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10 Useful Offline Tracking Techniques

So, you’ve dedicated loads of time and effort to developing a campaign. You’ve used offline and online marketing tactics because, these days, it is essential to create multichannel integrated campaigns.

But how do you know if any of it has actually amounted to anything?

With digital marketing taking the lead, there’s an increase in tools and analytics to measure the success of your online marketing activities … but offline is another story.

With offline, you can’t measure every click and see where your viewers hovered their cursor - but that doesn’t mean tracking is impossible. Believe us when we say that, even for offline marketing, Google can still be your best friend.

A few suggestions on how to track your offline marketing communications:

 

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1. use Custom landing pages

The whole point of marketing communications is getting the reader to do something … to get more information, to book onto your event or to buy your product. With online communications such as newsletters, adverts, emails etc. you can easily include a clickable button which can take you to a landing page dedicated to that campaign.

Custom landing pages are not limited to online communications. Just as you would include a button online, you can include a URL on print marketing, such as leaflets, billboards and catalogues.

You can then track that specific URL back to the relevant collateral. Ensure you use a short URL to increase the likelihood that viewers will remember and use it. For more accurate tracking, do not allow indexing* of your landing pages within online searches, as this will interfere with your results.

If you are conducting a split test between online and offline, be sure not to copy the text from each landing page. Amend it slightly to avoid being penalised by Google for duplication.

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*Indexing means search engines will include this in its online search results if it thinks it is relevant to the search term. Not indexing something will result in search engines ignoring it as part of their search results.

 

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2. Redirect domains

You can use a different domain name to your standard website name and then redirect to the main website. You can make the additional domain more relevant to your location/campaign etc. whilst keeping it similar to the original.

For example, if your website is www.carrepair.co.uk and you have various locations around the country, you could have www.poolecarrepair.co.uk and www.londoncarrepair.co.uk and so on.

These referrals can then be followed using tracking codes. Just like with a URL to a custom landing page, you can put these on printed materials, car wraps or any other offline marketing communications.

But again, it needs to be memorable.

 

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3. Coupons

You can use specific offers, such as coupons on different marketing materials. You will need something that you can offer as an incentive but these can be targeted depending on the audience and channel you are using.

If you change the coupon you offer, or make slight amendments for each magazine ad, newspaper ad or leaflet, you can then track where the customer has found that coupon.

It is not limited to the aforementioned offline materials, as it depends on what communications you desire for your campaign.

 

4. Discount codes

These are similar to coupons but use a code instead of a physical coupon. Make sure it is simple so people can remember it, such as DRESS10 for 10% off dresses.

Be wary that these can be put on online discount websites, which could skew your monitoring.

 

5. Hashtags

Again, these can be used similarly to URLs, codes and coupons, by putting them on various offline materials and can be made specific to a certain campaign.

If they are used alongside custom URLs or domains, specific to your offline marketing materials, it makes it easier to track real offline sources instead of those who find it whilst already online.

 

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6. Call tracking

There is software available, which may already be available through your current telephone company, where you can generate different phone numbers to assign to specific materials. With each material having a different phone number, you can locate the source of each call.

Not only can you receive information on what piece of marketing material has encouraged them to call, but you can receive reports on the time of call as well as the region they called from. This can be used on not only print materials but also TV and radio.

 

7. Click and collect

This is less obvious, as it is not specifically a tracking method.

However, the link between online and offline is so important - particularly the large amount of data you can receive on the customer’s buying habits. It helps to track offline buying habits, such as local stores, and compares these with online habits.

 

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8. Google Adwords

You can link the location of your store via Google maps and then, if smartphone users have their location history enabled and are signed into Google, Google can track an estimation of store visits for 30 days following your PPC ad being clicked.

This is not strictly offline, but as many people are now using mobile for a considerable amount of their online activity, Google has a click-to-call functionality which it can track.

Although you don’t necessarily need the AdWords click-through rate to check if your offline activity is working, being aware of when someone searches for your brand and triggers your ad, allows you to track its success.

 

9. Google analytics

If you already use Google Analytics (which you should be), you can manually note dates of your offline activity to see how this correlates with any changes.

One of the changes Google Analytics tracks is how many visitors are new, compared to repeat visitors. You can therefore see how each type of customer is affected by your offline marketing activities.

 

10. just Ask

Finally, and it may seem a bit obvious, but you can just ask your customer what brought them to you.

It is all down to being specific; having a specific call to action on specific marketing material giving a specific way of communicating with you.

The more precise you can make it, the clearer it is to see the direct line from start to finish and track whether you were successful in generating a conversion.

For more information on how to measure your marketing, join us for our next Online Marketing Analysis training session. Book your place online or by calling 01202 684 009.

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