How to Measure the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns
It goes without saying that marketing is one of the biggest and most important expenditures that any company will make. After all, if you are not doing the right things to add to your customer base, then your company is not going to grow in both size and revenue. That is why effective marketing campaigns are critical to the continued success of any business.
The problem is that most companies do not have an unlimited marketing budget. This results in the need for each business to examine the effectiveness of each marketing campaign to see if that type of campaign was successful or should be avoided in the future. Let’s explore this subject a little further and see how your company can track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
In this article, we explore 1) the types of marketing campaigns, 2) how to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, 3) tools for measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and 4) conclusion.
TYPES OF MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
For most businesses, especially the larger ones, marketing is a fluid and constantly changing process that never stops. Many companies run several different types of marketing campaigns at once. There are two main schools of thought when it comes to the marketing strategy that you most likely will use; these have to do with inbound and outbound marketing theories.
This is a type of marketing strategy where your business tries to attract attention to their product or service by campaigns that go “out” into the marketplace in order to generate sales. Many consider this style of marketing to be old school since the dramatic rise in popularity of the internet and the World Wide Web. Here are some typical outbound marketing strategies:
- Direct mail;
- Outbound calling;
- TV, Print, Radio advertising;
- Public relations campaigns.
Long gone are the days of door to door salesman, and other types of outbound marketing are fading quickly too. Inbound marketing has taken over and is now proving to be much more effective than older style outbound marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing strategy is designed to lure customers to your business by such means as attracting people to your website or by the effective placement of ads on popular social media sites. This type of approach is much more subtle than outbound marketing in practice. Here are some typical inbound marketing strategies:
- Email marketing campaigns;
- Website based contact (includes both web content and SEO);
- On-site/In-person interactions;
- Social media placement.
HOW TO MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
There are several steps that are involved when it comes to tracking the results of any marketing campaign. Here is an example of the way most companies do it these days.
Step #1 – Plan the campaign and how you want to track it
This step is pretty self-explanatory. As with anything that you do that is related to your business or even to your life for that matter, it all needs to start with a well thought out and effective plan. Once the marketing campaign is planned, then next you must decide which methods you want to use to track its effectiveness.
Step #2 – Define the channels you want track
To measure the success of your ad campaign, it’s easiest to do this when you divide your marketing derived traffic into subgroups that are more typically referred to as channels. Here are some of the most common types of channels and what they entail.
- Direct – These are potential customers that find your business in a direct manner without being directed there by other parties. An example of this is a person that saw your web address on a print add and typed it into their web browser to get information about your product or service.
- Referral – These are potential customers that find their way to your site via a third party that did not use a social media site or a search engine to get to you. Maybe your company will give the third party something like a referral bonus for this or you have a mutual agreement to have links to each other’s sites on your individual websites.
- Organic – This is people that find your company through search engine such as Google. They generally were looking for a type of product or service your company offers, but they were not specifically looking for your company. Many times there will be a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameter that is set up to help them find you.
- E-mail – These potential customers are people that came to you through such things as an e-mail campaign that you put on. Many get to you by using a ‘utm_medium’ with the words email or e-mail in it.
- Paid – These are potential customers that came to you as a result of an ad campaign that you paid for such as a print ad in a newspaper or an ad on a web content site.
- Social – These are people that found you while surfing through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. There are hundreds of websites which fall into this category.
- None – This is a catch-all category (it does not necessarily have to be called “none”) that all the people who find you through other channels than those mentioned above are placed.
Step #3 – Define the Marketing Metrics You Want to Measure
Like any responsible company does, you will want to measure the return on investment you are getting from your marketing campaigns, and one of the best ways to do this is through marketing metrics. Marketing metrics are simply a collection of numerical data that allows you to get some perspective on a marketing campaign to see if it met the goals your company set for it.
There are several different ways you can generate data with which to form a specific metric. Here are a few ways in which this can be done:
- Web content – This is the study of how effective what you place on your website is at both informing the people who visit the site and getting them to take some action as a result; this shows that the quality of the content actually was good enough that those people followed along all the way to the actionable task you set.
- Lead conversion – This is gathering data on people from the first time they come into contact with your marketing strategy and then follows them all the way through the different stages of the lead generation process. This includes the initial contact, then on to being a sales prospect and all the way to becoming an actual customer. This metric will track where you lost potential customers in the lead process and help you develop theories as to why.
- Individual visitors – This is data that tracks when an individual user first visits your website during a specific period of time and how many times that same person came back to visit it again. This metric lets you see how effective each phase of a specific marketing plan was.
- Tracking new visitors versus returning one’s – This metric helps you to establish how effective new site content drives traffic to your website. This is one method that is not easy to get accurate. It is sometimes best done by actually asking the people who visit your website why they came there the first time or what it was that peaked their interest to make them come again.
- Click through rate (CTR) – This most likely will include a web page on your site that has an action that needs to be performed in order for the viewer to proceed along further in an information gathering or sales process. It will measure such things as how many people visited the webpage and went no further or how many people visited the web page and initiated the actionable step.
- Bounce rate – This is the metric that causes many marketers or web content developers to lose their job or get demoted. It is compiled data on how many viewers go to one of your web pages and then leave without visiting anything else or taking any actionable steps.
- Page views – This metric measures a number of pages each visitor to your site looks at. You can also do such things with it as learn how much time a visitor spent on a webpage to get a feel for which ones were appealing to them. The more times a page was viewed, and the longer people viewed it could help you measure a marketing campaign’s success even if no action was performed by the user.
- Search engine referrals – Many search providers such as Google have special ways to track what keywords people used that landed them on your site and which search engines directed those same people to you (Google has a tool called ‘Google Analytics’ to do this).
- Social media effectiveness – You can use such things as ‘likes’ on Facebook and ‘mentions’ on Twitter to measure the effectiveness of your advertising there. There are also other tools built into social media sites for tracking purposes too.
- Word-of-mouth – Maybe the age of the door to door salesman has come to an end but never overlook direct customer feedback when establishing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Some ways in which consumers were led to becoming customers of your product or service will never be known unless you ask them. You can do this by using such things as a follow-up surveys or asking a question on the purchasing form.
- Form conversion rate – A lot of marketers have their web designers put actual forms onto web pages that have some call to action on them. These could seek more information or get them a discount coupon. These types of things are very easy to track and accumulate data for metrics.
- E-mail Openings – This metric simply measures how many e-mails were opened based on how many you sent in a particular marketing campaign.
Step #4 – Measuring Your Campaigns
Once you have done the planning for how you will track and measure your marketing campaign as well as set the parameters for it, and then it is time for the actual tracking to take place once your campaign has gone into effect.
- Measuring your “search” marketing performance – Google Analytics is very necessary to measure traffic and other data that has to do with the traffic pertaining to your website, but it alone is not enough anymore. Here are some other things that pertain to search functions that are very relevant to marketing strategy.
- SEO Position – For years many businesses have been obsessed with site ranking but that is starting to change as search engines like Google are constantly changing the way searches are done when using them. But make no mistake about it; SEO ranking is still very important.
- Pay-per-click ads – This is best done by what is known as ‘Dynamic Number Insertion’. It is a code that is imbedded into a webpage that will help you to track conversions from all of your tracking resources.
- Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Marketing – All of the major social media sites have built-in analytics that helps you track the effectiveness of your posts and other messages that you put on them.
- Measuring Print Ads and Other Media – This is done by making a dedicated webpage on your site that can only be linked out of so you know what the source for those links are. Setting up tracking URL’s is also a good way of doing this type of thing.
TOOLS FOR MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Here are some examples of the most popular tools that can help you track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
- This is by far one of the most used analytical tools in the marketing area. It helps make data available to all interested parties in your organization who wish to interpret the data.
- There is a free version that is the one most commonly used, but bigger firms can purchase a dedicated premium version with support starting at around $150,000.
- Here are its Key Features:
- It operates on a data-driven acknowledgment model;
- It contains advanced segments;
- It has many comparison tools;
- It has a real-time reporting feature;
- It has the ability to perform both cross- platform and cross-device measurement.
Kissmetrics – Funnel Reporting
- This is all about the effectiveness of bringing more types of high converting web traffic to your company’s website.
- The service is priced on a tier-based structure that ranges from $30 to over $1,000 a month depending on how man hits your website receives.
- Here are its Key Features:
- It uses individual channels to track conversions;
- It lets you see how each channel is performing;
- It shows where the bulk traffic is originating from;
- It shows the sources from where customers came from.
- This is a popular marketing ROI tool because it takes sophisticated key data and displays it in a simplistic form so it can be easily interpreted.
- The service costs between $800 and $4,000 per month depending on which services you choose.
- Here are its Key Features:
- It helps you determine which marketing programs impact revenue the most and how many contacts with the source were needed to generate the revenue;
- It helps you focus your marketing budget where its working;
- It helps to simplify key marketing metrics;
- It can be set up to deliver daily, weekly or monthly reports.
- This service has been touted as being the easiest to use modern day analytics platform. It works best for data mining, machine learning and predictive analytics.
- This service can be anywhere from offered free to custom plans that cost over $3,000 yearly.
- Here are its Key Features:
These days it not just enough to guess what is and is not working in your individual marketing campaigns. The tools exist to track results, especially as far as website traffic is concerned, so they must be utilized and then the data they produce be put to good use determining the effectiveness of any marketing campaign that was done.
For years companies did not have answers to questions concerning a marketing campaigns effectiveness with the exception of actual sales. That is no longer the case and now even if a marketing campaign fails to produce the desired results in sales, it may still be a valuable resource to build off the information you garnered from analyzing it; this can help to make your next marketing campaign highly successful sales wise.
It is imperative that you use the analytical marketing tools that are available to gather data today and use that data to shape continually future marketing campaigns toward being highly successful ones.