tracked any of your marketing this year, but you’re surpassing your goals and new clients are coming in…. that’s a good indicator that your marketing is doing its job.   But don’t rely just on this one step.

* * DISCLAIMER * *

Using only one of these methods will only deliver you a small portion of results.  Because everyone’s buying and researching habits are different, the more tracking methods you implement, the better results you’ll get.  When you start using all these things, you should never have to VERBALLY ask your clients “how did you hear about us” ever again.

2 Comments

  1. David Caron August 2, 2013 / 9:07 pm

    Great article Heather! To add to what you’re saying, an awesome piece of internet software for analytics is HubSpot. I might be a little partial since my company is a certified parter but it really does have great value if you know how to use it.

    • Heather Vreeland
      Author
      August 4, 2013 / 12:42 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation David – I need to check them out!