How to Evaluate Your Business Marketing Efforts

By Consumer Dummies

You want to ensure that your business marketing efforts are helping you achieve your goals. Armchair quarterbacking is a popular and pointless after-the-ad-runs activity. Instead, set objectives and plan your evaluation methods early on — not after the play has taken place.

The quickest way to monitor ad effectiveness is to test a couple of great headlines online and measure the clicks they generate. The next-easiest way to monitor ad effectiveness is to produce ads that generate responses and then track how well they do, following this advice:

  • Give your target audience a time-sensitive invitation to take action, a reason to respond, and clear, easy instructions to follow. For example, if you’re measuring phone calls, make your phone number large in your ad and be ready for call volume; if you’re measuring website visits, present an easy-to-enter site address that leads to a landing page tied to your ad message.

  • Measure media effectiveness by assessing the volume of responses that each media channel generates compared to the investment you made in that channel. Also measure ad effectiveness by tracking the volume of responses to various ad headlines.

  • Produce your ads to make tracking possible by including a key, which is a code used to differentiate which ads produce an inquiry or order. Here are ways to key your ads:

    • Direct calls to a unique phone extension keyed to indicate each medium or ad concept. Train those who answer the phone to record the responses to each extension so you can monitor media and ad effectiveness.

    • Add a key to coupons that you include in print ads and direct mailers. For direct mailers, the key might indicate the mailing list from which the inquiry was generated. For print ads, the code could match up with the publication name and issue date. For example, BG0214 might be the key for an ad that runs on Valentine’s Day in The Boston Globe.

    • Feature different post office box numbers or email addresses on ads running in various media channels. When receiving responses, attach the source as you enter names in your database so you can monitor not only the number of responses per medium but also the effectiveness of each medium in delivering prospects that convert to customers.

  • Test headline or ad concepts by placing several ads that present an identical offer. Track responses to measure which ads perform best.

  • Compare the cost effectiveness of various media buys by measuring the number of responses against the cost of the placement.