How to Track Marketing Efforts

Monitoring Marketing
Getty Images / Reza Estakhrian

Tracking is crucial to any marketing campaign; if you aren't tracking you are not marketing. I'm often asked how to track offline campaigns such as magazine advertisements, newspaper ads, as well as radio and television commercials online.

It's a great question and one I enjoy helping with because ultimately it means helping companies save money.

It does not matter whether you are launching a new product or service or you are an established business, tracking will show you what marketing vehicles are working and which ones are not.

This will help you in evaluating your marketing efforts and where you are spending your marketing budget. In the long run by tracking offline marketing efforts you can begin to create a more cost-effective marketing campaign that will get you the results you desire without wasting money.

Enough of the why, let's get started on the how.

How to Track Print and Direct Mail Marketing Online

When creating print or direct mail marketing pieces you want to track when the prospective customer visits your website to gain more information. The best way to do this is to have designated domains. You can use the designated domains to track visitors using the log files. It's crucial to have separate landing pages on each domain, however, they can look exactly alike, they just must reside on the domain to get accurate tracking results. In other words, it would look like this:

Magazine Ad 1 - Tracking Domain - http://www.TheYourCompany.com
Magazine Ad 2 - Tracking Domain - http://www.YourCompanyOnline.com

Direct Mail Piece 1 - Tracking Domain - http://www.VisitYourCompany.com

As you can see each piece has a unique URL. I know some of you will ask about branding, so let me go ahead and get that out of the way. Your advertisement should be creating that visual of your brand, and you still use "your company name" as a portion of the URL, but our goal here is really more about tracking than branding.

Tip: You do not have to have separate sites for each domain, just separate landing pages. You can use subpages to direct the visitor to your "main" site.

How accurate is this type of tracking? It's not 100% but is the easiest way to track your offline advertisements in order to see what is working. For example, someone could just see your brand and type in http://www.yourcompany.com and end up on your main site. This would create an error in the tracking the effectiveness of that advertisement. Realize there is some room for error.

How to Track Marketing Efforts Using Call Tracking

Now let's talking about tracking phone calls that are generated from your advertisements.

The best way to track the effectiveness of your advertisements and measure "call-in" volume is to have use call tracking. You can use call tracking to determine your cost-per-sale and cost-per-call rate. This can help in determining which marketing campaigns are most effective. Each advertisement must have a designated telephone number. You can use this information to see what advertisements are working and which are not. Call Tracking can be used on radio commercials, television commercials, direct mail and print advertisements.

There are many companies that provide call tracking solutions and you can also check with your current telephone company to see if that is something they offer. It's important that you receive a report showing incoming calls in an itemized report that shows what number was called and what time that number was called as well as what region that call came from if you are doing national marketing.

Tracking and monitoring your marketing efforts and advertisements will help you in allocating your marketing budget in marketing campaigns that you know will work. There is nothing more devastating to a company than to spend money on an advertisement that produces no or little results. Tracking your offline marketing efforts can give you the knowledge that you need to have when it comes to knowing what worked and what didn't.

The result is an accurate measurement of what marketing efforts were effective and no longer having to depend on inaccurate guesswork to determine where you spend your marketing budget.