"I Have No Clue What They Do, Do You?"
Fortune is In the Follow Up, But You Need to Follow Up

Tracking The Effectiveness of Traditional Marketing with The Internet

In previous posts I've explored the idea of being web centric with your marketing efforts.  All points of advertising should point back to your web site. If you have analytics software working on your web site, the web offers the tremendous advantage of automatically collecting data each time a user visits your web site. The technique below has been used for a while and it's far from an original idea. There are simple steps almost anyone can take to leverage web site visitor data with traditional forms of advertising.  Depending on your desired level of sophistication, you can refine the method to track individual pieces of advertising.

Tracking Advertising Effectiveness with a Forward Slash /
If you use a forward slash after your domain name you can send users to a specific section (directory) of you web site. In doing so, you can refine your visitor tracking.

I believe the forward slash " / " works best with print and television advertising.   Radio is a little more difficult because you can't visually reinforce a domain name.  In print and television you can visually callout or reemphasize elements of your domain name. Use a different word after the forward slash for various marketing mediums. You can even segment down with different words after the forward slash for individual publications or television stations.

Here are some examples of the forward slash method.

  • yourwebsite.com/special
  • yourwebsite.com/discount
  • yourwebsite.com/offer
  • yourwebsite.com/2008

The forward slash method can lead the user to copy of your existing home page or an individual landing page.  My personal recommendation is using a landing page. If you use a landing page, you might want to consider making a special offer to the visitor or use the opportunity to collect a lead.  If you don't use  a landing page, the page where you send the visitor should have a good Unique Selling Proposition and a strong Call to Action. 

One Caveat
The method is predicated on you having decent analytics software installed. Our standard recommendation for collecting visitor traffic data is Google Analytics.  It's free, easy to integrate, and versatile enough to get collect good data. Ask your hosting company or web developer for assistance in ensuring you have the proper software and it is setup correctly.

How to Track Effectiveness
After the advertising has run check your web statistics, you should be able to correlate the various forms of advertising and see if there is a follow through with visitors to your web site. Make sure you request a copy of the ad schedule from each individual advertiser. The ad schedule should give an hourly break down of when your advertising was broadcast. Check to see if certain types of ads perform better during various parts of the day.

Why Not Use a Different Domain Name?

Some of my colleagues have pointed out that you can also track effectiveness by using different domain names.  My personal opinion is that it's far better to brand one domain name with your audience than using multiple domain names.  This is especially true for event marketers. If you have an event that takes place every year or every few years it's recommended that you stay with one domain name.

The technique outline above is not a perfect method for tracking all your advertising.  But it is significantly more effective than dumping all your users to your home page and not knowing how they ended up on the web site.  Ultimately, the process will assist you in identifying the advertising mediums that work the best or at least alert you to advertising that is performing poorly.

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