Have you ever considered advertising in a local free distribution magazine? Have a quick read of this case study we put together for DrinkMore Water.
Why Tracking Print Ads is Important
Another common place for a local service business to advertise is in print. Over the past 5 years, there has been an explosion of local magazines – free distribution, direct mailed and subscription based. In the Washington, DC area, you have The Merchandiser, The Coupon Clipper, Metro Services Guide, Washingtonian Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, Montgomery Insight Magazine, Premiere Magazine and more. In my years at DrinkMore, we sampled all of these in one way or another. All of these publications promise big results, but rarely deliver. And yet, many advertisers continue to spend (or waste) money with them each month. The truth is that very few business owners take the time to measure and track the performance of their ads and, as a result, rely on the strength of the publication’s sales rep to decide their next move.
From the moment we created Blue Corona’s marketing measurement platform, we changed all of DrinkMore’s print ads so the customer engagement – the results of the ad – could be more accurately measured, tracked, quantified and evaluated. Let’s look at an example from a recent test of Premiere Magazine. DMW ran a full-page color ad in Premier Magazine, a local direct mailed coupon magazine that is comparable to a high-end Merchandiser or Coupon Clipper type publication.
Large advertising agencies focused on return on investment based advertising have repeatedly proven that using multiple calls to action can increase the response from a particular ad. Notice in our ad on the next page, we have three calls to action: 1) call (a specific tracking number), 2) Google (a specific phrase) and 3) visit (a specific website). Blue Corona’s measurement and tracking system acts as a net to catch prospective customers regardless of which choice they make in terms of a call to action.
The theme of the ad was “The DrinkMore Challenge,” which was only used for this ad in this one magazine. The cost of the ad was $1900 for one issue, and each issue has a shelf-life of about 90 days. The sales rep offered us the introductory rate of $750 to “prove” the value of the publication and earn our future business. “I wouldn’t be recommending this to you unless I knew it was going to work,” she told us. Sound familiar? Take a look at the ad itself below (Figure 1).
We set up a unique landing page (see Figure 2) for the ad which contained the same tracking phone number that was in the ad itself.
Figure 2: The landing page
Proprietary technology used by Blue Corona also ensures that the same phone number from the ad and on the landing page below will carry over to every page of the main DMW website IF someone were to click from the landing page (www.drinkmorechallenge.com) to the main DMW site (www.drinkmorewater.com).
Almost any action the viewer of the ad can take is tracked by Blue Corona.
With Blue Corona’s call recording technology in place, we can see that DMW received three total phone calls from the ad (see Figure 3).
This includes any avenue that the caller could have used to find the phone number—seeing the number in the print ad, typing the unique URL directly into their browser, or using a search engine to find the company.
Figure 3: Calls from Premier Magazine
Part of the service Blue Corona provides DMW is to listen to each call in an effort to evaluate the quality of the lead as well as to provide sales and customer service training when applicable.
Listening to the calls, we determined that the person who called twice was not actually a lead. The first time she called was after the office was closed, and she did not leave a voicemail. The second time she called, she was connected to one of DMW’s customer service representatives. It turns out she’s actually a customer of a retail water store that is no longer owned by DMW, but still carries some DMW branded products. She was not interested and could not be convinced to set up water delivery service.
DMW’s sales reps can use Blue Corona’s call interface like a mini-CRM system. Having Blue Corona listen to the calls is optional.
Some of our customers outside the bottled water industry, listen to, categorize and review their own calls. The level of service provided by Blue Corona is customizable based on the client’s goals, resources and situation. Bob likes having as much information about his marketing as possible. He wants his sales reps focused on selling and closing leads, so he employs us to monitor the results and the quality of the leads being generated by his marketing.
The second call was another after-hours call. The caller did not leave a message, but we forwarded the information to DMW’s sales rep, who was then able to call the person back (since our system captures the caller’s name and phone number). Remember – those Premier Magazine readers who saw our ad, didn’t call the number in the ad, but went to the URL listed in the ad are still tracked because we only used this landing page—www.DrinkMoreChallenge.com for the ad in this magazine.
So whether the potential client used a search engine to find DMW or typed in the web address, the call was captured and attributed to the Premier Magazine ad. Again, anyone searching “DrinkMore Challenge” would have seen our ad in Premier Magazine. The “DrinkMore Challenge” isn’t found in any other marketing piece that DMW has done. For those people using a search engine like Google to get to DMW’s website, Figure 4 (below) shows the ad he would see.
Figure 4: DrinkMore Challenge PPC Ads
In all, two people contacted DMW and only 20 people saw the website. None of those leads turned into new clients.
If you owned a bottled water delivery company, think about what you are willing to pay for a new water delivery account – home or office. Would you advertise again in this publication for $750? Probably not. Is there any way that the ad is worth $1,900?
No way! Not unless you are selling a very big ticket item where you do not need many calls or sales to generate a positive ROI. If DMW was selling Escalades, maybe it would have been worth another shot.
Many water delivery companies advertise in publications just like Premiere Magazine month in and month out. The bottom line is that you might do something very different with your advertising budget if presented reports with the data above. At the very least, you could avoid the most frustrating situation to any business owner: you run an ad campaign and at its conclusion there is no clear indication of whether or not it was a success or of what you should do differently the next time around to improve performance.
Hire Blue Corona and you’ll never again find yourself in that situation.