How to Measure Your Holiday Marketing Efforts
You know the old adage: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. But sometimes it may seem difficult to know how to measure your marketing initiatives. Last month, we suggested multiple ways to boost your marketing efforts during the holidays. Now we outline how you can measure these efforts to determine which ones are working and those that may need to be re-evaluated.
Our suggestions for emotional marketing focused on tapping into the joy of the season. It’s a time when people focus on families, friendships and giving, so we recommend you use marketing and advertising dollars to connect with your customers on an emotional level. But in order to know whether your efforts are working, you will need to implement ways to measure your marketing. Here are our suggestions:
Measure your customer referral program. A customer referral program does two things. It gauges how satisfied your existing customers are and determines how willing they are to refer their friends and family. It is fairly easy to track referrals, because new customers will mention who referred them in order to receive their incentive.
Quantify the effectiveness of your holiday card. We recommend sending cards via direct mail rather than email in order to stand out. Physical holiday cards are often put on display and are seen multiple times. Enclose a 5 or 10 percent discount on their next purchase. Help maximize the effectiveness of your printed holiday card by encouraging customers post about the card on social media or mention it during their next contact. If you include a coupon, incorporate a specific so you can track how many coupons are redeemed. Better yet, drive customers to a unique website page so you can automatically track the number of visits.
Assess your e-newsletter metrics. We know email marketing works and it remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your customers and prospects. You can track email statistics including the number of successful deliveries, the number of opens and click-throughs and which links users are selecting. With some key industry knowledge, you can benchmark how many people generally open e-newsletters in your industry so that you can tell how you stack up in comparison.
Connect through advertising. Whether you choose print or digital advertising or a mix of both, make sure you track it. Digital advertising will provide metrics on how many users click your ad, even specifically who clicked the ad. When a new customer makes a purchase, always ask how they heard about your business and take note if they tell you they saw either your print or digital ad. If you have ads running in multiple newspapers, ask for specifics about which in which publication they saw your ad.
Donate to a local charity. Whether you choose to donate a portion of your monthly profits to a charity, set up a donation can at the register or collect food donations, promote your efforts on social media. The more people who share your social media posts, the more others will be encouraged to patronize your business. Measure your efforts by how many times your charity posts were shared, how much engagement they received on your social channels and ultimately, by whether you meet your stated goal. Issue a press release at the end of the campaign and keep track of what publications print your news. Add up the circulations of those publications and you can tell how many people your news reached.
Offer holiday discounts. If you decide to offer free shipping during one particular holiday weekend, compare shipping orders for that weekend to those on either side of that date to see if there was a spike in customers taking advantage of your offer. If you decide to offer 20 percent off on a Thursday, follow the same methodology by comparing other Thursdays in the month to see if there was a spike in sales or not. If there was a spike in sales, was it enough to offset the 20 percent discount you offered?
Pay attention to social media. You never know what kind of posts might go viral. For example, if your employees have small children, consider recording them on video saying what they believe the holidays are all about. You may be surprised and touched by what they say. Most social media networks offer metrics so you can measure how many people saw your post, reacted to and shared it. You will also be able to see how many people engaged with your post and compare posts against one another to see which ones performed the best.
Measuring your marketing efforts is critical when creating next year’s marketing plan. No business wants to continue to put money toward something without knowing if it will produce a good return on investment. In order to know what works, you have to create goals and then measure your performance against those goals. Not every tactic will work for every business. It is important to try different methods to see how customers respond. If your results exceed the goal you set for a given project, by all means continue with it. Be honest about those efforts that do not achieve the desired result. Evaluate what changes could be made to improve the result or turn to something new. In time, you will discover and refine what works for your business.