Measuring & Tracking Traditional Marketing Efforts

Brandon Schmidt | April 11, 2018
Digital Marketing

Not sure which marketing efforts are showing a return? Here’s how you can measure your online and offline marketing campaigns.

measuring traditional marketing

One great benefit of the internet for a local company is the ability to track and measure your marketing and advertising efforts. In the past, it used to be that you would pay for traditional advertising — such as a billboard, phone book listing, or ad placement — and try to measure any impact it might have on calls or foot traffic.

Now, with the wealth of tracking, measuring, and analytics tools, you can get a better understanding of how your marketing dollars are (or are not) translating into more leads, closed contracts, and revenue. With this type of information, you can make a more confident decision into where you spend your advertising budget for the best results.

What Counts as a Conversion?

Whether you are working with a marketing agency or your in-house marketing team, it is crucial to identify the various actions you want your audience to take online.

Some are easy to identify: if someone places an order or requests an estimate for your services, you’d want to count that as a conversion. For stores and physical locations, maybe phone calls or requests for driving directions are considered a conversion.

But what about the steps before that?

If you are in a research-heavy industry or one with a long buying journey, it is important to track smaller steps along the buyer’s journey. This can be anything from watching a video, downloading a guide, or visiting a certain page. We call these micro-conversions, and it helps you get a better understanding of your audience and their behavior patterns.

3 Ways to Track Your Marketing Efforts

Tracking your audience from paid advertisements, social media, and other channels to your website can help measure the effectiveness of these campaigns. Some of these tools can even help with tracking the performance of offline or traditional marketing & advertising.

Here are some ways you can now measure and track your marketing:

1. Call Tracking

With call tracking, you can create a unique phone number to track any calls made to your business from a certain ad campaign. This is useful for industries that rely heavily on phone calls for scheduling an appointment or service, such as plumbers or medical. Another option is to use a dedicated phone number for physical ads, a mailer, or a billboard to see if any calls come from those traditional campaigns.

2. UTM Codes

If you use or are familiar with Google Analytics, you may have seen the Channel Report, which highlights the different sources of traffic to your site. Google places the traffic in specific buckets, such as Social, Organic, and Direct traffic. UTM codes are a way to provide Analytics with more information about these traffic sources.

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are short snippets added to the end of a URL. They don’t affect the site the user sees, but the code provides detailed information about where the user comes from. UTM codes are used to separate different marketing campaigns, ads, and even specific social posts. When done right, you could be able to attribute a lead or revenue to a specific Facebook post, guest article, or email.

3. Vanity URLs

Vanity URLs are a great way to track visitors to your site from offline sources. Similar to the functionality of a UTM code, a vanity URL is a new domain purchased for a specific event or campaign. This new URL is used in any offline advertising – including podcasts, print ads, billboards, radio, or television. When a user types that into their browser, it is redirected to your site with a specific UTM code, so your analytics software knows it came from this offline source. Vanity URLs work best when they are short, memorable, and easy to spell.

Bonus: Marketing Software

For industries with a long sales cycle – B2B or companies with a high-value product/service – you’ll likely notice that visitors come to your site several times over a period of days, weeks, or months.

Marketing software can help track these potential customers and nurture them down your sales funnel until they are ready to call, email, or place an order. Big software platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce Pardot offer attribution, tracking, and automation services, but at a hefty price. For smaller local businesses, options like SharpSpring, JumpLead, or Fastbase can offer similar functionality at a fraction of the cost.

Set Up Tracking & Analytics for Proper Attribution

Setting up your analytics, tracking codes, and website funnel is the best way to measure performance and results from both your online and offline campaigns. An internet marketing agency can help make sure the right conversions are being tracked and measured for your campaigns, as well as creating custom reports or dashboards to see the results.