Tracking the Success of a Flyer

My brother sent me an email today asking on behalf of one of his customers, "How do you track the effectiveness of flyers?"

This is a common question. I often get asked this question or a similar one when discussing marketing strategies. The heart of the question boils down to the return that companies achieve for different types of advertising. Usually, this is in the context of figuring out the success of a marketing campaign.

Ideally, marketers should know the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). Our formula for this metric is Revenue minus Investment divided by the Investment. In this case the "Investment" is the cost of the advertising campaign. I say "ideally" because many marketers don't seem to track ROMI. This is shameful. Every marketer should not only track the performance of all their ads, they should also have quick answers to questions like, "How successful was that flyer campaign?"

Getting back to the question of tracking the success of a flyer campaign... For me the answer is less about how and more about the effort involved to track performance and results. Every method for tracking success takes effort and most marketers don't seem to want to put in the effort. But let's start with how.

Here are a number of techniques:

  • Underprice an item for sale with a unique price like $99.97 (instead of $99.99)
  • Add a tracking code that is required to get a discount or unique produce
  • Add a unique phone number; these can be quite cheap now-a-days
  • Point people to a microsite with a unique catchy URL
  • Similarly, point people to a unique landing page
  • Use an unique email address for people to use
  • Offer the promotion at a unique location e.g. to the flyers in one area of the city that has a location close by
  • Suggest that the prospect contact a specific person
  • Implement an in-store survey that is triggered when someone enters the store and ask: "How did you hear about us?"
  • Similarly, add a drop-down field on the website and ask: "How did you hear about us?"
  • Monitor Google Analytics and/or store visits and look for an obvious increase in traffic
  • Include a form in the ad that must be completed to get a promotion
  • Only do one unique promotion at a time; e.g. flyers for one month and nothing else
  • Add a QR code, although I don't see QR codes anymore, they seem to be out of fashion

As you can imagine each of these techniques takes effort to implement. You have to think ahead and figure out what people will do. In fact, you have to do more than that; you have to guide them and direct the audience to do what you want them to do. Click here. Phone this person. Fill in this form. Remember this number. Visit there. Etc. It isn't easy; and people don't always do what you want them to do. The key, however, it to anticipating how people will respond and helping them do what you want them to do.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to do something. Anything. Start by trying a least one method to track the performance of an ad or a marketing campaign.

And here is the secret: it isn't as hard as it sounds. Just try it!