Is your direct mail or advertising campaign working?
This is a question I like to ask small business owners and advertisers; “Is your direct mail or advertising campaign working?” Almost always, the first few seconds following the question is followed by a dumbfounded look, which is followed by a “What do you mean?”.
This is where I know that they are just following trends or marketing or advertising the way they are because someone told them it works. What I mean is, are you measuring and analyzing and tracking your campaigns to ensure that you are spending your direct marketing dollars wisely?
Whether you are trying to increase immediate business, generate more referrals, increase your visibility in your area of business/service, or reach a particular target audience using a custom prospect list, it is important to track the results of your direct marketing efforts. It’s easy for anyone to do a little research, acquire a quality prospect list and send out an offer. It’s easy to take an advertisement ad out in your local newspaper. It’s easy to to do this repeatedly, and see no results. You cannot assume that people coming through your door or calling you for your services are doing so as a result of one of your campaigns. You have to be positive that the new business is a result of your advertising, so that if not, you can alter your marketing strategy.
Simple things you could and should do to help track your campaigns:
1. Include “cut out” coupons that new customers can redeem in person. Place tracking numbers on each campaign so that you know where the person received the offer. *A tracking number can be something as simple as “November”.
2. Remind customers to mention the offer when speaking with you or one of your employees.
3. Include a special email address on your campaigns that is dedicated to that campaign. Ex: November[at]yourbusiness.com
4. Make sure your staff (and yourselves!) know what to do with the tracking information! Keep a log of all activity stemming from your campaigns, and at the expiration of your campaign, analyze your results. How much new business did your campaign bring in? How many new customers did it bring in? What is the lifetime value of the customer?
After you have determined if your campaign was successful or not, you now know you either can relaunch the same or similar campaign, or you can adjust the campaign and launch again. It’s known that direct marketing as well as any marketing effort improves with effort, repeating, adjusting, and repeating. You need to stay consistent and keep your products and offers in front of consumers faces at all times.
Some things to think about…
1. Not all of your campaigns are going to yield huge results the first time around. You need to ask yourself what the lifetime value of the customers it did bring in is.
2. Some campaigns may not yield much at all. That is perfectly fine. You are still getting your business in front of consumers eyes. Not all consumers need or want your products or services at the time of your offer. But now they know you offer them, and the next time they need them…they may turn to you!
3. Keep your messaging relevant! If you’re giving consumers an offer for pumpkin pie in July, you probably aren’t going to be well received. However, if you use that same offer in October/November, you’ll see results.
4. You campaigns should be alive. This means that they are forever growing and changing and keeping your image fresh in the eyes of the consumer. Change the offers, change the target audience, etc.
The bottom line: Track your campaigns to make sure they are working for you.