promotional products marketing

Is Your Marketing Working?

Since being in the marketing business for the last 12 years, I have learned many different marketing tactics, worked on many quality logo products, and learned marketing styles that various small and medium sized businesses use. Some are very successful and know that their marketing efforts are working, but the overwhelming majority have no idea which, if any, of their marketing efforts are working. These businesses are paying monthly fees for newspaper ads, radio advertisements, pay per click advertising, yellow page ads, and many other marketing strategies. Each form of the aforementioned advertisement options cost a significant amount of money. Some may be working and therefore worthwhile, but my guess would be that several of these options are just draining your bank account and not paying for themselves. Any type of marketing should be an investment and NOT an expense. With any investment comes risks; therefore, it is very important to track all forms of marketing and advertisements that your company partakes. Do you know how many sales your marketing tactics are bringing to your company?

You should know every month that your $200 weekly newspaper ad is bringing in “X” amount of dollars. If that investment is paying off, then you continue it. If not, considerpromotional products marketing revising your ad content to something a little more eye catching. If after a set amount of time, that ad is not driving in at least enough business to pay for the ad, then nix it. The same goes with all of your other forms of marketing. Make sure you track the results so that you can continue and eventually increase the forms of marketing that work for your business. If you go with a Willy Nilly marketing campaign and you don’t track your results, you are setting yourself up for an empty bank account, because all forms of advertising don’t work for all businesses. So how do you track your marketing? If your business does any kind of volume, you can’t always just ask each person how they found you. One of the best methods is to create unique coupon codes for each of your marketing schemes. For example, if you have a newspaper ad, offer a $10 off coupon with ad and include a unique coupon code to be scanned or entered with your point of sale software. Mos point of sale software these days are capable of accepting discount codes. Then at the end of the month, you simply run a report for all sales relating to that specific coupon code. You then compare your sales from that unique code versus the amount you spent for that marketing campaign and determine whether or not this investment is paying off. If not, consider tweaking it a bit or doing away with it altogether. Another option is to mention a free gift when you mention this advertisement and give away custom imprinted promotional products to  that customer. The best way to track this is to treat the giveaway like a sale item with a $0 price tag so that it gets scanned into your system. Then just like the previous example, compare the amount of sales to the cost of your Free Gift campaign.

For Yellow Page ads, use a different phone number that can be tracked. The yellow page ad for my company has a separate local number only used for that specific ad and phone book so I can track the amount of calls from that ad. I only pay $5 per month for that line but I know how much the ad is or isn’t used. There are a lot of debates now about whether or not print is dead in relation to Yellow Page directories, so this is a sure way to know if it’s working for your business. It may also be a way to judge whether or not you should advertise under a different category in order to be found easier by those looking up your services.

It is important to mention that some of your marketing is done simply for branding purposes. Many of these marketing tactics won’t directly bring in business, but they keep your brand and your company at the top of consumers’ minds. An example would be sponsoring local middle school and high school sports teams. Your logo is printed on their sports programs or t-shirts and your money goes to support their team. While you often don’t see direct sales from this type of marketing, you do keep your company in the spotlight so when those exposed need your services, they will contact you first. Also, helping your local community with sponsorships is a great way to win the hearts of your own locals.

Again, I ask you, “Are you measuring your marketing efforts?” If not, I highly encourage you to do so. Your marketing should be spread through several different channels to reach the majority of your buyers. This should include online and offline advertising. Make sure each one of your marketing tactics is trackable in some way so you can measure the results. Marketing for each business often starts out as trial and error and then modified for maximal success. In order to know how to modify your marketing strategies, tracking is a must. Don’t waste any more money, start tracking your marketing today!

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