Run a digital marketing campaign and you’ll have a whole world of performance insights at your fingertips. With digital marketing campaigns you can monitor click-through-rate (CTR), sales and social media engagement, to name just a few metrics. Thanks to these insights, your digital marketing team can confidently report on the effectiveness of their campaigns and make necessary adjustments to further improve their success rate. 

But how effective is your print marketing? It’s just as important to be able to track the performance of your print marketing campaigns. Yet, without all the fancy technology of digital marketing campaigns, it can be harder to monitor the results of your non-digital marketing activity.

It’s important that you can prove the effectiveness of your print marketing activity, secure budget for future campaigns and understand how well your print campaigns perform. That’s why we’ve pulled together some methods for measuring the performance of your print marketing campaign.

What is print marketing?

Print marketing captures any form of marketing or advertising that uses physical printed media. Consisting of a large range of materials such as posters, leaflets, brochures, direct mail and even billboards, print marketing comes in many shapes and sizes to help your business promote your products and services.

With many organization’s stopping print marketing in favor of online marketing, you can use print marketing to gain a competitive advantage in your industry. While many companies may be shying away from print marketing, it can still be a valuable marketing tactic for your company. According to MarketingProfs, 92% of 18-23 year olds find it easier to read printed content than digital. Further to this, print marketing can allow you to reach more people across different generations, send personalized direct mail campaigns to your customers, and can be used to complement your digital marketing activities.

How do you measure print marketing performance?

Having established that print marketing still has an important role to play in your organization’s wider marketing strategy, you also need to be able to prove to senior decision-makers why print marketing is integral for your company’s success. 

Some of the techniques you can use to track the performance of your print marketing campaign include:

  • Including unique coupon codes and offers on your print marketing materials
  • Using QR codes to encourage recipients of your print marketing take action
  • Creating a unique subdomain or landing page for your print marketing campaigns
  • Including a campaign code on your print marketing materials
  • Asking your customers where they heard about your services, products or offers

To ensure you are effectively monitoring the performance of your print marketing, we will explore each of these methods in more detail.

Unique coupons or offers

Everybody loves a coupon code. Coca-Cola distributed the first ever coupon code back in 1887 when they used direct mail to provide prospective customers a coupon code for one free glass of Coke. The power of coupon codes still remains today. 

You can track the performance of your print marketing campaigns by adding a unique coupon code for a special offer. When people redeem the special offer using the unique code printed on your brochure, letter or other printed marketing materials, you will then be able to trace that purchase back to your print marketing campaign. Remember to use a unique code across each type of print marketing so you can determine which type was most successful in driving sales to your business.

Whilst coupon codes are a great way to encourage consumers to become customers, it’s important to only use them sparingly and wiseley. Discounting your products or services is effective for acquisition but if used too often, it could impact how customers perceive your brand.

QR codes

Chances are you want readers of your print marketing to visit your website, send an email, follow you on social media or call you. If so, QR codes are great for helping direct mail recipients to advance to the next level in your sales and marketing funnel. 

QR codes are a really smart technology that can perform an array of functions. By adding a scannable QR code to your print marketing campaign you can encourage prospective leads to take action. When including a QR code on your print marketing make sure you explicitly state what action the QR code leads to. For instance, you can add a call to action asking people to scan the QR code to visit your website, send an email, or fill out a form to access your gated content.

When sending visitors to your website from a QR code, you can then track the online behaviors and conversion rates of these visitors. To track website visitors from your print marketing QR codes, you should use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to create a unique URL containing campaign information. For example, your unique URL such as stating that the source is QR code, medium is brochure and the campaign name is your Summer 2020 brochure. You will then be able to use this information to attribute website visits, conversions and activity to your print marketing campaign.

Unique subdomain or landing page

You don’t have to use coupon codes or QR codes to track website visitors that have come from your print marketing campaigns. Instead, you could set up a unique landing page or subdomain that you know has only been distributed via your print marketing activity. 

If you run a campaign that is referring to a specific topic or business service, you can direct prospective customers to visit a landing page that has been set up for that topic. For example, if a college runs an outdoor campaign advertising their upcoming student open days, they could create a landing page containing the permalink “openday”. This will then allow the college to attribute any visits to the “open page” landing page to their billboard advert.

Add a campaign code

Simply adding an identifiable campaign code or name to your print marketing materials could help you track your print marketing performance. When customers phone you to make a booking, or for more information, you can ask them to quote the campaign code of the direct mail they received. 

This method of measuring print marketing performance may be better suited to B2B companies or small businesses who are able to manually review their marketing performance. As this is a manual way of tracking print marketing performance, it may not be the most effective solution.

Ask your customers

Directly asking your customers “How did you hear about us?” can be a simple yet effective way of gaining an insight into which marketing campaigns are delivering results for your business.

If you expect customers to register for gated content, complete a contact form or complete a form during the checkout process, you can use this form to request information about where your customers last heard about you. You can then add a drop-down box that enables them to choose whether it was through online advertising, social media, word-of-mouth, brochure, postcard or an event, to name a few examples. 

Adding this at the account sign-up stage or when asking them to enter their details to receive gated content is a non-intrusive way to gain this information.

What else can you do?

Once you have decided how to measure the performance of your print marketing performance, you can then use this data to optimize your future print marketing activity. 

You may want to use A/B testing to determine which creative format is most effective. When using A/B testing, be sure to use different identifiers to capture the visitors from each campaign variation. You can then analyse the audience website activity and sales to inform decisions about which campaign style performs best.

Another thing you may want to consider is segmenting your audience. If you don’t already segment your audience based on different qualifying factors, you should start. Segmenting your audience will enable you to make sure you’re providing relevant, useful information for your audience. For example, if you run a pet business, you may want to segment your audience based on the type of pet they have. You will then be able to send them relevant direct mail campaigns for their specific pet interests and needs.

Finally, make sure you use a strong call to action throughout your print marketing performance and most importantly, track and test the success of different calls to action, creatives and campaign types. By following these steps, you will be able to confidently prove the effectiveness of your print marketing and use the insights to make adjustments to future campaigns.