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.
Sure, you can point out 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 indisputably 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.
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.
With a goal-based campaign, you're seeking a specific response. For eCommerce stores, this is typically making a purchase. For example, you could send a postcard to customers who haven’t made a purchase in six months and offer a discount to win them back. Or promote a new product launch to customers that purchased a similar item in the past.
With a measurable goal in mind, you need to be able to track how many people achieve your goal and the revenue they generated. Here are 3 simple methods to track direct mail performance.
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.
BONUS METHOD: No Coupon Required!
PostPilot knows when a customer has received their postcard and automatically tracks if that customer makes a purchase again within 30 days, or a date range of your choosing. So you know how every campaign is performing, no matter the message or offer.
Tracking Method #2: Custom URL
Another option is to send recipients to a custom URL, not accessible to users simply browsing your site.
For example, if your online shoe store is is nicekicks.com, you could create nicekicks.com/vips and promote that URL on your card to your loyal customers. Add messaging that is consistent with the content and offer in your mailer.
Pro tip: Pick something short and simple. No one wants to type in a long URL with slashes and dashes.
Use Google Analytics to measure traffic to that page. Since you haven't referenced this URL elsewhere or put it in your site’s main menu, you can be confident that users visiting that page is a result of your direct mail campaign. With Google Analytics ecommerce tracking, and you can also track how many of those visitors actually make a purchase.
Tracking Method #3: Custom Phone Number
Finally, some business owners may wish to have prospects or customers contact a sales rep or request a phone consultation. In this case, a custom phone number is a great way to track the effectiveness of your postcard.
Call tracking can be surprisingly easy to set up. Services like Grasshopper or CallRail provide the ability to assign different phone numbers to different advertising campaigns. Add a unique phone number to each postcard campaign, then track how many calls each campaign receives, as well as the length of each call and other details.
If your business gets a lot of calls, utilizing custom phone numbers in both online and offline campaigns provides an easy way to track performance.
Find Out How Profitable Postcard Marketing is for You
Once you define your goals, these tracking methods make it easy to measure and compare the effectiveness any campaign.
Try PostPilot for free to get started creating, sending, and tracking your first profitable postcard marketing campaign.