When it comes time to launch your new products, offers and ad campaign for the new year, your focus will likely be on the initial offer. But your success will depend on the behind-the-scenes planning you do ahead of time.
Here are the three things you must do before launching your next advertising campaign:
1. PREPARE TO TRACK YOUR RESULTS
It’s hard to know if your campaign pays off unless you understand how much traffic reached your website or store, the number of items or packages sold and the total revenue earned.
Advertising is a common customer acquisition cost, but until you know those real numbers, every advertising expense becomes a gamble of “I hope this works.”
One way to ensure your tracking numbers are accurate is to set up a custom coupon code, landing page or package that is not advertised in any other offer.
For written advertisements, create an offer password or code that’s unique, so you’ll be able to track which clients came from each source. If you run multi-month ads, you can tack on “0114” to denote the January 2014 ad.
For online ads, use link-shortening software so you can identify where incoming links originated. These are free from sources like ow.ly and bit.ly and can show you which style of ad was most effective and which advertising partners produced the most leads.
For printed coupons, you can require the redeemer to bring in the original source. Print details on the coupon, such as “direct mailing Dec. 31” or as a code or “12312013DM.” Then it’s just a matter of keeping track with a tally during the campaign.
2. PLAN THE SECOND SALE
Advertising is meant to bring new income and clients to a business, and those up-front expenses are worthwhile if repeat sales are earned.
One of the reasons that deal-a-day sites such as Groupon have become unpopular with business owners is that the initial sale is often made at a loss. And if those leads do not translate into on-going business, then it’s an expensive lesson.
For products, there are often complementary items to enrich the experience — think gift wrapping, the wall mount for a new TV, gloves to match the scarf. If you can track the initial purchase by requesting the buyer’s contact information, then follow up is much easier. The great news is that customers are already conditioned to receive “you might like” and “recommended for you” suggestions.
For service providers, the initial program is often an introduction. Therefore, a deeper and more comprehensive offer is a great option to consider. Think about adding personal training to a gym membership, SEO support for a new website, errands to existing housekeeping services or tax preparation for bookkeeping clients. These secondary services usually come at a higher investment, so you don’t need as many sales on the secondary offer.
If you offer a program such as education, personal or business development, then it’s best to create a curriculum for clients to follow. Universities and degree programs do this brilliantly, as they know that once you begin a course of action you’re less likely to start anew with another company. Continuity programs that offer on-going support and access have become a popular revenue stream in online learning and are beneficial to clients at the same time.
3. DESIGN THE DELIVERY
The moments after a purchase are some of the most exciting for a consumer, and if they’re filled with unanswerable questions about how and when and where they will receive their purchase, then buyer’s remorse will creep in. You may even experience cancelation requests or returns, which impact the bottom line and your reputation.
Determining the delivery model before promoting your product or service allows you to set clear expectations and answer customer service questions with accuracy before and after the sale.
For products, know exactly how much stock you’ll have, the messages you’ll send when you’ve sold out and the turnaround time for follow-up shipments. You may also want to consider whether you’ll price match for existing clients and under what circumstances.
For service offers, project how additional business will impact the delivery on your schedule. If you’re unable to deliver in a timely manner, consider putting a limit on the offer and creating an early notification list. Limiting your service will not only enable you to deliver higher-quality results, you’ll also be able to create a list of interested leads when you’re ready to book more clients.
If you deliver a program, many of your questions will revolve around access, so be sure to create a realistic schedule that can be shared upon purchase. Depending on the nature of your business, if it’s individual or a group program, you may also want to share this information before the purchase so customers can determine whether the program is right for them. Either way, be sure to clarify how the program is delivered as well as any supplies or software the clients should bring.
With these three back-end systems in place, you’ll have the foundation from which to launch a successful advertising campaign, no matter what you’re selling. These are the areas often overlooked in the design of a campaign, which is unfortunate because your ability to track results, create long term relationships and deliver to your clients hinges on these tasks. Don’t launch an ad campaign in 2014 without doing this work first!
Three is a magic number. Yes it is. It’s a magic number.
If you’re humming the lyrics to the iconic “Schoolhouse Rock” song, then you are either over 35, a Blind Melon-head or already in tune with the Strategy of 3.
New Year’s is the quintessential time for small businesses to make (and keep) resolutions for growth. But achieving your company’s 2014 goals hinges on knowing some important numbers, and many businesses never go beyond their income to identify and track essential metrics. Here are the 14 most important performance measures to track this year.