Half of 2011 is nearly in the books. What a perfect time to review your marketing plan. Measuring marketing success is the only way to improve your business and its performance: “If you want to improve the outcome of something you need to measure it. Apart from anything else, unless you measure, you won’t be able to tell if it has improved.”
Set Goals-Evaluate Your Success
Before launching any marketing campaign, it’s critical that you establish what you want to accomplish with each marketing tactic. The obvious and acceptable answer would be to increase sales, but maybe you want to increase awareness or get more qualified leads on your mailing list. Whatever the goal, make sure it’s easy to get measurable data for you and your staff. If you forgot to do this for the first half of the year, do it now. Below are some ways to evaluate the success of your campaigns.
Direct mail is one of the most measurable marketing tools you have. Take full advantage of that power by creating ways to trace back new leads, sales or other objectives to a specific campaign.There are several ways to measure the return on your direct mail or e-mail marketing campaign. Here are seven options to consider.
- Ask a recipient to bring the piece into your store for a gift or discount.
- Direct targets to a campaign landing page rather than your company’s home page.
- Incorporate tracking codes on coupons as well as self-addressed reply cards, forms or envelopes.
- Ask recipients to mention a promotion code when they call your company.
- Offer a toll-free number you’ve set up specifically for the mailing.
- Include an e-mail address created for the campaign.
- List a discount code recipients can enter for online purchases.
Marketing tools like signs, billboards and vehicle wraps may be more difficult to measure success because they’re often brand awareness tools. Today though it is possible not only to measure the overall effectiveness of a campaign, but to monitor the contribution of outdoor advertising to the brand’s overall awareness index. Primedia Outdoor have developed a research-based campaign tracking facility aimed at providing advertisers with both qualitative as well as quantitative feedback on the effectiveness of their outdoor campaigns.
How can you determine whether a social media strategy is proving beneficial to your business? How do you know that it is working out for you? Rather than focusing on the smaller, campaign-specific metrics, such as traffic from Twitter or the number of fans on Facebook, wouldn’t it be better to look at how it helps to shift the most important business, such as sales, profits, as well as customer retention and satisfaction rates? Before you start the clock on your social media its a good idea to benchmark where you are at. Below seven steps to measure the effects of your campaign media.
Remember that quality often beats quantity, though not always (as many CPM-focused publishers will surely testify).
Participation is a valuable indicator. It says something about the kind of traffic you are attracting. Remember that an engaged customer is a highly valuable one.
Track your sales from organic Google referrals and also paid search. It doesn’t seem like much of a leap to track other channels, such as Twitter. Try it. Dell did, and discovered that it made $1m from Twitter in 18 months.
4. Brand Metrics
Word of mouth and the viral factor (inherent in sites like Twitter, Facebook ) can help shift the key brand metrics, both negatively and positively. Positive brand associations via social media campaigns can help drive clicks on paid search ads, and responses to other forms of advertising.
The nature of public relations has changed, forever. The distinct worlds of PR, customer service, and marketing are fusing. Twitter means everybody has a blog these days, and somewhere to shout about things to their friends (and beyond). Social media sites are the biggest echo chambers in the world! In any event, if you can measure PR (beyond adding up column inches and applying a random multiple to the equivalent size on the rate card!), then you can measure social media.
6. Customer Engagement
Given the prevalence of choice, and the ease with which consumers can switch from one brand to another, customer engagement is one of the most important of all metrics in today’s business environment. Engagement can take place offline and online, both on your website and on other sites, particularly social media sites.
A positive side effect of increased customer engagement – assuming certain other factors in play work in your favour – is an increase in customer retention. This is going to be a crucial factor in the success of your business in the years to come. Make no bones about it: we are moving into an age of optimisation and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media.
To sum it up, a social media campaign has different milestones, the first and most important of which is brand awareness, followed by lead generation, identifying prospects and generating sales.
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