Lord Leverhulme once said something along the lines of "I know half my advertising isn't working, I just don't know which half."
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The truth is that most companies, including your own, probably have the same problem. Here are three simple techniques to measure the success of every piece of marketing you do.
Although Lord Leverhulme was heading in the right direction with his observation the truth is likely to be that 80% of your company revenues come from just 20% of your advertising. In this age of low cost phone numbers and cheap internet there is no excuse for not knowing exactly how many prospective customers are responding to each of your marketing activities.
The first option is simplicity itself and requires the tiniest of change to what you do every day. That is assuming you already keep a database of your customers and prospects. When you are talking to a prospect you need to ask them where they heard about you, it really is that simple but be prepared to drill down into their answer until you know exactly which advertisement or piece of marketing they saw.
Add this information to your database as a dedicated column that you can search when you want to do some analysis. If you don't have a database flexible enough to do this then set up a simple spreadsheet with a row for each of your marketing activities and keep score each time one brings a customer in. Have a row for referrals as well; you may be surprised at how many customers come to you after talking to one of your existing customers.
The second option is to set up a dedicated phone line for each campaign. It doesn't cost too much to get a range of phone numbers and assign one specifically to each of your marketing activities, especially if you have VOIP capabilities. You can then either use your phone records to monitor the number of callers for each activity or just update your database for each number you get a call on.
One word of caution about getting people to call; many people still don't like picking up the phone. That is one reason the internet is so popular, it lets people do their research on line and very often buy without ever talking to a person. If your only call-to-action is to have people phone you, you will be losing customers.
The third option requires a little more effort but can give you the greatest volume of feedback. Most advertisement you see direct you to the main company web site's home page. This means that every visitor arrives at that home page and the company has no idea which piece of marketing brought them in.
The easiest way to change this is to create a unique landing page for each and every piece of marketing you do. Even down to having a separate page for each PPC campaign you run. The pages can have identical content as long as they have a unique name.
Using any or all of the above techniques gives you a means of measuring the response rates of every advertisement or marketing activity you run. With this kind of data you can then stop doing the ones that are producing poor results and do more of the ones that are working well.