Measuring the response rate of your direct marketing is just as vital for offline campaigns as it is for online ones. It’s just not as easy.
For digital campaigns like email marketing, you can use online analytics programs to track bits of code written into your mailers and get a succinct picture of what’s being read and what’s not.
Here are some ways to track offline campaigns for a comprehensive overview of how well they work, without spending a fortune to do so.
The first step is to allocate a unique numbering system to the direct marketing mailers, because you don’t want to be counting anyone twice or it will skew your results. It costs slightly more to number your print run, but it might be worth it in the end. This is particularly important if you aren’t promoting an actual offer, because you’ll want to track recipients rather than sales.
Unique codes also work for tracking actual sales, as long as the purchase process requires your customer to input a promo code when he places the order. You can make this work by offering a special promotional discount based on the use of the code.
If your direct marketing campaign includes a specific offer, tracking your sales will help you to identify how many customers responded directly as a result of the campaign. This also enables you to calculate your ROI on the expenditure very well, and there are several ways to doing it:
- Set up a dedicated phone line for order purposes (or more if you expect to be busy) and provide the number as part of the call to action as the ONLY telephone number to use.
- For online orders, use a specific URL that is printed on the offer but is not publicly visible on your website and isn’t reached via your navigation. Keep it simple, though, because if customers struggle to type in a long address they might change their minds.
- Create a campaign email address for questions and customer care that is printed on the mailing.
If your direct marketing isn’t promoting a special offer but just building brand awareness and you want to know how many people you are reaching, provide a free gift that the customer has to redeem using a code or his name. It isn’t an exact count because not everybody will bother to redeem the gift, but you can make the assumption that those who do have read the material and have therefore been reached.
This works much like the free gift option, and if you enable online entry into a contest using unique identifiers you’re likely to get a better response than if the customer is required to enter in person. The gift and contest options are also good ways to generate leads even if they don’t translate into actually sales immediately.
It’s all about what the objective is for the direct marketing campaign, and that’s what needs to guide your choice of tracking options. As long as you’re conducting some form of assessment based on your goals, the intel it provides will serve you better than if you don’t bother to track.