Jul 06, 2011
Tracking Your Success, Plus 15% Off Reply Cards
The beauty of direct mail is that it makes tracking the success of your marketing easy. But you have to take advantage of it. Say, for example, you design a mailer with a call to action to call for a free consultation. But when the phone rings, you don't ask people where they heard about you. In that case, if you see a big uptick in the number of calls for free consultations, you can guess it was from the mailer, but you won't really know if you don't ask.
That "asking" is about setting up a specific way to track people's responses to your mailer. The tracking device depends completely on the call to action you've asked readers to take. Here, we'll list some of the most effective calls to action that also offer easy trackability.
Call to action: Scan the QR code. Tracked by: Number of scans, number of visits to unique URL, number of sign-ups to dedicated mailing list. We've written recently about ways that you can use Quick Response (QR) codes in your direct mail pieces (see here and here). With QR codes, there is a wide range of possible response mechanisms, including visiting a specific mobile-friendly landing page or signing up for an email newsletter (or filling out some other kind of form).
If the response mechanism you've chosen is visiting a website, create a dedicated landing page just for visitors scanning that code. That way, you can be sure that all traffic to that landing page is coming from your direct mail QR code. If the response you've chosen is filling out a form, build your database so that information entered into a form includes an identifier showing the person came from the QR code mailer (or put all of those leads into a specific database).
Beyond tracking where your prospects went after they scanned the QR code, one of the most alluring aspects of QR codes is that many of the QR code generators also offer scan tracking - so that whatever your response mechanism is, you can see how many people scanned the code.
Call to action: Visit the website. Tracked by: Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for analyzing traffic to your website. It's free, and at its most basic level at least, fairly easy to use. When you sign up (here) you can watch some tutorials on using the system.
As long as you use a dedicated URL (a sub-page on your website) just for traffic coming from your direct mail piece, you'll be able to see the number of website clicks that came as a result of your mailer. You'll also be able to see how long those visitors stayed on the landing page, where they went afterward, what kind of browser they used, where they're located, and much more (there's not much you'd want to know about your website visitors that Google Analytics can't tell you).
Call to action: Send back the reply card. Tracked by: Manually. An oldie but goodie. When you ask your mail recipients to fill in and send back a reply card, you're giving yourself a very clear way to measure response rate - it's simply the number of reply cards you get back.
You will, of course, have to think about the information you're asking for on the reply card. Don't ask your prospect to write you a novel, but take the opportunity to glean some usable information - alternative contact information, product preferences, or other sources of insight to lead your next communication with that person to a sale. (For reply card design tips, see Mail Design Part 4: Designing Your Reply Card or Response Letter.)
Once you've tracked how many responses you've gotten from a given mailer, what do you do with that information? You leverage it every way you can. This month's Integrated Marketing article, Direct Mail as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool, offers some excellent advice for gleaning insights from direct mail responses and then merging those insights within your CRM system.
You'll want to track leads through the sales cycle so that you can know at the very end of the day whether a response, be it a click through to the website or a phone call, turned into an actual customer. You'll also want to use your response data to hone your call to action, your marketing message, and your marketing media in the future (read more about that in 12 Steps to Direct Mail Success - Step 11: Test, Measure, Repeat).
This month get 10% off reply cards
Get started tracking your direct mail results with this month's offer: 15% off printing and mailing a business reply postcard or courtesy reply postcard (use coupon code REPLY2ME at checkout). Mail the reply card (which studies show dramatically increases response rates) to build your database of customer information, to improve your products and services through surveys, and to create qualified leads from a pool of prospects.