Department store magnate John Wanamaker said, "Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half."
And business management guru Peter Drucker is known for saying "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."
These quotes illustrate a critical principle for both online and offline marketing. Yet many marketers and business owners still launch a campaign based on instinct and assume if sales go up, it must be working. We call it "spray and pray." Don't fall into this trap.
You can read all the stats and firsthand accounts of successful postcard marketing campaigns. You can design a beautiful postcard that’s eye-catching, customer-driven, and true to your brand. You can pick the perfect audience.
But to prove it works for you (and to give you full bragging rights), you've got to have the data to back it up. Read on to learn 3 simple steps to track your performance.
Define Your Goals
Before you can design and measure an effective campaign, it’s important to be crystal clear on your goals.
First, you have to decide whether you will run a branding campaign or a goal-based campaign.
A branding campaign, though still valuable, can be a bit more difficult to track in concrete terms. Branding campaigns don’t include a clear call to action for the reader. These postcards could be thank you notes to new customers or announcements of an exciting change in your store.
How many times have you heard an ad salesperson and account manager claim "But what about all of the branding you're receiving?" when trying to defend an under-performing campaign.
It's true a branding campaign can positively shape your customer's perception of your business and reinforce brand recall and loyalty. But it's hard to put a dollar figure on the ROI of these campaigns. Even a brand campaign should ideally have a measurable objective that it is accountable to.
In the case of a goal-based campaign, you can segment your customer list to target a particular group and encourage a specific response. For example, you could send a postcard to customers who haven’t made a purchase in six months and offer a discount on their next purchase. Or you could send a postcard out to everyone who purchased a particular item from your store and encourage them to buy a related item you think would interest them.
When you have a measurable goal, you can move forward with a variety of tracking methods to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. To make it easier on you, we’ve sorted through all the technical jargon in order to bring you the four easiest ways to track your direct mail. Each of these methods are as simple as they are effective. No marketing degree required!
Tracking Method #1: Coupon Code
A discount code is another effective way to track campaign results. Simply include a code in your postcards that you don’t advertise elsewhere and encourage recipients to use it when they buy.
Once a significant number of recipients have started receiving your campaign, check your dashboard to see how many orders have been placed. You'll also find your ROI/return on ad spend calculated for you.
Tracking Method #2: Custom URL
If the goal of your direct mail campaign is to direct recipients to a certain page on your website, a custom URL is a great way to track your success. For example, let’s say you own an ecommerce store named Cathy’s Corner, and your website is cathyscorner.com. On your mailer, use a slightly different (but still relevant) URL.
You can purchase an all-new URL, such as cathysclothing.com, or you can more simply add a landing page that’s hidden from your main site, such as cathyscorner.com/vip-offer. Whatever you use, pick something short and simple. No one wants to type in a long URL with half a dozen slashes and dashes.
Once you’ve created the new landing page, design it around the unique message or offer in your mailer. Your website builder should make it easy to quickly build a new page to suit your needs. If not, don't worry there are plenty of tools that can help—Leadpages is one of those tools that can help you create a landing page in no time at all.
Once you send the mailer with your custom URL, use Google Analytics to measure hits on that page. As long as you don’t promote this URL elsewhere or put it in your site’s main menu, you’ll know that every hit you count is a result of your direct mail campaign. Take it a step further with Google Ecommerce tracking, and you can even track how many of those visitors actually make in-cart purchases on your site.
Tracking Method #3: Custom Phone Number
For some business owners, the goal of a campaign will be to have prospects or customers request a consultation or follow up with a sales rep. In this case, a custom phone number is a great way to track the effectiveness of your postcard.
You may be surprised to learn that call tracking is remarkably easy to set up. Services like Grasshopper allow you to assign different phone numbers to different advertising campaigns. You can put a unique phone number on your postcards, then track how many calls come through as a result of your campaign—and even how long those calls last once they’re connected with someone from your company.
By using custom phone numbers on each campaign, including not only postcards but also your other marketing initiatives, you can easily track effectiveness and ROI to ensure you’re investing in opportunities that are truly profitable for you.
Find Out if Postcard Marketing is Profitable for You
Once you define your goals, tracking methods make it easy to measure the effectiveness of your postcard marketing campaign, compare it to your other marketing initiatives, and ultimately answer that big question, “Yes, but will it be profitable for me?”
Try MailSnail for free to get started with designing and tracking your first profitable postcard marketing campaign.