You’ve completed the marketing budget; you’ve justified the cost of each promotional tactic; it’s execution time! In a perfect world all would go according to plan and you would generate numerous high quality leads that turn into large sales. Unfortunately, the world is not so perfect and the “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.
This is why it is absolutely essential to track the effectiveness of your promotional tactics. The promotional plan isn’t written in stone. It’s an ever evolving document that is amended based on what your market tells you. Imagine budgeting to spend BDS$10,000 a month in marketing but then you gain revenue of only BB$12,000 that month. That’s certainly a poor return on your marketing investment.
But where does the issue lie? Are all your promotional tactics delivering inadequate results? In lieu of actually taking the time to determine an effective way of measuring each tactic, as you seek to amend the strategy, you are again poking around in the dark guessing what you think might work in the future.
Building the promotional plan therefore requires an element for tracking promotional effectiveness. If it’s not delivering results, it needs to be cut from marketing the budget (or at least revised). Now hearing this, one may wonder how can you actually track promotional effectiveness? It requires a little thinking, that’s why it’s done at the stage of developing the plan.
As you identify each promotional approach you need to identify the associated metrics. For example, you’ve decided to embark on a direct marketing campaign by using the post office to deliver a catalogue/flier to the mailboxes of various homes. There are a couple of ways you can think about tracking if this method is working. Place a special link on the catalogue/flier that directs persons to a special page on your website. You can then track the hits via Google Analytics. If you want to get really cool, you can place a Quick Response (QR) code on the catalogue/flier to direct persons to the special page. (These methods of tracking also work great for print ads.) You can also offer a special for presenting the flier or a section of the catalogue and track how many are returned relative to the amount sent out. And you can also use a special mobile/telephone number or email address and then track the number of persons calling and emailing as a result.
For email campaigns you can use programs such as iContact, Constant Contact or MailChimp. These programs allow you to track how many persons have opened your email, clicked on a link or how many persons didn’t receive the email at all.
After you’ve determined what you want to measure and how you will measure it, you really need to consider how you will record the data. Since you can’t hold all the data in your head, you need to write it down or record via an electronic device. I’d strongly recommend an electronic device (unless you have no choice) so the data can be easily recorded, stored and retrieved. A small entrepreneur can use something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet that lists all promotional approaches and the response rate to each, based on the metric identified. The great thing about using an email marketing program is that all data gets documented, stored and can be easily retrieved for analysis.
With data recorded it’s time for you to turn it into some useful information. Look at the response rate relative to the money outlaid. If you’re expending lots of money on a particular promotional approach and gaining a poor response then that’s a serious red flag. You now need to identify why you’re getting such a poor response and revise or cut out the approach altogether. However at least you now know where the problem lies and can work on a solution. You are therefore one step closer to optimizing your promotional strategy, which translates in to greater cost savings and greater return on your marketing investment.