This is a guest post by Jeanne Landau.
It’s not rocket science – response rates and budget optimization are the crux of a successful advertising strategy. But, it is surprising the number of businesses we talk to that don’t have a solid plan in place to track leads and response rates so they can accurately tie results back to a specific campaign and budget, and therefore justify the money they spend.
Today, advertising is required to be efficient and meet many expectations; generate leads, optimize budgets and stay one step ahead of the competition. It also has to be clever, inspiring and unique. Many of these challenges are addressed by creative executives, designers and media buyers and negotiators. Other challenges, like ensuring lead generation and a good ROI are more difficult to achieve, but not insurmountable.
So how do you develop and manage strategic advertising programs and be sure you are implementing a strong campaign? One that tracks ROI in today’s complicated media environment while also producing results?
Get More Calls so You Can Work More Leads
First, you need to incorporate a unique and easily remembered response tools in your advertising so we can remember it and respond thereby becoming a new lead for the business.
A simple but powerful response device – think 1-800-FLOWERS® or 1-800-GOT-JUNK® – translates into significantly more leads and sales for your business and will set you on the path to a healthy ROI. When used in advertising, these easily remembered vanity numbers are proven to increase response rates by at least thirty percent (30%). And, according to a study by Infosurv, Inc. respondents had a 75.4% average higher recall rate of vanity 800 numbers over numeric toll-free numbers, and they had a 57.6% average higher recall rate of vanity numbers over URLs.
So, it’s safe to say that while there is no doubt we are continuing to move towards more digital online communications, there are also a large set of the population that still prefers to have a live conversation, and advertising companies should give that demographic a break and provide them with a 10-digit phone number they can easily remember, instead of a 10-digit phone number that is the equivalent of a bank account number – which no one remembers, right? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so…
There are many benefits to using an unforgettable phone number as the call-to-action in your advertising. Together, the ads and the response tool establish a strong image in your market segment. For example, almost everyone recognizes the McDonald’s arches from afar. The same goes for notable logos like the Nike swoosh. The same concept stands for smaller, local business as well – you can probably think of a few right in your own market.
This concept of image recognition translates to your vanity 800 number if it aligns with your brand, like 1-800-GOT-JUNK. And when you place a number like this in all of your advertisements, business materials, marketing materials, and promotional items it is going the extra mile – doing the leg-work of identifying your company and maintaining a consistent image in your market.
Increasing consumer response rates and generating more leads only gets you halfway down the path to a good return on investment. There is a bit of work that needs to be done to prove out the success of a campaign.
You need to analyze the leads generated by your advertising – or any communications to customers – so you can re-align your marketing strategy and spend your budgets more wisely.
To evaluate campaigns you need to have the tools in place to monitor your advertising performance. It is very easy to ask new customers or clients where they heard about you, but it’s not always accurate. Monitor your advertising campaigns based on actual response rates. It’s easy with the call tracking data that you’ll capture on every incoming call, if you have a sophisticated call tracking software solution in place.
So, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know how each incoming lead found my company?
- Am I able to track my company’s return on advertising dollars effectively and accurately?
- Do I really know which media outlets are working well, and which ones are draining my budget?
If you answered no to any of those questions, it’s time to get on board with a call tracking plan.
With real-time call tracking reports, advertisers have definitive data to answer these three questions and more. You will gain the ability to build a database of leads for future marketing efforts, analyze campaign results for media budget optimization, and examine a wide range of call data such as cost of calls, missed calls, and markets that produce the most results and bring you the most leads. These are the markets you know you should focus your time and money on in the future.
Best Case Scenario
Here’s a best case scenario. Recently a career college implemented this two-pronged approach of generating more incoming call traffic and tracking the data of their incoming callers. After featuring an unforgettable direct response tool in their advertising, the incoming call volume to the admissions department jumped seventy percent (70%), and in turn produced an identifiable increase in enrollment opportunities for the organization – “more leads.”
The executive director of the school explains that “Since activating the vanity 800 number we’ve had the best two years in history. More applications are coming in as a result of our advertising, and I attribute that directly to the vanity 800 number.”
The school not only observed an increase in leads, but they were also able to track their calls and see where they originated – meaning geographically and demographically. After being approached multiple times by a local magazine to purchase ad space, the magazine’s sales rep switched tactics. The rep convinced the school’s marketing department to test the magazine’s response rates using free ad space. To the school’s surprise the magazine generated the highest return of all other media outlets they had been using. The school admits that they never would have known how valuable the magazine is to them had they not been able to track response with hard data, rather than supposition.
It really is that simple. Memorable vanity numbers increase response rates, and call tracking data empowers you to monitor advertising performance, learn what works for your business, what resonates with your target audience, and gives you the opportunity to make changes to your marketing strategy and improve your ROI.
Photo courtesy of BigStock.