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Can You Really Measure Direct Mail Success?

AcxiomMarch 12, 2015

One of the biggest misconceptions about direct marketing is the belief it’s impossible to measure. After all, how could you possibly know if a postcard is what led someone to your store? Or, if that mobile banner ad is really what drove people to your event? If you believe some experts, they’ll tell you that you can’t.

But the experts are wrong… again!

As with so much of today’s marketing, the ability to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, and the ability to use that insight to improve future campaigns, is critical to your success.

Before you can track your direct marketing campaigns, you have to identify your goals. A goal for a specific marketing campaign may be to:

  • Increase awareness about a new service offering
  • Increase sales for Product X
  • Motivate existing customers

Whatever goal you set, it should be clear and measurable. Once you know your goals, you can put the proper steps in place to track it. We’ll show you how to measure your direct mail effectiveness and what data you should be examining.

For example, if you’re advertising on Facebook there is considerable analytics information directly within Facebook’s Power Editor application. Power Editor is a free browser plugin from Facebook that allows you to bulk edit and manage your ads, giving you precise control over them. Here, you can find information on your reach, number of impressions, clicks, unique clicks, your click-through rate and other information.

While not all direct marketing efforts will include their own reporting applications, there are still methods to measure your direct mail tactics.

Below are some common ways to track and measure other direct marketing efforts: 

Call Tracking

Call tracking is one of the most popular ways small business owners measure the success of their marketing efforts, whether it be through direct mail or social advertising. With call tracking, you are able to assign a unique, trackable phone number to a specific campaign, allowing you to identify which leads are coming from what campaign. No more guesswork or wondering what campaign or advertisement did the trick – with call tracking, you get clear data. Depending on the call tracking software you use, this information can often be integrated directly into your CRM system, helping you to appropriately follow up with each lead. Call tracking works especially great for direct mail pieces.

Promotional Codes

Another way to track the success of a specific direct marketing piece is to use a promotional code only associated with that campaign. For example, if you’re sending out an email newsletter advertising your Spring Sales Event, customers should be asked to use the promotional code “springsavings” when completing their order to receive a 10 percent discount. This allows you to track how many customers came directly from that campaign.

Campaign-Specific URLs

Creating campaign-specific pages on your website, otherwise known as landing pages, can help you to segment visits coming from that campaign. For example, perhaps you are beginning a direct marketing campaign that invites customers to attend a private event at your store. The call to action on your printed piece, or the call to action in your social ad, should include the URL of a specific page for customers to visit to RSVP or get more information. The URL for this page may be something like yourstore.com/spring-event. This URL would ONLY be used on that printed piece or email campaign and would not be mentioned or linked to anywhere else on your site. By doing this, you would be able to use your analytics to identify how many customers used that URL to visit the site.

Geographic Data

If your campaign was segmented to a specific region, another way to track effectiveness is to look at sessions and conversions for those geographic areas. For example, you can look at conversions by city or metro area and decide where you should focus spend the next time around based on where you see the best response. Or, if you find you didn’t make much of a dent in an area you’d hoped, you adjust your campaign for the next time or decide this may not be an area worth targeting in the future.

To evaluate the success of your marketing campaign, you want to look at how well it achieved its goals versus how much it cost for that to happen.

For more insight into perfecting your direct marketing campaigns, download our free Comprehensive Guide to New Leads and Better Customers.

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