Coupons and discounting used to be the most common way for companies to track returns on print advertising investments. If a customer came in with a coupon in their hand, the company would know their campaign had worked.
Online advertising like Google AdWords, MSN AdCenter and Facebook Ads have similar ways of showing ads to targeted audiences with the goal to earn their website click. The problem with this type of advertising is that it is hard to gauge if those clicks are becoming sales.
Pay per click campaigns can act like a man in a gorilla costume with a sign reading “Sale!” We can assume that many people are seeing this ad, but there is little way to discern between visitors who did and did not see the ad. To make things more complex, how can we measure which customers were influenced by the gorilla and which customers were not influenced by the gorilla? This same problem can affect online campaigns that are not setup correctly or if the administrator of the campaign lacks experience.
Here are a few tools you can use to better track your online campaigns:
Landing pages – A landing page is a specialized page separate from the regular pages on the website. The landing page is built to do one thing: to turn a “click” into a sale. Design a landing page like a flyer or a catalog page that the user can buy from immediately. Embed graphics and video to emphasize the value of your product, and make sure it is extremely easy to purchase your product from that same page. The more clicks a user has to make will make it less likely they will finalize the transaction. The result? All sales from the landing page were directed from advertising campaigns and those metrics can be measured with accurate numbers.
Coupon codes – “Free Shipping with the coupon code BoxingDay2011”, or something similar, is not an uncommon offer to see on eCommerce sites. Just like in the old days of print advertising, these coupon codes can be tracked (as long as your eCommerce system supports it) and work as an additional incentive to make a purchase.
Software – A number of free and paid services/software will track your various campaigns. Integrating Google Analytics is a good first step, as it can integrate with Google AdWords and give you more intelligence on where visitors are coming from, and what they are doing once they get there. More powerful options are also available. Dedicated analytic programs will track and store information about users when they visit landing pages or your website. The details provided by these programs are very useful for designing more targeted campaigns for subsections of your customer base.
Simple steps, like the ones described above, are great ways to track where your customers are being directed from. Once you are able to track your ROI, you can tailor your campaigns to make the most sales, while spending the least amount of money.
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About Ritu Singh
Ritu has over 10 years of experience in planning, facilitating and executing marketing programs. She is passionate about marketing and driven to help start-ups and small to large companies market products and services online and offline.