Print Is Not Dead
At Realitas Group, we are firm believers in this statement. Creating, executing and managing an intelligent and well-thought-out print advertising/marketing strategy can be an invaluable piece of your marketing arsenal. Of course, the first step you will want to take is identifying the purpose of the campaign, the objectives you hope to reach through it and the channels you will use to convey the messaging.
Once you have completed these steps, it might be tempting to start thinking about your beautifully designed ads or how awesome it will be to have your brand seen throughout your local area. Stop right there! Prior to launching a print campaign of any kind, you will want to figure out how you will measure the results of the time, money and resources that you invest.
Create a Print Marketing Tracking System
When we work with clients on creating and managing any print initiative, we figure out how we will measure success. And while there are solid ways to do this, we also remind clients that a portion of any print objective is branding and many times that metric cannot be immediately measured in a quantitative state. (We will address this topic in another post, as there is a lot of great information that we would love to share with you.)
Create a Custom URL for the Printed Piece
Let’s say we are working on a “Just Listed” postcard for a real estate agent. This postcard will be sent to a geo-specific area where people who are most likely to buy this home are located. Instead of including the URL to the real estate agent’s general website, we might create a custom URL like 123MainStreet.com. The URL is short, easy to type into a browser and is directly associated with the property we are marketing.
Create a Redirect to a Page on Your Website
Working from our example above, 123MainStreet.com is not an actual website. So, if someone were to go to that web address, they would not be taken to an actual page. In turn, you need to redirect that URL to an actual page on your website. To do this, you need to create a 301 redirect. Once this is done, if a person goes to 123MainStreet.com, they will instantaneously be directed to the URL you established via the 301 redirect.
Set a Few Parameters in Google Analytics
Working under the assumption that your website has Google Analytics setup, you will want to login and set some parameters for the campaign. (If you do not have Google Analytics on your website, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. If you are not sure how to do this or why it is useful, contact us. We can help!)
Within Google Analytics, you can set campaign parameters that will easily (and quickly) allow you to see how the printed piece is performing. Here are the three that you will want to focus on:
- Source: This should be specific to the printed piece and the traffic generated. Based off of our example, we might use ‘postcard.’
- Medium: This parameter refers to the medium that the message is being delivered through. So, for our example, that might be ‘mailer.’
- Campaign Name: This refers to the overall campaign, which might be ‘123 Main Street.’ One of the coolest things about setting this up is that you can pull in other sources that relate to the same campaign. For example, the 123 Main Street campaign might also be leveraging Zillow ads or an email newsletter campaign. If we create parameters for those other sources within the same campaign, we would be able to see where our best performance is coming from!
Monitoring the Print Advertising Results
One of the biggest fails is taking the time to set this all up and then not monitoring the valuable data that you will be receiving. The best way to avoid this from happening is to set a recurring schedule. As the campaign gets into full swing and more data comes in, you will want to pay close attention to performance levels.
Are certain sources clearly outperforming others? Is there a particular medium that is blowing another out of the water in more than one campaign? Is one campaign with the same sources and mediums as another just not faring very well?
There are a lot of variables, so try not to make any rash judgements based on one campaign or numerous campaigns that take place within a very short window of time. Look at the data from an aggregate standpoint, make some conclusions and then begin drilling down to make definitive discoveries.
The beauty of setting this up in Google Analytics is that you will be able to access all of your data in one central location, even if you are using third-party providers for email marketing or pay-per-click campaigns.
If you have any questions about our print marketing or marketing strategy services, please do not hesitate to contact us.