As a small business owner, you likely allocate a large portion of your marketing budget to online methods such as Facebook, blogging, Google ads, email marketing and YouTube. And with the ability to track engagement, consumption, shares and sales, it’s easy to get an accurate picture of how effective your digital marketing efforts are.
But as powerful as internet marketing is, there is still a place for offline marketing. People haven’t stopped responding to ‘real world’ methods of advertising such as fliers, newspapers, billboards and business cards.
The trick is to find a way to track the effectiveness of these offline efforts.
For decades, measuring the success of offline marketing campaigns was difficult at best, because there was no easy way to determine the effectiveness of any particular ad or media spot. But it’s possible now to combine digital tracking with ‘old school’ marketing tactics and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Here are a few ways you can use digital tracking to measure your offline marketing results:
1. UTM Codes
UTM is an abbreviation for “Urchin Traffic Monitor.” It is a little piece of code that you can add to the end of your URLs that tells you how people found you.
When combined with vanity URLs and forwarding/redirects, UTM codes are powerful ways to measure the response between say, a flier or a particular radio spot.
For example, you might direct your radio listeners to wwwfreesample.com but forward that URL to yet another landing page, and in the forwarding URL, add in the UTM tracking parameters.
So the forwarding URL might look like this: www.yourwebsite/sample/?utm_source=radio1&utm_medium=offline&utm_campaign=free_sample
which would transfer the following information to Google Analytics:
Campaign: Free sample
This method allows you to capture and transfer the needed tracking information without adding a long string of information to the URL that your prospects are typing into their browsers.
For a deeper dive into using UTM codes for offline campaigns, click here.
2. Coupon Codes
If you’re making a special offer in your campaign, using coupon codes is another great way to segment your customers. The idea is similar to using UTM codes: just create a different code for each channel, and you’ll be able to easily track which channel is generating the most conversions.
3. QR Codes
This method requires a bit more tech savviness, so use this method if you think your audience is up for it. When your prospect scans your QR code, you can automatically trigger trackable actions. Consider adding QR codes to postcards, fliers and event ‘swag.’
4. Multiple Landing Pages
One of the simplest ways to track offline campaigns is to create a different landing page (or website) for each offline channel. Once your visitors land on your pages, you can track them with analytics and convert them with an offer on the page. Just be sure to keep the URLs short and easy to remember and type. If the URL is long or complicated, you’ll lose people quickly. A link shortening tool such as bitly can help with this.
5. Different Phone Numbers
Create multiple, unique phone numbers for your company that all funnel to your main phone line. By associating each unique number with a particular marketing promotion, you’ll have easy-to-interpret performance metrics.
6. Custom Email Addresses
If your call-to-action is a request for your prospect to email you, you can track response based on the email address used.
7. Keyword Texting
Include keyword text and phone number calls-to-action with your offline marketing materials.
Most people have their phones close at hand, so it’s quick and easy for them to text a keyword to your phone number to opt-in. You can follow up with a request for more info (name and email address), and then track the campaign based on the keyword and/or phone number variations that you have in place.
Just keep the keywords short, and if possible, let them know ahead of time what they will experience after they text the keyword to your number.
With the ability to track offline initiatives, there’s no need to miss out on the potential benefits of this method of marketing. It takes some planning, but it’s worth the benefit of attracting new leads and converting them to delighted customers.