Digital advertising is all the rage. It’s the present and the future, apparently. Print, on the other hand, is dying – a relic of a previous age when striking billboards and cleverly written press campaigns were in vogue. Or so they say …
The truth is that whilst the glory days of above-the-line advertising are probably behind us, print is by no means dead. Some of the most engaging marketing campaigns out there are still in print. Brand-building campaigns that measure success according to accolades received rather than click-through rates will always have their place.
What’s more, although many businesses are drawn to digital (particularly social media) marketing because it’s cost-effective and easy to calculate a return on investment, it’s wrong to think that print cannot be tracked and measured too. Direct mail agencies, for example, have always advocated a scientific approach. Data-driven marketing is actually a product of the DM world.
With this in mind, here are 5 easy ways to measure and track your print marketing:
1. Code it! No. We don’t mean computer coding here. We simply mean adding codes to your print promotions. It’s a tried and trusted method and it works.
The next time you write to customers include a unique code. Tell them to quote this code when they make an order. If you track how frequently this code is mentioned then you’ll know how successful your promotion has been.
You can also send out vouchers with unique codes and see how many are redeemed. Plus there’s always the simplest method of them all: “bring this leaflet into our store to receive a discount”. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
2. Use unique phone numbers. These days it’s cheap and easy to set up new virtual phone numbers. Calls to these numbers can then easily be routed back to your main office or call-centre.
Whenever you run an integrated marketing campaign use different phone numbers for each media channel. A call tracking partner can then analyse how many times each number is called. This will tell you which channels are working best.
3. Get to know Google Analytics. This useful tool is free to use and can reveal all kinds of interesting information about your website. Most importantly it records how much traffic your website receives in real time.
Keep an eye on Google Analytics whenever you run print campaigns. Monitor how much your web traffic goes up. This will give you a good idea whether your print activities are having the desired effect.
4. Use unique URLs. This works in a similar way to unique phone numbers. Rather than adding your regular web address to printed communications try using unique URLs that vary each time.
If you’re running a Christmas promotion, for example, quote the URL www.yourcompany.co.uk/xmas and then see how much traffic this domain receives. The statistics will tell you exactly how many people have responded to your promotion. Visitors can always be redirected back to your homepage if needed.
5. Experiment with QR codes. You know those strange looking square boxes with funny patterns you see on posters, leaflets, and press adverts? These are QR ‘quick response’ codes that can open up your website when scanned by a smartphone.
QR codes are similar to barcodes but contain even more information. They increase response rates because it’s faster to scan them than to type in a web address manually. Use different QR codes in different campaigns to track the effectiveness of each one.
The above methods are just some of the simple ways to measure the effectiveness of your print campaigns. They will prove that print should still play a significant role in your marketing activities and enable you calculate your return on investment.
Although the digital world has revolutionised marketing, it’s important to maintain a balance in your marketing mix. Digital might be the modern way but it’s not always the most effective: many online adverts are easy to ignore and research shows that some people find them distracting or annoying.
The truth is that printed campaigns, particularly ones with high production values, tend to be more personal and compelling than digital communications – particularly if you use a quality print specialist.
What’s more, as the above methods show, the digital revolution has actually made print easier to track. This has created a powerful fusion of the traditional and the modern: the creativity and engagement of traditional print alongside the measurability of digital marketing.
Perhaps those who wrote off print should think again. Rather than eclipsing print marketing, digital technology has actually enhanced it.