You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Track!

construction-marketing-ideasI had a new client meeting last week where I was reviewing this year’s worth of ad campaigns to set a budget and strategy for 2011. As I sat with the owner and his marketing person I asked how each part of their marketing did as far as results; print, direct mail, online advertising, the website, everything.

I droned on and on through each campaign asking what results they got and not once could they come up with anything that resembled a reasonable answer. Now, I get it, most small businesses are barely holding on in this economy, but given that fact, I make sure to pay even more attention to my results for clients, not less.

But that was what I was there for

To help them realize that not tracking their results meant they had no idea where they were going, and that they had to go into the New Year with a fresh start, a new way of thinking. So we started by moving the budget around and away from some ad campaigns that targeted passively engaged shoppers at best, so it was still a good day. But having to start all over after a year’s worth of ad spend sucks.

So, here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your 2011 ad budget

Use call tracking numbers – No one cares about your phone number more than you. Don’t be so stubborn to think that call tracking numbers are going to cost you business. Knowing how many calls, how long in duration the calls were, and where the calls came from is priceless information in this economy. And many call-tracking programs have a recording feature that will let you review all of your calls to make sure clients are being routed to the right people and their needs are being cared for.

Use coupon codes – Using specific codes or offers in each of your ads let’s you identify the best offer and ad platform so you can shift advertising dollars to better producing campaigns on the fly.

Ask – When I sit down to review a company’s ad programs I always sit with the person who answers the phone the most. You will be amazed how many times they DO NOT ask how a prospective client or customer found you, and when they do, how easily they let the prospect off the hook with a vague answer like “I found you online” or “I saw an ad”. Neither helps you track what ads are working and which ads are not.

Get under the hood of your website – The traffic and visitor reports for your website will give you a lot of detail on how people find your site. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools will allow you to track ad campaign results and conversion tracking too.

Be a bulldog about your data – If you don’t track your results, you can’t manage them, so make data your friend.

So make it a New Year’s resolution to be more involved in how clients find you and give yourself a chance of having a better than 2010!