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Whether it’s digital or in print, your marketing campaign is only as successful as the metrics that generated from your strategy. One of the reasons that digital marketing has become so effective is due to the large amount of tracking points that can be collected. Unfortunately, many marketing teams believe that tracking can only be done with digital campaigns. However, when used correctly, tracking is just as important (if not more) for print marketing campaigns. 

Tracking print marketing campaigns can help you determine if your marketing dollars are resulting in leads and eventual revenue, as well as what specific parts of your marketing are responsible for those leads. Below are three ways that your business can start to effectively track your print marketing campaign.  

 

  • Vanity URL’s

 

Most print material these days comes with a regular web address. And for good reason. It’s a good way to connect the consumer that views your print materials with your online presence. However, it’s virtually impossible to determine which leads are attributed to the consumer going to your webpage based on your print material, or if they found another way there. A vanity URL solves this problem. 

A vanity URL is short, easy to remember, and most importantly, it’s unique. For example, let’s say you run plumbing company. Instead of printing your standard http://www.this ismyplumbingcompany.com web address, you add a simple URL such as ourplumbing.com. You then redirect that to the plumbing page on your website. From there, it’s simple to track which visitors are arriving from the vanity URL and how well the print material is generating leads.

 

  • Unique QR Codes 

 

Another effective way to track your print marketing campaign is to make your materials digitally interactive. By allowing your audience to be interactive with your print piece, you can call users to take action that signals they’ve viewed your printed material. A great way to do this is through the use of unique QR codes. 

By adding a unique QR code that takes users to a specific website or trigger a download of an app, you can use that interactive feature to measure overall engagement. Once you track and measure the data from this engagement over time, you can then tailor your print marketing materials to what is most effective for your audience. 

 

  • Human Dialogue 

 

Although it may not be as modern as QR codes or as fancy as vanity URL’s relying on what your audience tells you is a tried-and-true method for tracking your print marketing campaigns. It’s simple: ask your audience how they heard about you, with “printed materials” as one of the options. This can be done as part of a form when they are checking out at your website, or even as part of a more formal survey that is sent out after they make a purchase. 

Unfortunately, you likely won’t get extremely comprehensive results using this method. But collectively, this will help you determine the proportional impact each of your strategies has on bringing new people to your business. These questions will also help in validating more qualitative ROI results, and add a valuable additional method for obtaining useful information for your marketing team. 

Employing these strategies will help your business understand whether your printed materials are effectively reaching your audience. And perhaps more importantly, they will help to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

Direct mail marketing continues to be one of the most effective tools for reaching consumers and bringing them to action. In fact, a recent study by Temple University shows that direct mail is outperforming digital ads in eight out of nine categories, and direct mail marketing holds consumer attention longer and has a more significant impact on consumer purchase decisions.

However, unless the results of any direct mail campaign are measured and tracked, it’s virtually impossible to determine how well your strategies are working. In this article we discuss how you should be including measurement components into your marketing strategy, and how you can track data to ensure you are maximizing the benefits associated with direct mail. 

Personalized URLs

Direct mail provides a great opportunity for consumers to interact with a tangible object, then translate their interest in your product to an online space. Marketers can measure results from trackable URLs or QR codes placed on a piece of direct mail. 

You can even go further than a standard URL and create a personalized URL (PURL) dedicated solely to your direct mail campaign. Rather than printing your corporate website URL on the direct mail piece, use a PURL that will only be promoted to the people receiving the direct mailer. That PURL may simply serve as a redirect to your website once it’s entered, or it may point to a landing page that is embedded into one of your site’s pages.

The data that is produced from these mechanisms can then be categorized, and overtime you will have a substantial consumer database upon which to make more informed decisions. 

Google Analytics to Benchmark Direct Traffic

Although tactics such as a PURL may help you measure the success of a direct mail campaign, eventually these measurements pile up and is worthless unless your tracking data overtime. By tracking data, you can set up objective key performance indicators, allowing you to tailor your campaigns accordingly. 

One of the best ways to do this is with Google Analytics. Although it may not seem like the natural match for direct mail, when you combine the powerful tracking abilities of Google Analytics with the data produced by your PURL or personalized QR codes, you have a extremely useful tracking machine. 

Google Analytics will help you track how many of your targeted consumers used the PURL from your direct mail piece to visit your website. You can even track your campaign’s response rate and conversion rate online using the conversion tracking feature of Google Analytics.

Just Ask

Although it may be overlooked when we’re talking about PURL’s or Google Analytics, it’s important to remember that the human connection is invaluable in marketing. Simple tools such as contact forms or quick surveys can be extremely helpful in adding to how you measure and track success of your direct mail campaign. 

For example, in the contact form on your website, add a question that asks the consumer how they heard about you. Feedback from questions like this can then be compiled and tracked to add yet another tool that allows you to measure the success of your marketing.  

Direct mail marketing is still one of the most useful and successful methods of reaching a large and targeted audience. By adding tactics such as PURL’s, contact forms and Google Analytics, your company can better understand the strengths of your mailing campaign, and use data to create a stronger marketing strategy moving forward.

There is no doubt that social networks are continuing to grow in popularity among all age groups. Recent statistics from Pew Internet & American Life Project indicated that 65% of online adults use social networking sites.  Marketers should continue to devote resources into using that channel to reach customers and prospects. However, this can also create an opportunity for your mail and print channels.

Direct mail and social networking efforts can both be improved when they are integrated together. Here are 5 ideas to make that integration happen:

Put the Social Media Badge on your Direct Mailer
Alright, this one is probably the easiest and most obvious of the bunch. If you’ve invested the time in creating and managing social media profiles for your company, you need to make sure that people know about them. Sure, some might find about them via links that you’ve added to your corporate website or via their own searches.

But to ensure that everyone knows, try adding the “badge” of social media icons to your direct mail pieces.

Simply seeing the “Facebook” or “Twitter” logo on your postcard may help your target audience become aware that your company is sharing information via those channels too.

Post Links to Your Landing Page on Social Media Sites
Let’s say that you’ve created a landing page that is filled with compelling information and a form that asks the perfect amount of questions. Will people only get to that page if they receive a direct mailer that contains a personalized URL?

Give this a try – in addition to the personalized landing pages, create versions that will be available to the general public. Then, post links to the general version of the landing page on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites that your audience uses.

Throughout the campaign, measure how people are getting to your page. Is it via the PURL on the direct mailer? Or via Twitter or Facebook? These types of reports may help you to better invest your resources in future campaigns when it comes to segments of your audience.

Make the Mailer Interactive with a QR Code
Companies of all sizes and varieties are creating videos with their Flip cameras and smart phones and uploading them to YouTube. Those videos can certainly help to spread your company’s message and to increase your SEO efforts.

But online video can also be re-purposed to make a direct mail piece interactive.

Simply create a QR Code that points directly to the YouTube video or to a mobile-optimized site that provides a link to the video. Place the QR Code on the direct mailer with a call-to-action, and then watch how your growing mobile audience responds.

Enable Landing Page Visitors to Easily Share the Link with Others
This might be the one idea where you can truly start to see growth in the overall success of your campaigns. When someone visits your landing page, make it easy for them to share a link to your content on their social media profiles.

This could be via a simple “Tweet This” button for Twitter, a “Like” button for Facebook, or some other sort of social media plug-in.

If your content is truly helpful and you make it easy for people to share it, your audience will grow with the help of others.

Drive People to Your Social Media Sites from the Thank You page
Let’s say that someone responds to the call-to-action on your direct mailer, types in their PURL, and fills out your response form. What do you then? Do you simply say Thank You?

Well, you could do that and then follow-up with them later. Or, you could try to further the engagement at that moment.

Try integrating your social media profiles into your Thank You page. This could mean simply putting icons that link to your social media pages. It could also mean embedding a YouTube video onto the page as well. Since the person has already shown interest in your company, perhaps they’d be more than willing to take a few minutes and learn a bit more about who you are and what you can do for them.

These are just a few ideas for integrating direct mail with social media. I hope that they help improve the success of your marketing and educational efforts.

We all recognize that companies no longer rely solely on direct mail and print to try to reach their customers and prospects. But as long as it remains an effective channel, businesses will use it.

Here are three ways that you can use effective direct mail efforts for your business:

Personalization and Segmentation: Data was meant to do more than simply be imported and exported. Find creative ways to segment lists by the criteria that you may have. Then, tailor the message, content, and/or graphics to appeal specifically to each group.

Complement the Effort with Other Channels: How many touches does it take to make a sale? If there really is a magic number, the bottom line is this: the answer is not typically 1! Rather, it may take multiple efforts through multiple channels to truly make an impression on a prospect. Use channels such as email, social media, and mobile marketing in addition to the direct mail piece to truly deliver an integrated, cross-channel campaign.

Test Multiple Designs & Offers: Testing multiple offers does not indicate that you are not sure of what you’re doing. Rather, it proves that you are truly supporting your marketing efforts and that you’re determined to ensure that your marketing & educational campaigns are the best they can be. Try testing multiple mailers with different wording and graphics. Then, present the reports to your team to show them what’s working the best.

If you need help with your campaigns, let us know!