As you most likely know by now, tracking your online marketing campaign is easier than ever, thanks to marketing tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture and KISSmetrics. Valuable information is there for for the taking at just a click of a button, but what about your offline campaigns? Can they be just as simple to track?
According to many marketers, yes, they can.
Offline marketing campaigns include print magazines or newspapers, TV commercials, brochures, pamphlets, exhibits, radio and billboards – all things you wouldn’t expect to track with online tools. The good news is, however, that most people use the internet in some fashion before purchasing a product or service, meaning online tracking can be simple and effective.
6 ways to track offline campaigns online
1. Vanity URLs
A vanity URL is a unique web address that is branded for marketing purposes. The custom URL helps users to find a specific page on your website by offering an easy to remember web address. No more entering multiple keyword combinations only to find you can’t access the page you’re looking for.
Before you start your offline campaign, make friends with your IT guy and set up a redirect that takes people to a URL with campaign tracking codes. If you use this URL on your brochure, you will know that every time it is entered, the person has come from reading your brochure.
It’s important to only use one vanity URL to one redirect. Don’t use the same vanity URL for your brochure and radio ad.
2. Unique phone number
Similar to a vanity URL, a unique phone number, supplied by a tool such as GoogleVoice, will allow you to match a phone number to a certain campaign material. The phone number will redirect to your normal phone, but you will be able to track the number of people who dialled as a result of your advertising. You can then drop that source into your CRM system.
3. Behaviour changes
If you know the timings of your campaign, it’s easy to map behavioural changes via your analytics. If you spent the day handing out brochures and noticed a large spike in online visitors, you know your brochures were a success. If you run an ad on local radio, you can use geographic isolation to determine whether a spike in visitors is related.
When someone visits your website, it’s easy to include a quick popup that asks the visitor where they heard of you. You can take this a step further and get a deeper understanding of how your customers view your brand and products. How do your customers feel about your brand, what do they expect from you, how do you compare to competitors and are they aware of all the products and services you offer?
5. Redemption offers
Redemption can come in the way of a coupon, rebate or code that can be used to unlock a promotional special.
Redemption was once a very clean way to get an overview of how your campaign is working, but unfortunately, recent coupon sites are making the view a bit blurry. If you choose to use this method, try to look for redemption that can’t be posted on a coupon site within minutes of your launch.
6. Monitor direct traffic
Direct traffic in Google Analytics essentially shows visitors that couldn’t be traced back to other online sources, such as search engines, social networks or other referring websites. While this makes it difficult to determine exactly where or from what source the visitor heard of you, it does give you a bit of insight into whether or not your offline marketing is working.