Marketing Center

Measuring the ROI of non-digital marketing strategies

Traditional marketing methods can still provide results for your business.

Published: July 19, 2017

The Small Business Administration suggests spending 7 to 8 percent of your revenue on marketing — assuming you have a profit margin between 10 and 12 percent after all your business expenses. But when you invest significant dollars in a marketing strategy, whether it’s online or offline, it’s imperative that you track your return on investment (ROI) to ensure that the money you spend is increasing your revenue.

As you build your marketing program, try out different marketing tactics and adjust your strategy based on what works and what doesn’t. Just as you would with digital marketing efforts, you’ll want to measure the ROI of your non-digital marketing strategies — including print, traditional media, and physical marketing efforts — to determine their effectiveness.

Here are a few methods you can use to track the ROI of your non-digital marketing efforts.

ROI method #1: Customer polls

One of the easiest ways to track promotional campaigns is to ask how customers heard about your business when they request information about services or during a purchase transaction. Their answer will tell you which of your marketing efforts use most effective. You may be able to include the question on your point of sale system or task your employees with documenting answers. You can also ask how customers found you through customer surveys.

ROI method #2: Keycodes

Track a campaign’s effectiveness by assigning specific keycodes — a series of letters and/or numbers included on marketing materials — to non-digital marketing techniques — print advertising, brochures/flyers, TV ads, and billboards. The keycode might include letters and numbers that represent the month, year, content type, location, and/or distribution method of the marketing materials. To track results of specific campaigns, ask customers to include the keycode when making a purchase — by phone, in person, or online — to determine which marketing method or specific advertisement was effective.

ROI method #3: Promotional codes

Keycodes with discount offers provide an effective way to track ROI whether the customer is using the code online or in person. In order to gather enough data to track which promotions generate intended results, Debra Ellis, Founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting, recommends you send out promotional codes to at least 1,000 customers.

ROI method #4: Call tracking

With some phone services, you can set up multiple phone numbers, and use those dedicated phone numbers to track references from specific campaigns. You may be able to use different area codes to reach customers in different locales or toll-free numbers to reach a wider audience.

ROI method #5: Combine non-digital and digital efforts

Non-digital methods can also be integrated into your digital marketing strategy. Use a QR code — a unique code made of small black and white squares that can be scanned by a smartphone — to track hits to your website or social profile from print advertising. You can also direct customers to a designated landing page on your website, and track hits to that page.

“The best marketing strategies include a hybrid of traditional and digital tactics,” Ellis says. “Connecting the dots between the two allows customers and prospects to interact with the business in the way that best serves them.”

Once you’ve deployed a non-digital marketing campaign, track the resulting data using sales analysis reports at least quarterly to determine what methods have a strong return on investment and whether you need to adjust your objectives or marketing tactics accordingly.