Track Everything! Tagging Your Campaigns

Do you know which (if any) of your marketing efforts drive traffic and which drive revenue? In my experience, the most common answer to that question is “No.” Most often companies take a look at the bottom line, and as long as things look profitable, business continues as usual. When things don’t look ok, guesses are made about which campaigns to cut and which to keep. There is a better way… campaign tracking.

It’s easy! But you need to have a plan! Make a list of your current online and offline marketing activities. They may include Email, PPC, Banners, Direct Mail or  Link Exchanges. Next, where are the sources of these events? For a Link Exchange, this would be a unique value for each website you post your link on. Now for the special sauce…  My friend, Mark Reid over at Austin Web Design Shop, gave me a great trick that you’ll love.

With your list in hand, you will want to devise a tracking code system. For example, the first letter in your code:

  • Email: E
  • PPC: P
  • Banners: B
  • Direct Mail: D
  • Link Exchange: L

The next three letters can be your source, for example:

  • In-House List: IHL
  • Yahoo: YAH

Each company’s system is unique so don’t hesitate to change it up to fit your needs.

Now, dependent on which web analytics tool you are using some things will differ. But the first step is to get a tracking code added to your URLs whenever the visitor came to your site from a campaign.  For example, http://www.mydomain.com/?cid=EIHLJLYNEWS where CID stands for Campaign Id, but you can name it anything that works for you. That example could be a tracking code for an Email sent to my In-House List, and it is the July Newsletter. Since I know my system, I can look at this and know what the marketing effort is.

URL Shorteners

So, you may be thinking this is all well and good for online campaigns, but how will I get someone that received a postcard in the mail to type in all those letters? Guess what! You don’t have too… as long as you use something like a TinyURL or my favorite Goo.gl. There are lots of them available for free including ones you can install on your server. If you are using PHP, you should check out  YOURLS. When you use this type of tool, you can create a short and easy to remember URL for your customers to type in like http://www.mydomain.com/CampaignName and the tool will redirect them to a URL with all your tracking information.

Dependent on which Web Analytics tool you are using, you can expand on your execution of tracking campaigns. The most important part is to start using your data!

Instead of looking at whether PPC is working, check each keyword and ad group. Instead of looking at Direct Mail, look at each list and each campaign. Start to understand what campaigns drive revenue and which drive traffic. Which are profitable and which are not. Push your marketing dollars to the programs that bring the most income and where your cost per visitor and revenue per visitor on that campaign make sense for your business.

Happy Analyzing!

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