One of the hardest/most frustrating things in business is effectively tracking your advertising. Frankly, it’s also one of the prime values a call service like ours can provide… ie: “how did you hear about us?” But does this simple question really tell the whole story? The natural tendency is for business owners to try and track their ROI specifically per medium, per channel.
But we all know that’s not the way it works.
In the past, we could run a TV or radio ad with a unique phone number and measure the calls from said ads directly. But you tell me, when’s the last time you heard or saw an ad and immediately made a phone call?
Actually, when’s the last time you heard or saw an ad with a phone number in it?
Make no mistake, branding efforts and mass media are just as effective as they’ve always been. Some may argue even more than ever. You just need to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
What has changed is how we as consumers make decision choices. No longer is it, “I heard you on the radio.” It’s, “I heard you on the radio, then I Googled you and checked out your website and then your reviews. Then I asked my social network if anyone had experience with your practice. Then I called you.”
(This behavior speaks to the fact you have to control your message at EVERY level, but that’s a topic for another time.)
By the time they reach your practice, the real catalyst – the radio ad – stands a 0% chance of getting credit for doing its job.
So does this mean your radio ads were ineffective? Hardly.
The 2 biggest benefits of internet advertising:
1. You can advertise directly to people actively looking for your services.
2. You can track your advertising ROI almost exactly to the penny. But this hyper-accuracy has conditioned us to expect the same level of targeting and ROI measurement for all other media forms, which simply isn’t possible.
However, there is one major advantage traditional media has over its plugged-in sibling: it is still more LOCALLY relevant. Meaning it’s more effective at establishing your practice as a local expert, a local presence, a provider for YOUR community.
The Internet has no geographic boundaries. Traditional media does. Regardless of your message, if you advertise on TV, print, radio, billboards…etc., people will instantly recognize this is a place I can drive to. A place I can TOUCH. It’s endlessly more effective at driving awareness, and awareness still matters.
So back to the question at hand – if you can’t track your advertising, then how do you know if it’s working?
I know this sounds crazy, but it’s really quite simple. Simply ask yourself this question: Are you making more money?
More specifically, look at your gross revenue, then subtract your marketing dollars spent. Measure that net revenue month to month, quarter to quarter, year over year. Guess what? If you’re trending upwards, then you’re advertising is working. So don’t change a thing.
Again, I know this seems like the most common sense, fact-less advice ever given, but you’d be surprised at how many practices are amazingly myopic when it comes to measuring their marketing and advertising efforts.
Great marketing strategies are built for consistency and long term growth. As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all boats, and as such effective advertising raises ALL lead sources, not just their own.
Now after all that, we’re not suggesting you completely disregard specific lead source ROI tracking. You have to be able to filter out the duds from time to time. We’re just asking for you to take a step back and think about what advertising is really supposed to do – drive awareness. As the awareness increases, so will your business… and your profit. That’s the only number that really needs measuring.