Have you ever felt like your marketing just didn’t work?
In 20 years of helping others grow their businesses, I have yet to meet a business owner who hasn’t experienced a marketing let-down. And nothing is more frustrating than planning a marketing campaign, fine-tuning design elements, spending your own hard-earned money on it, and watching it launch…
Only to see ZERO results.
But guess what:
There’s one marketing campaign element I see a lot of business owners overlook — yet with it, your marketing (and business) could hit a whole new level…
I’m talking about TRACKING.
Without tracking, you don’t KNOW which part or parts of your marketing worked — meaning, how many calls, leads, and sales each tactic actually generated!
That means you could be investing money into marketing strategies that aren’t generating leads…
So you’re just wasting time and money not growing your business.
Here are the best methods to track any type of marketing effort, whether online or offline, starting with the easiest, most analog options, and ending with the most advanced:
1. Use an easy new caller sheet
Give your receptionist (or whoever answers the phone) a New Caller Sheet. This easy checklist helps your receptionist remember to ask new callers for all their information.
Even if you’ve asked your receptionist before to ask every new caller how they heard about your business, he or she might forget — a lot.
If you’re a parent, I know you can relate to this:
Your kid comes home from school every day and kicks off their shoes.
In the living room, the kitchen, the hall — EVERYWHERE.
And then you come home a few hours later, trip over their shoes and yell at them to put their shoes away. This was an ongoing afternoon ritual in my house for years.
So my question is:
How many times do you have to tell your kid to do something before they actually do it?
And how often do they actually do what you asked them to EVERY TIME?
If your kids are anything like mine, they mean well but they’re going to forget, or get distracted, or [insert any number of excuses here].
Your receptionist is the same. He or she means well, and they want to help you and do what you ask, but they aren’t going to remember to do it every single time. And if you happen to ask “Did we get any calls from the postcards?” and they forgot to ask — they’ll probably just say “no” instead of admitting they forgot to ask. This is my experience.
Help them out and implement something tangible… like the new caller sheet!
Keep a stack of new caller sheets at your front desk and train your receptionist to use them. If they have paperwork associated with the task, they’re much more likely to remember to ask every new caller how they heard about you.
Easy enough, right?
Onto the next…
2. Include a promo code on your postcard
A promo code is a special code (such as “DENTOFFER” for dentists) that’s printed on your postcards (or other marketing materials) to help you track which leads came from which marketing source.
Here’s an example:
Why is a promo code useful? Why not just ask your prospect which postcard they received?
You can (and should), but take this situation for example:
Let’s say you mail 2 (or 3) differently designed postcards to more than one mailing list over the course of 6 months. Why would you do this? Well, if you’re mailing for 6 months in a row, sending 2 different postcard designs to different mailing lists will keep your marketing outflow consistent (critical for lead generation!), and it also keeps your marketing message and business fresh in prospects’ minds. But in terms of tracking your marketing and resultant leads accurately, it can become difficult when there are SO many variables.
I know that we’ve mailed to some of our clients for YEARS before they pick up the phone and call. One of my best clients told me that he received 20-30 postcards from me before he called!
Knowing which piece of marketing finally triggered a response is crucial.
Plus, when a prospect calls into your business, the last thing you want is your receptionist taking 10 minutes trying to extract the where-how-when combination of what marketing they used to call in.
A promo code will tell you which postcard and list combination generated that new prospect call.
All your receptionist needs to do is ask:
“Would you mind reading me the promo code above your address?”
They write that promo code on that new caller sheet, and that tells you EXACTLY which marketing campaign generated that lead.
Plus, all your graphic designer needs to do is add a promo code to the postcard design — not hard!
3. Add a call tracking phone number to your postcards
A call tracking phone number is a unique phone number assigned to your marketing campaign, which prospects use to call your business. It rings directly to your front desk (or wherever you want), and the phone number itself acts as a tracking number to tell you instantly how many calls that specific campaign rang in to your business.
Here at PostcardMania, we have 428 dedicated call tracking numbers that we use to track all of our marketing campaigns.
Most call tracking services offer an online dashboard, so you can log in and see your calls.
PostcardMania clients can access calls and call recordings in real time, 24/7, from an online dashboard in our client portal. It looks like this:
Call tracking services, including ours, also record your calls so you can re-listen to them whenever you want.
Here’s why recorded calls are important:
You can listen to how your front desk staff handles the leads you’ve paid to generate!
In fact, one of my dental clients used call recordings from his DirectMail2.0 campaign to actually train his front desk staff on how to improve their handling of new patient callers.
His new patient conversion rate improved by 122%.
Call tracking is an extremely affordable feature.
At PostcardMania, it’s LESS than 1 penny per direct mail piece. Here’s a video about it.
You can even use a different call tracking # on each element of your marketing campaign:
- Online ads
- Facebook ads
- Newspaper ads
- Video ads
- And any others.
Seriously, call tracking is so inexpensive and such an easy way to track your marketing, it’s a no-brainer must-have.
4. Create dedicated landing pages
Landing pages are web pages specifically designed for prospects to “land on” as part of a marketing campaign, and they almost always have the sole intention to collect contact information.
Here’s an example:
See how this landing page quickly informs any visitor of the problem/solution (aka: special offer!) with a bright blue lead-capture area? Its better than sending them to your website where they’ll have to hunt around to find out more about your specific offer on the postcard. A landing page continues the communication that the postcard started.
Here’s why I bring up these up…
95% of interested people will likely visit you online BEFORE they decide to take any action with your business (or not), according to a study by MarketingProfs.
When prospects visit you online, you need to both capture them as a lead AND track that this conversion happened. Plus, you’ll want to know from which marketing campaign these people came.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to do this.
- Create a dedicated landing page for your campaign
- Print that page’s URL on your postcard
- Track how many prospects fill out your lead form on your landing page
It’s really that simple.
Postcard recipients who visit your landing page could even enter their promo code (#2) directly into your lead capture form — giving you even more targeted tracking information!
By just logging into your Google Analytics account, you can quickly see just how many people visited your landing page directly from the postcards you mailed.
If you’re looking for help creating a simple landing page, ours start at just $150.
5. Add FREE Google Analytics for a 400% improvement in conversion rate
Again, the majority (95%!) of prospects will head to your website before they decide whether (or not) to take action with your business…
Your website is CRITICALLY important for your overall marketing strategy.
It can either generate leads for your business —
Or scare them away.
In addition to a dedicated landing page (#5), you should hook up Google Analytics (which is FREE) on your website.
Google Analytics will give you detailed insight into how many website visitors you’re generating, where they come from, and much more, so you can use this data to inform your marketing strategy.
Here’s just one example:
Let’s say you send out 10,000 postcards, and you notice that after your postcards hit mailboxes, you receive floods of online visitors specifically to your “About Us” page. You can use that data to put a pop-up form on that page and capture more leads.
By tracking our website’s activity using Google Analytics — plus testing many different pop-ups — we ended up using this one:
Which helped generate a 400% increase in leads for PostcardMania.
It wasn’t as simple as throwing up a pop-up. We rigorously tested which design, copy, and placement of the pop-up would work best. The 400% lead increase proves this strategy worked…
But it was LOOKING at the numbers and data in Google Analytics which prompted us to even TRY this strategy.
That’s my point!
Here’s the last one…
6. The ultimate tracking metric
Your return on investment! (ROI)
How much sales your marketing generated your business.
One of the most common questions I get asked at events as a speaker is what kind of response you can expect from your direct mail campaign…
As in: “What will my response rate be?”
But this is WRONG.
You should be asking:
“How much REVENUE will this generate?”
The purpose of marketing is to GROW your business with new customers and therefore, sales and revenue.
Plus, a marketing campaign’s response rate could be deceiving.
Your marketing campaign could create a huge response and a ton of leads — but they never buy anything. That can be so frustrating!
And the opposite is true… Your marketing campaign could potentially have a low response but a HIGH ROI.
Here’s an example:
A family-run Minnesota business that helps consumers save money on their electric bills ran a direct mail campaign, and here’s what happened after mailing 4,000 postcards:
- 25 leads
- 15 sales closed
- $20,000 in revenue
That’s a response rate of .00375%. Pretty dismal.
BUT: that’s an ROI of 463% from ONE postcard campaign.
If you judged the campaign from response rate alone, you may have considered it a total failure.
But $20,000 in revenue from just 4,000 postcards mailed definitely qualifies as a success. Imagine their ROI if they would’ve mailed 10,000 postcards!
Watch the case study video here.
Even if you implement just ONE of these tracking techniques, you’ll start to get a better idea of what works best for your marketing budget.
Make sure you tabulate any results from your marketing — a spreadsheet works fine — to help you look at which channels produced the most ROI for your business’s bottom line.
I think you may be surprised at how much tracking could change how you run your business.
If you need any help with your marketing, don’t hesitate to call one of my marketing consultants at 1-800-628-1804. They’ll answer any questions you have about your marketing and also explain how you can be on multiple channels — postcards, Google, Facebook AND Instagram — seamlessly in one campaign. It’s called Everywhere Small Business.
Or, you can always email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, too!
P.S. Want to see direct mail designs that have helped our clients grow their businesses? See our postcard design gallery here — organized by industry!