Though online marketing gets the lion's share of advertising dollars, if your company is still placing ads in newspapers, airing commercials on TV or radio, or even doing physical community outreach, you may wonder if there's a way to track offline promotions the same way you can with online. While it's true there's no central hub to track every person who converts as a result of offline marketing, there are ways to measure trends using tools you already have to see if offline marketing is having a noticeable effect on your business' bottom line.
Promote Specific URLs in Offline Marketing
One of the easiest ways to track an offline marketing campaign is to use URLs specifically made for offline campaigns that redirect to your main site. For instance, while online advertising for a concierge auto detailing service might point online surfers to YourAutoDetail.com, marketers focusing on billboards, TV ads, etc., can secure and use similar domains like YourAutoDetailer.com or YourAutoDetailService.com that redirect to the main site, but are only promoted offline. Marketers can then track the traffic from these alternate URLs to see how well their various offline campaigns work.
Use a Geofilter
While not as exact as tracking activity from a specific URL, Something Big suggested that small and midsize businesses that ran offline campaigns in specific areas use geofilters to compare changes in traffic for that particular location before, during and after the campaign ran. If marketers see a spike during the time a specific TV ad was on the air or while a conference was going on where your company had a presence, they'll know these marketing efforts had an impact simply by looking at the changes in geographical data.
Look at Non-Referral Traffic Numbers
All online traffic comes from somewhere, and modern analytics tools are great for telling marketers whether someone found a site via a search engine, social media or even a banner ad. But of course, with offline advertising, there isn't the same data available. However, marketers can instead look at trends with non-referral traffic numbers. Is there a spike in organic and non-referred traffic? If so, that's likely due to consumers seeing your offline media and typing in your web address manually to find out more about your product or service. While this certainly isn't an exact tracking method, it can provide marketers who don't have the budget for multiple custom URLs or are running campaigns in multiple locations — an easy way to track general trends related to their offline marketing efforts.
Check Out Changes in Search Volume
Another way to see how your offline campaigns are performing is by using the Google Keyword Planner tool and seeing how search volume for your business name changes during the periods your offline marketing campaigns are running. For example, if you're running radio ads that promote your business, you should see search volume for your business name increase during the months your radio ads are running. Here at CMG Local Solutions, we found that radio advertising increases search volume for a business or brand by an average of 44%. Why such a big increase? Simple - people hear a radio ad, see a TV ad, or read a print ad and then go online and search for the business to learn more.
While there's a preference for digital in today's marketing landscape, offline marketing still has its place, particularly in local markets. It may not be as easy to track these kinds of campaigns, but there are ways to use the tools that you already employ for digital campaigns to measure the effectiveness of offline campaigns, as well. Though your results might not be as precise, these measurement tactics can give you a good idea of what's working with your marketing efforts.