Probably the quickest and easiest way to know if your marketing is successful or not is to actually track how many customers it generates, based on how much you spend. In my last post i discussed working out how much it cost’s you to acquire a customer, if you are not tracking how many customers your marketing brings in then how are you going to know how much your marketing is costing per customer.
Tracking your customers is actually quite an easy task, and something that often can be slipped into your normal process with very little additional effort or cost. While some of the points below are pretty straight forward some require a little extra planning and forethought. While no one method will give you all the information that you need, using a combination should give you a near enough to complete picture to properly track your current marketing and plan future marketing activities.
ASK THE CUSTOMER
The absolute easiest way to find out how the customer has come to be dealing with your business is to simply ask. “How did you hear about our business?” While it is easy to ask this question actually doing so and keeping track of the responses is another thing. For this to work with your staff you need to make the procedure of tracking as easy as possible. One option may be to create an A4 page which has 10-12 common responses, with a space for a check mark, and then an area at the bottom for other responses.
Literally asking the question and using the results to form your marketing plan can be a very powerful way to improve your business, and can help to show you if some area’s of your marketing are working better then others and can also help to show which area’s are not performing.
If you tend to advertise in the newspaper, magazines or with flier drops often, you can easily track the response to these methods, by using coupons. Rather then just advertising a in store special, advertise something where they need to bring along the coupon or specifically ask about the offer. This will help you to better understand where your customers are seeing you.
For example you may have 200 customers buy from your store per week, and every week your spend $400 for a full page ad in the newspaper, thinking this is one of the main reasons why so many customers come through. One week you decide to insert a coupon for a fairly special offer on one of your best selling products, but do not advertise it in store. At the end of the week you have two of the coupons in the till and have really noticed no difference in sales to any other week. After some more testing with coupons and actually trialing a few weeks without placing the ad at all, you realize the ad provided almost no exposure to your actual customers at all.
Another way if you do flyer drops more often then advertising in a newspaper or magazine, is advertise your offer, but make a better offer if they bring the flyer along. One example may be if you want to have a 25% off sale, advertise it as a 20% off sale, and add to the flyer, bring this flyer in for an additional 5% off. While you are advertising in store and on the flyer 20% off you will be able to see who is coming in from the flyer and who is just a customer coming in, based on who gets 20% and who gets 25% off their bill.
DIFFERENT PHONE NUMBERS
While many business consultants would suggest being consistent and having just the one phone number consistent across everything, this is not always the best approach. If you rely to a large amount on people calling after seeing one of many different types of advertising it can help to use different numbers to differentiate which advertisement the potential client has seen and is responding to. This can be done in a number of different ways depending on what you have available and your budget.
The best but probably most expensive way is to use a different 1300 free call number for each different type of advertising, or version of you ad. For example if you advertise on billboards, on the radio, in magazines, newspapers, and on TV. Using a different number on each method will help to show if one is more successful then another, or even if one provides little or no response at all. The same can be done for different version on an add, say if you had 3 different bill board designs, use three different numbers.
Another alternative if you do not have such a large budget is making use of an existing phone system, to use different extensions, and list your phone number with a different extension for each different ad. Or finally to actually just have the person answering the phone ask which extension and keep a log, while the extension really means nothing it is your way of tracking.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Doing any or all of the above is good, however what really counts is putting it all together and acting on the information you have gathered. For the most part there is going to be some expense, in gathering and analyzing the information. Which can easily be offset by better optimizing your marketing through using the information to cut under performing ad campigns and direct more of your marketing budget to the area’s that are providing you with the majority of your clients.