A strong integrated marketing campaign can play a significant part in helping your business increase brand awareness and grow your customer base, but how do you know when it’s successful?
While digital tactics, from social media to email, often come with easily tracked metrics such as reach and click-through rate, the same is not always true for print alternatives. And yet, the convergence of data-driven marketing and small budgets has made it necessary to do just that. Simply put, you don’t want to invest money in a large direct mail campaign if you don’t know whether you can actually get an adequate return from it.
Fortunately, it’s not impossible to measure your print success. If you approach it strategically, you can set up a system in which you can easily measure the impact of your print marketing campaigns. Here’s how to get started.
Set Your Marketing Goals
First things first: you cannot effectively track the success of your print marketing campaigns if you don’t know what “success” actually looks like. Every marketing effort, regardless of the individual channels, should be tied directly to a measurable goal that helps to improve your business.
The exact nature of that goal can differ wildly. Especially if you’re just starting out, you may be looking to raise brand awareness above all else. Alternatively, you may want to increase your credibility, direct users to your website, or maximize your retention and loyalty of existing customers.
Each of these goals requires a different strategy and approach in your print efforts. This guide can help you set more defined, measurable, and tangible goals for your print marketing campaign.
Determine The Tactics Most Likely To Achieve Your Goals
Once you know your goals, it’s time to choose the type of print marketing most likely to help you reach them. You are much more likely to see your print efforts make an impact if you choose tactics that are optimized for the individual goal you have set yourself.
For example, brand awareness campaigns can benefit from postcards sent to neighborhoods around your business. Brochures, which offer more space for testimonials and other types of social proof, are ideal to build your credibility. Finally, promotional materials, such as magnets and puzzles, can work well to increase customer loyalty and maximize your retention rate.
To be clear: finding the right tactic for your goals does not guarantee success. It does, however, maximize the potential impact of your campaign.
Put In Place Measurement Variables
Once you have a clear vision of your marketing goals, it’s time to put the pieces in place that help you measure the impact of each of your printed marketing materials. Your first step should be to distinguish a clear call to action, which will be your desired goal.
You do, of course, have to connect that call to action to measurable results. Here are a few of your options:
- A Tracking URL enables you to use software like Google Analytics to determine exactly how many of your recipients followed your call to action to visit your website. Advanced Analytics users can even follow these web visitors through to conversion, giving you a fuller picture of how many people became customers as a result of your print campaign.
- Custom Landing Pages for your print campaigns allow for a similar trick. If you set up a page on your website specifically for your postcard, brochure, or other materials, and don’t link it in your website’s navigation, you can determine the success of your print marketing simply by looking at the visitor numbers for that page.
- Coupon Codes have long been a valuable way to help brands track actual purchases as a result of print exposure. Create a unique code for your print materials, giving your audience incentive to use it at checkout. Now, you can figure out exactly how many customers you’ve gained as a result of your print marketing.
- Social Media can act as another way to track your success. If your goal is brand awareness, ask your audience to add a branded hashtag to their posts. Simply counting the number of tweets with that hashtag allows you to determine the reach and new awareness your printed marketing campaign has generated.
Ideally, you should put these measures in place before you engage in print marketing. That way, you can track the success of your efforts in real time and make adjustments as needed.
Ask Your Customers How They Heard About You
If the above suggestions are difficult to implement, you may want to try the oldest method of print marketing validation: ask your audience how they heard about you. You can do this informally at checkout or formally as part of a survey sent out after each purchase.
The results you will get are far from comprehensive. Not everyone remembers which message they heard first, so you will receive at least some incorrect information as a result. This type of question does, however, help in validating the more quantitative ROI results that the above methods get you, acting as a valuable additional piece of information for your business.
Print marketing can be immensely successful, but it will also require resources. You don’t want to spend these resources without having at least some confidence in your ability to measure the return, which is why understanding the impact of print marketing campaigns is so important. Through the above steps, you can set up a system that allows you to reliably determine the ROI and overall impact that your printed efforts make.