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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.

“Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…. Everywhere I look, all I see is tactics!”

Perhaps you have also felt that same way recently. We hear about tactics across nearly every marketing channel out there. QR Codes. Personalized URLs. Augmented Reality. SMS/Text-Messaging. Mobile Email. Social Media Advertising.

Those are just a few of the terms that we hear and talk about quite frequently in the marketing world. I know that I can often get quite excited about them!

But, while there is nothing wrong with diving in and understanding specific tactics, we run the danger of thinking of those things as bright and shiny objects that can solve all of our problems!

Instead of falling into that trap, we must be willing to increase the amount of effort and focus that we put on having a strategy.

Long-Term Solutions Come From Having a Strategy

Because we provide marketing services to our customers, we certainly need to pay close attention to new tools and technologies that could improve our offerings.

However, we must ensure that the services we do add (for example, a QR Code or PURL on a postcard) are not treated simply as add-ons. Rather, we focus on integrating them into the overall marketing strategy that supports our customer’s goals.

Often, the development of a strategy will consist of us asking critical questions. The answers to those questions will not only help us decide which tools and technologies should be used, but also, how should we best use them.

Yes, some of our customers come to us with a fully thought-out marketing strategy. But in today’s world, we understand that many CMOs are running around at a frantic pace; thus, they could benefit by having a service provider, like us, offer some consultation and suggestions.

If you do you have a campaign coming up, here are 4 steps that could help you develop and/or analyze a marketing strategy for it:

  • Describe your business: This sounds simple, but it’s crucial. It may help you to define key characteristics that affect branding and messaging.
  • Define the goal: The goal will help avoid using a new tool or tactic simply because it’s new. Rather, it will help ensure that the the decisions that are made are done for a reason.
  • Understand who the audience is and where they are: Think about QR Codes for a second. If your client is going to be placing print advertisements inside of a subway station where there is no cell service, do QR Codes really make sense? Or, if you are going to send information that is highly sensitive or private in nature, will a personalized URL actually cause people to not respond?
  • How will you measure success?: As a service provider, we may be constantly looking for ways to demonstrate and prove our value. However, in the rush to incorporate a new tactic, we may overlook what steps are necessary to help us measure the effectiveness of a specific tactic. By answering this question ahead of time, we will increase our chances of being able to present valuable data to our customers during the marketing campaign.

These are just a few of the questions that can help us to develop and deliver solutions that increase our revenue now and in the future. I hope that you find them find helpful! Yes, there will be always be new tactics that catch our attention, create some buzz, and get us excited (me included!). But no matter what the tactics are, having the right strategy will help to put us on the right path.

QR codes offer a number of benefits for marketers. One of the most important benefit is the ability to tie together the print, mobile and web channels to increase the response rates on multichannel marketing efforts.

Since QR codes make it easy for people to jump from print to the web, this intelligent tool can add to the success of your personalized URL (PURL) campaigns, too.

QR codes have the ability to lower the barriers often surrounding customer response which, in turn, leads to an increase in overall campaign response rate.

Here are several benefits that can be easily achieved by coupling QR codes with PURLs to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns:

Providing one-to-one communication
PURLs can be embedded right into QR codes, so when a customer or prospect scans the code, they are taken directly to their personalized landing page.

Once a recipient is at that personalized page, you have the opportunity to engage with them and have a one-on-one dialogue.

Making it easy to respond
QR codes make PURLs portable. They allow the recipient to access each individual PURL without the need to sit in front of a computer.

Because people are on the go, and many carry their phones with them at all times, this portability is ideal in increasing the response rate.

Additionally, QR codes eliminate the need for a recipient to type what may be a rather lengthy PURL into their web browser.

By simply pressing one button on their smartphone, your prospect or customer is automatically directed to their own personalized website. This eliminates the chance of typos and

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decreases the amount of effort required by the recipient to access the information.

Tracking and measuring
Every marketer knows there is nothing more important than being able to measure the success of a campaign.

PURLs provide the ability to track which recipients visit their personalized page and, depending on the level of the PURL, gather additional contact information about each individual.

Similarly, various software programs have been developed that will also record the amount of scans per day, what time those scans took place, the location of the scans, and the type of device being used to scan the code.

Together, QR codes and PURLs can provide a more complete picture of which recipients express interest and which leads are the hottest.

QR codes will only enhance the value PURLs already bring to campaigns, becoming a logical extension of the PURLs you may already be implementing. Use them to fill the gap that other cross-marketing tools cannot.