Keeping Up with Your Tracking

Tracking the success of a marketing campaign can be, hands down, the easiest portion of your initiative to neglect.  After the all the planning, strategy and execution, it’s a sigh of relief to have everything out the door and off your plate.  And, add in the day-to-day duties of your job, customers, phone calls, vendors and more customers, and, well, who has time to do tracking?

If you don’t, you should make time.

Following your initiative’s foot print is the best way to see where your clientele is coming from so you know where to send your message, or how to spend your advertising dollars.  From the most basic to the most advanced, here are a few ways to make tracking a part of your everyday business model and why this information is important to you.

No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

Asking all your new customers or clients, ‘How did you hear about us?’ should be mandatory, no questions asked.  I know it sounds silly, but you can easily integrate this into everyday business activities.  Make a script and a tally sheet for yourself and employees when answering the phones.  If the person calling is a first time customer, simply slip the question in when you are asking for their contact information and note the answer on your tally sheet under the appropriate choice.

Another way to add it in is to make it the required first step in your sales transaction or website questionnaire.  Since the answer is required, and your new, hot lead cannot go on to the next step without answering, you ensure that you get the tracking information you need on a regular basis.  And making it a part of your sales process creates an easy flow and transition, without any additional hassle.

Technology and Tracking

For those already tracking their marketing on a regular basis, kudos!  But, here are a couple more advanced ways you may not know about.

Some direct and shared mail companies may offer you the option to purchase a phone number tied directly to that specific marketing piece.  This phone number will only ring through on one line at your business, thus making your tracking fool-proof – the person calling on that specific line has the number from that specific mail piece.  Voila – instant tracking!

Another advanced tracking option is personal URL’s, or PURL’s.  PURL’s are personalized landing pages (like a mini web page), that are unique to each individual on the mailing list.  For example, if I were to receive a mailer with a PURL, mine might be ‘ENarvaez.DowElectronicsDeals.com’, but yours would include your information.  Once you get to the landing page, which is informational, and not an advanced website, there is typically a form to fill out and submit.  The best part is all this information is recorded for you to use – who logged in, what information they submitted, what time they logged in, how many times they visited the site and so on.

Whether you are just starting to get into the nitty gritty of tracking, or you are more advanced, tracking is something no business owner can afford to ignore.  This information leads you to your client base, and shows you what isn’t working for your business.  And, bottom line, if you aren’t seeing a good ROI from your marketing and advertising, its time to switch gears to get your customers in the door.

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Need publicity? Try this!

Happy Friday, readers! This week’s post is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and very helpful if you want to get some PR (and not pay a dime for it). I recently discovered a handy little website that connects journalists and bloggers to potential sources.  It’s called HARO (Help A Reporter Out), and it works on the premise that “everyone is an expert at something.”

Screenshot: helpareporter.com

All you do is sign up on the website by providing your contact information, business name, and select an annual revenue range. Simple! Once you’ve signed up, you’ll start receiving emails with potential stories from journalists– about 3 each day, containing 30 or 40 potential stories (so you’re basically guaranteed to find something that’s up your alley). Some of them may just be a basic subject line, like “How to run a small business,” and others are more direct, like “Looking for small business owners to tell their story.”  When you click on a headline, you’ll get a few extra lines about the story as well as contact information.

The HAROs sent to you will cover a pretty broad span of topics, and are grouped in an index according to subject matter: i.e. Business and Finance, Education, Entertainment, High Tech, etc. Since our readers are most likely going to be in the Electronics, Satellite, Home Security or similar fields, you’ll want to scan for HAROs that cover these topics. For example, today I received one where the reporter was looking for “Future Car Technology.” You may not be an expert on automobiles, but if you sell car audio products you probably have a good idea of where the technology is going– let the reporter know your take on the matter, how it will affect you, and you might just get a bite! Do you sell home security products? Another one I received was on the topic of security companies and the green movement’s effect on them, an obvious fit for this industry. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and put your own spin on the subject when you contact the journalist. Once you find one that you know would be a perfect fit for you and your business, you make your pitch to the reporter.

The pitching part of this service is arguably the most important and you should spend a little time thinking about what makes you a good source for the reporter to interview. Write them an email explaining your experience or expertise in the subject at hand and let them know what you have to offer– what sets you apart? Once they have read your pitch and decided that you can contribute to their story, they will contact you for an interview. I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the media outlets looking for sources. Not only do industry specific blogs use HARO, but also big names like The Associated Press, Forbes, and Huffington Post.

Check out @helpareporter on Twitter

You can also keep an eye on their Twitter stream for “urgent HAROs,” or last-minute stories for which reporters are looking for someone to interview.

Obviously this isn’t your ordinary advertising tactic and it takes a little bit of effort to make it work for you, but just imagine the effect if you were quoted in a major media publication! Customers will be rushing to make a purchase from the guy they saw on CBS or read about on their favorite website.  You don’t have to wait around anymore and hope that luck lands you a chance for publicity like this. Reporters are looking for people like you, all you have to do is let them know you’re there. This isn’t traditional advertising, you won’t be able to promote your products or specials. However, it is  a great way to get your name out there as the local expert, and some would argue that brand recognition is worth its weight in gold– so try it! What do you have to lose?

Give it a try and come back to tell us about your experience in the comments below!!