Marketing metrics play an important role in understanding how effective your campaigns are, and the metric that many marketers live and die by is response rate – the percentage of potential customers who take the next step in the purchasing process from the entire pool of campaign recipients. Typical response rates run between one and two percent, though marketing materials distributed to in-house mailing lists can generate response rates of five percent or greater. When you know your response rate, you can test and tweak different marketing materials to achieve greater success. Here are ten easy ways to track marketing response rate.
1. Physical coupons
Coupons are among the longest-standing and most effective ways to track response rates. You can print direct-mail postcards, brochures, flyers and other marketing materials with perforated tear-away coupons; or, print business cards and rack cards as coupons. Then count how many coupons are redeemed in order to determine your response rate.
2. Coupon codes
Coupon codes are excellent ways to track response rate, particularly for direct-mail marketing campaigns and online marketing campaigns that direct customers to your website to make purchases. One of the best features of coupon codes is they can be automatically counted, so you can measure response at a glance.
3. Variable URLs
Variable URLs are web addresses created for specific customers. For example, let’s say you launch a direct-mail postcard marketing campaign that directs customers to your website to make a purchase or complete some other action. Your customer will be given a personalized URL, such as www.YOURSITE.COM/FIRSTNAME-LASTNAME. This type of personalization can help motivate customers to respond, and also makes it very easy to track response rate – in fact, variable URLs allow you to track individual, person-by-person response rates, which can lead to other targeted marketing opportunities.
4. QR codes
Despite being dismissed by critics, QR codes remain popular ways to drive traffic to your website, mobile apps and social media pages. Many services offer dynamic QR codes, which allow you to change the page redirects for a single QR code and also offer valuable analytics, which you can use to measure response rates.
5. Landing page analytics
Every website should have analytics installed, so you know how customers are interacting with your content. In addition, the best marketing campaigns send customers to dedicated campaign-specific landing pages that aren’t promoted elsewhere. By combining the power of custom landing pages with analytics, you can quickly see how many customers are responding to your postcards, posters, flyers and other marketing materials, as well as how many are converting by making purchases.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular, free apps for tracking website visitors. It offers a comprehensive overview of visitor demographics, page visits and more. You can even set up conversion pipelines to track incoming visitors and track marketing response with accuracy, all for free. Set up Google Analytics on your website as well as special goals for your landing pages to better understand the results of your marketing efforts.
6. Email analytics
Similarly, email marketing campaigns should include measurable analytical data you can view to see how many email recipients open your emails, how many click and what they do once they arrive on your landing page. Most major email services offer built-in analytics; you can study them to understand response rates and, over time, make decisions to improve response rates.
7. Phone calls
It might seem old-school, but one of the best ways to measure response is to count the number of phone calls you receive – especially if your marketing materials specifically request customers to call a number. If you use a custom phone number, measuring response from a given campaign is simple: Only those who have viewed your marketing materials will call it. If you use your general number, you can still ask customers how they heard about you, find out if they’re responding to your marketing materials, or even compare call volume during a campaign to average call volume in order to determine your response rate.
8. Foot traffic
Similarly, monitoring foot traffic at your brick-and-mortar location can be evidence of response; if you compare the number of people who visit your storefront to the number of people who typically visit your storefront, you can determine your response rate.
9. Emails/contact form submissions
Another easy way to measure response rate is to count the number of emails or contact form submissions you receive during a campaign versus your averages. This is especially effective if you’ve asked customers to fill out a contact form, newsletter subscription form or email you directly to receive more information.
Finally, if your marketing campaign specifically requests customers to make a purchase you can track response by counting the number of purchases made during your campaign versus the average number of purchases made. Purchases are often considered to be conversions, a separate metric from response rate, but if making a purchase is the response you’ve requested, then the act can be considered a response.
All of these methods can be used to determine your response rates, but those that measure real campaign-specific numbers are the most accurate: coupons and coupon codes, for example. It’s important to remove assumptions from the equation, so you can make educated decisions based on real data.
That said, it’s also important to recognize that response rate isn’t everything – profits are. Let’s say, for example, you sell a product that nets you $100 per sale, and you send 5,000 postcards and generate a two percent response rate (those who visit your website) and ten percent of respondents convert to buyers. You would net ten sales for $1,000 – not even enough to cover your campaign costs, given that such a campaign would cost right around $2,000 to launch. You would lose around $1,000 for your efforts.
Now, let’s say you sell the same product and you send the same number of postcards and generate a one percent response rate, yet 75 percent of respondents convert to buyers. You would net 38 sales for $3,800. With a campaign investment of $2,000, you would ultimately make around $1,800. Even though your response rate for this campaign is lower, you’re able to profit because your conversion rate is much higher (by the way, if you were able to earn a two percent response rate, you profit around $5,500 for the campaign).
These examples illustrate why great targeting is so critical to marketing success. If you can get your marketing materials in front of an audience that is likely to buy and offer an incentive they can’t refuse, you’re well on your way to marketing success.
Response rates are important marketing metrics, absolutely; but they’re not as important as your bottom line: return on investment. Maximize your success by developing high-ROI campaigns, then focus on increasing response rates. Use the methods described above to track your results, then make adjustments as needed. Over time, you’ll be able to craft reliably successful marketing campaigns that put cash in your pocket.