The multi-channel effect on tracking your marketing

Erika Jones
Erika Jones

       Something that every business owner should know is that they need to have a multi-channel approach to marketing their business. Be it a multi-digital approach including texting, website, and social media or a multi-channel approach with television, radio, print and social and website media. The fact is, pretty much every business out there is using multiple forms of advertising. Some call it a media mix. Others call it a multi-channel approach. We call it a hybrid media strategy. While this approach is necessary and, quite honestly, crucial, it can cause some headaches when tracking your marketing dollars. And both are equally important. 

       In order to track results and investment properly, you have to understand how your buyers shop.  You may think you know how they shop, but have you ever really asked them? Permit me to use an example of a small, local car dealer. The business got a ton of web traffic. We knew this because we tracked it. We knew where their website viewers were coming from, what pages they viewed, and what the conversion rate was. And it was all very very good.  The dealer was very happy with the amount of Web traffic.  Their happiness was re-confirmed when they realized that 83% of the shopping traffic on their lot has been on their website. Needless to say, they were believers! We had a happy client with great web traffic and sales that were trending up.

            At a time when business was good and sales were on a great trend the general manager says, “Some of these expenses seem high, and we need to cut our advertising.” The logic of the manager, like many business owners, was that the dealer’s website was providing great traffic and sales are up, so, “We don’t need all those other advertising costs and other stuff.” And as common as it is that these thoughts occur with business owners and managers, they are also wrong. This is where having the ability to track where people were coming from to get to the dealership is crucial, especially in this stage of a business’ growth process. 

            The dealer knew that the number one driver of their clientele was direct traffic, next was Google search, followed by Facebook. And while these results give credence to a solid digital strategy working, there are other aspects that needed to be understood as well. So I asked the dealer for a favor to have the salespeople ask a simple, extra question when they are sourcing a customer. If the customer says “I was on your website”, respond by asking, “How did you hear about our website?” 

            You see, people don’t just wake up one morning and say, “I need to visit” or look into Billy Bob’s Auto Sales’ Facebook page, they had to have heard about them somewhere, somehow, or from someone or something.  And THAT somewhere, somehow, someone or something is your true advertising source.

            The manager agreed to have their salespeople ask that one question, and we soon uncovered that the radio, print and television advertising were helping drive traffic to their website. This realization was a must for this dealership, as it didn’t do “deal of the week” advertising, but rather “visit our website and the Facebook page” advertising. And the dealer had the proof that this advertising strategy was working because when the time came to purchase a vehicle, its website was top-of-mind for the potential buyer.

            It’s important to understand that for all the direct traffic to your website or for all the times your business is searched on Google by name you have to ask, “How did they hear my name?”, “How do they know about my brand?” and,  “How did they know to go to my website?” That is how you can track your multi-channel approach and focus your marketing dollars properly. 

            With the amount of advertising thrown our way every day, it takes more than the standard three times to hear a message before it sinks in. Therefore, a hybrid-media strategy is a must, simply because of the buying funnel and the amount of devices we all use. So the next time someone says, “I found out about you on the web,” or sends in a lead from your website, ask them, “How did you hear about my website?”

            Today’s buying process is more than two steps, so your tracking should be more than one question. Just making sure you are getting the right answers from the right questions.