In a nutshell, online directory effectiveness can be determined by the volume of traffic coming from that source while print directory listings can be tracked by custom reference numbers and calls to action.
While you may have committed cash to either a print or online directory listing, the quandary of separating business sourced by other means, as opposed to leads stemming from your listings can easily stump many small businesses.
So how do you actually find out if the initial investment was worth it? In other words, how can you accurately determine your return on investment (ROI) and therefore the effectiveness of your directory advertising itself?
In terms of print listings, brand identity expert Nora Richardson says “the trick is to connect the dots between your printed and online advertising materials”.
“For the most part, the secret is to tie your print campaigns in with an online marker that clearly indicates performance,” she writes on her blog. “But there are other interesting ways to gather insight into your ad performance and your potential customer demographics.”
“When your ad contains a unique phone number, measuring ad response is easy: Simply count the calls coming in from that number and use a smart CRM system to track the results from lead to closing the deal.”
“When you’re marketing offline, you (also) want to drive traffic online to get the most out of your message,” Richardson says. “On a basic level, you should have analytics set up to monitor your website’s traffic.”
“When in doubt? Ask! Whether you’re tracking calls through a separate phone number or not, be sure to train your customer service reps to always ask where each caller heard about your company or a specific promotion.”
At Sensis, we offer Advertiser Performance Reports (APR) to our customers based on their Yellow Pages advertising. These APRs allow you to track the leads you get ensuring you get your money’s worth. They contain information on the amount of times your listing shows up in an internet search in addition to the number of people who have clicked on your ad and how many people have contacted your business through the ad.
In the Sensis Customer Centre there is an easy-to-use return on investment (ROI) calculator. There’s also some tips that explain how to calculate your break-even point which is the minimum amount of customers that your advertising has to deliver as well as the amount of business you’re generating from your sales leads.
According to Webmart print expert Richard Boon, measuring your ROI should start with having a direct response mechanism on the printed item.
“Including one or more calls to action (something on the print that encourages the reader to get in touch) means that you can directly measure any responses from your target audience and therefore track the profit or value created by it,” he says.
“Website responses can be tracked by analytics packages. Telephone responses are typically tracked by asking the customer where they saw the advert or noting down codes from either the printed item or an offer. Similarly, postal tracking is straightforward as a code is used on the return form which relates to the printed item.”
In terms of online listings, internet marketing specialist Allison Cates also recommends implementing Google Analytics to track referring sites (among other things).
“This allows you to see exactly how many people come directly to your site from your directory listing,” she says in a blog on the Search Influence website.
“Each month every directory should (also) send you a recap of the activity on your profile,” she says. “They usually list how many visits to your profile, how many leads you got from the profile, how many leads went to your site, etc. You can use these numbers to compare to your tracking reports.”