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How to Measure a Successful Marketing Campaign

Mar 4, 2008
One of the biggest mistakes any new business can make is not completely evaluating all aspects of a marketing campaign.

Let's say you are an online publisher and you have just written a book on flowers. You have contributions from some of the best florists and landscaping experts in the world, a catchy headline, killer advertising copy, and an offer that has been screened through focus groups and surveys so you have confidence that you've developed a best-seller. You spend time and effort developing a landing page so anytime someone clicks on your ads, you are able to capture contact information with an offer of a free special report, even if the visitors do not buy your product.

You're a smart marketer, so you know you can't sell a flower book to everyone. But you're not sure exactly what niche would find your book most appealing. You decide it could appeal equally well to three categories: Florists, Landscapers, and Gardening Enthusiasts. Let's say you find three websites that you thought would be perfect for your ad, one targeting Florists, one targeting Landscapers, and one that targeted Gardening hobbyists. As a smart marketer, you decide to run the exact same ad to each of these specific markets and then measure the results. You set up an ad tracking service so you can track where your traffic and sales come from. So, how do you know when you have a successful campaign?

For purposes of illustration, we'll assume the website that caters to Florists will allow you to place a solo ad in its weekly ezine to its 20,000 subscribers one-time for $150.00. All of the ad spaces are booked for the next three weeks, so you schedule your to run in Week 4. From that ad, you receive 20 clicks, and of those 20 clicks, 9 people buy your book -- a 45% close rate, which is terrific. You also capture contact information on 18 of those people who signed up for your special report. You just spent $150.00 to get $269.55 (profit of $119.55) in sales and the contact information for 18 Florists about four weeks later.

Now let's look at the website directed at Landscapers. This website does not have an ezine, but they do have an active chat forum where an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 landscapers visit every day. The entire membership base for the website is over 75,000 landscapers. Your ad can be posted the next day, rotating with 10 other ads. This ad costs $100.00. You run your ad for 5 days, so approximately 20,000 landscapers saw the ad. Of those eyeballs, you got 75 clicks, but only 3 sales. Of the 75 visitors, 50 of them gave you their contact information as they requested your special report. You just spent $100.00 to make $89.85 (loss of $10.15) and obtain contact information for 50 Landscapers within 5 days.

Finally, you want to place an ad targeted to Gardening hobbyists. This website happens to run a daily ezine during the Spring because their audience really wants information during that season. During the summer, it is run weekly, and then from Labor Day until March 1, it is emailed monthly. Their list is smaller, only 4,000 subscribers. Your ad can be placed in the next day's ezine for $200.00. You get 30 clicks, and 12 sales from your ad. Of the 30 visitors, 11 people signed up for your special report. So you spent $200.00 to get $359.40 (a profit of $159.40) in sales and the contact information for 11 people the next day.

So, which campaign was the most successful?

Well, it depends.

If you are only interested in up-front profit, you would be tempted to say that the campaign to the Gardening hobbyists was the most successful. It generated the most immediate profit -- $159.40 versus a profit of $119.55 for the Florists and an initial loss of $10.15 from the Landscapers. It also had the advantage of being able to generate that profit the next day instead of 4 weeks later, or even over a 5-day period.

Some marketers spend a lot of time looking at the Ad response rates. If that is the measure of success, then the ad on the Landscapers forum was the most successful, with a whopping 3.75% response versus .45% for the Florists and .75% for the Gardeners.

Still other marketers swear that the measure of a successful campaign is the close, or conversion, rate. If that is the true measure of success, then the Florists would be deemed most successful because 45% of the Florists who went to the site actually purchased the product, versus only 4% of the Landscapers and 40% of the Gardeners.

But the true measure of success is the entire picture. The Gardening hobbyist list is small, only 4,000, and its readers tend to be seasonal. A smaller list will tend to fatigue more quickly, so you would not be able to run your ad daily and maintain the same results. Also, your results in other times of the year, when they do not have a daily ezine, may be vastly different.

On the other hand, the Landscapers campaign, while it actually lost money on its initial ad, gives you the lowest upfront cost, the highest ad response rate, the largest potential customer pool, and the most opt-in subscribers to create an ongoing relationships to upsell, cross-sell, or for future products. If you have a strong back-end, with an ongoing email autoresponder campaign and a series of products for generating new sales, the Landscapers may be the best, most profitable audience to continue focus on in the long run.

There is no one true measure of success in marketing. The important thing is to test and measure everything you can. The more knowledge you have about your audience and their reactions to your products and advertisements, the more successful you will become.

Good luck and keep testing.
About the Author
Katryna Johnson is an attorney and small business consultant with 20 years marketing experience. She has run several small businesses and is currently experiencing success through the Plug-in-Profit system. Find out more at http://www.TJCashbox.com.
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