It's easy to assume that modern marketing is all about digital channels, but research has shown that print still has a vital part to play today.
A Temple University study found that print marketing has more emotional weight than digital ads, while a survey by MarketingSherpa revealed that 82% of US internet users trust print ads when making a buying decision more than any other medium.
If this channel remains a key part of your marketing strategy, you need a way to justify its existence by demonstrating ROI. Here are five of the most effective methods you can use to measure and track returns in this space:
1. Make the most of codes
There are all sorts of unique codes you can integrate into your print marketing to help you track the sources of leads and traffic to your sales channels.
QR codes have become a common sight on marketing materials. You can design these codes to make it quick and easy for customers to complete actions like visiting your website, accessing a particular social media page or sending an email. This is a good way to ensure that someone who is impressed by your print marketing has an immediate opportunity to engage with you.
You can also include unique codes in your promotional assets and ask customers to quote the code when they place an order. Tracking how frequently particular codes are used allows you to gauge the effectiveness of particular assets and campaigns.
Combining codes with discounts and rewards will give people an extra incentive to use them.
2. Create unique landing pages
If all of your marketing materials encourage recipients to take the same action or direct people towards just one page on your website, it's hard to differentiate between sources and make data-based conclusions about which channels are generating the most leads and traffic.
To facilitate measurement of your print marketing, set up a custom landing page with a unique web address that customers are directed to, potentially via a QR code. A sudden spike in visits to this page will tell you that your printed promotions are connecting with your audience.
As well as aiding your ROI tracking, custom landing pages can be tailored specifically to the product or service promoted in the print ad. This will support the delivery of a coherent omnichannel experience to the customer.
3. Set up dedicated phone numbers
Digital channels might be viewed by some as the quickest and simplest way to gather information or make contact with a brand, but there are still plenty of customers out there who prefer the instant engagement and personal touch of a phone call.
By setting up unique phone numbers to correspond with particular channels within campaigns, you give yourself an easy way to track how much phone contact and engagement you're gaining from certain sources.
Calls to these numbers can be routed to your main switchboard or call center to ensure customers are receiving the proper support and service.
4. Timely tracking and analytics
It's always important to track marketing response rates and use web analytics to gauge user engagement and interaction online, but these processes can be particularly valuable when you're looking for insights into print campaign performance.
If one of the main goals of your print marketing is to direct leads to a particular place online - for example, a dedicated product page - you'll want to keep a close eye on how that page performs once your printed assets are put into circulation.
A general increase in organic traffic and good outcomes like new leads and sales shortly after a print launch, while not concrete proof of success, can be taken as a positive sign that your efforts are bearing fruit.
5. Ask your customers
There is no better source of information about what brings customers to you than your current customers.
When you convert a new lead into a sale, take the opportunity to ask the buyer how they heard about you. This can be included as an optional request for information in your online checkout procedure, or as a final question to customers placing orders over the phone.
Longer questionnaires can be distributed via post-sale follow-up emails. Even if just a small percentage of customers take the time to respond, it could generate useful data that informs your future marketing decisions and investments.