Several years ago I had a client who routinely asked their customers where they heard about the business. Several customers started telling the company they heard about them through their television commercial. Not uncommon. Except this client wasn’t running a television commercial.
In one of my college journalism classes, we talked about the importance of interviewing multiple witnesses at accident scenes because everyone sees what happened from a little different angle and a little different perspective.
It’s that viewpoint that makes this whole world a fun place filled with unique people. This same viewpoint makes tracking your sales by asking “where did you hear about us?” difficult. Honestly, most of your customers can’t remember where they heard about you. Many heard about you from various sources: social media, a billboard and a co-worker maybe.
How do you really know what’s working in your B2B advertising plan? More importantly, which ad or referral finally convinced them to buy?
Tracking your traditional advertising
The original tracking device came in the form of coupons. “Present this coupon and receive 15% off” from your ad in the newspaper and “mention this billboard for a free widget” from your outdoor signage. But even then, how many people forgot the coupon or to mention the billboard? Other options like QR codes or text codes for coupons incorporated the digital technology. We prefer an even more targeted idea of tracking phone numbers you can assign to specific media.
Tracking online advertising
Online marketing makes it even easier to track where you picked up followers. You can see exactly who’s following you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You can also see which of those media is driving traffic to your B2B website. Google Analytics also allows you to see how deep those visitors go in your site and what pages interest them the most. You can check your Facebook insights and Twitter analytics to see what specific posts have driven the most traffic to your site. Adding calls to action to your B2B blogging efforts can allow you to track even further what clients and prospects are most interested in learning more about.
How to use the information
You really have a dilemma when you figure out what’s working. Is it working because of the message or the platform? A great message on an “okay” platform will work better than a crummy message on a hot platform. Once you know what’s working, do a little testing to see if you can make the same ads and status updates work in other media. If you know you’ve hit the sweet spot, consider how much you can invest and continue to increase sales. If $500 of ads drives the same number of sales as $1000 of advertising, you’re better off spending the least amount. However, if $500 in advertising drives $10,000 in sales and $1000 drives $30,000 in sales, go ahead and increase what you are spending.
Be aware of outside factors
Remember my client whose customers converted because of a non-existent television ad? Their competitor was running a television ad. The best we could tell was that when people searched for their competitor online, my client’s name came up first. (We had really good SEO.) Is it possible your ads aren’t converting because they confuse your customer into going to the competition? If you search for the main words in your ads or words your customers might search to find you, who do you find? If it’s your competition’s, you may have a problem. Have someone outside your company search for terms you know people search for to find you and see what they see.
To make sure your B2B websites and marketing plans are pulling their weight, it’s important to know what’s driving traffic and even more importantly sales. How are you tracking your ads and online efforts? Do you know what’s working and what’s not?