One of the most important parts of ensuring that your marketing efforts are working is by tracking and monitoring. So, basically that will be the topic we will be discussing today.

When you’re launching a new business from scratch and again, this is a continuation of this multi-part series of all the marketing that you need to put in place in order to effectively launch a business from scratch. To be consistent with the topic, we’re using a child care center as an example. There’s no point in it executing any marketing nor any reason to deploy anything unless you have ways to track the outcome. 

Now, I’m going to break that rule a little bit but I’m still going to give you some gauges to check. So when I’m looking at marketing any business from the ground up, one of the big mistakes that I see is that they just start throwing things out the wall. That is why over the last couple of episodes I’ve taught you how to set up a calendar and how to dial in the tactics you’re going to pick. We’re going to continue to get more and more in-depth in the tactics as we have them. 

But before you start doing paid traffic and radio, TV, billboard, or direct mail or any of that stuff that I’m going to teach you, you have to fully understand the elements of tracking. So I’m going to do an episode probably tomorrow on a customer relationship management tool or a CRM tool, and that is going to be one of kind of your home base in a way for tracking. For today, however, I want to give you the two or three or four different ways that you can start to track your marketing. 

So again, we are using an example of a childcare center.

I’m going to teach you to do paid traffic, some radio. do events, flyering, neighborhoods, direct mail, and all those things. And what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to look at the amount of money that you’re investing. So let’s say it’s Facebook ads or Google ads and again, we would be backing into the numbers. 

You want to make sure that you’ve listened to my previous episodes as all of these content continues to build on each other. So each day, I’m doing these every day, and I’m doing them so that they continue to build on one another in the exact sequence that I would deploy them in. I wouldn’t worry about tracking a week or two ago until you actually had some of these things ready to go. I wouldn’t want to talk about that stuff, because then you would be spending all of your time figuring out the tracking measures before you get the website in progress because a lot of these marketing elements are going to build on each other. And, it’s not going to take a day to get a website. 

So if you had six to eight months for example, before this childcare center was opening and if I know that the website is going to take a month or so of back and forth, you wouldn’t want to just have that entire month go by and then not be worrying about other things. You would get the website and that would be in progress, and then you’d be working on the content as we talked about, and having an agency optimize your website

What I have always found, especially with a new business, and heavily in this childcare space, is that most business owners are worried about every little penny, Yes, I want you to be worried about every little penny, but I want to make sure that you have the proper set up so that you can gauge some of the things yourself. With a new business, not everything is going to be a slam dunk from day one. It’s not going to be every thousand dollars that you invest in, you get $10,000 back, it’s going to take time to get your brand reputation out there and it’s going to take time to do some of these things. Now, we’re going to balance that in the coming weeks with direct response tactics, but they also have to be an element of branding. And that’s really the area that’s a little bit tougher to measure which we’ll talk about that today. 

So what are the proper elements of tracking?

  • Phone Numbers

Anytime you’re doing any kind of campaigns, you want to make sure that you’re setting up separate tracking phone numbers for each of those campaigns. There’s a lot of different tools to use—Callrail is the tool that I personally use at our agency—we’ve got 10s of thousands of tracking numbers. So any campaign you’re doing, you would have a different phone number. 

For example, if you’re doing Facebook ads, and there’s a phone number on a landing page, that phone number should only be for Facebook ads. If you’re doing a radio spot and you’re going to run radio a month or two before your opening, you would have a separate phone number for that radio campaign. I would even go as far as if you’re running on different stations, you’re going to have different numbers. And even if you’re running at different call times, so if you’re running it—prime, drivetime, for example, versus the afternoon versus the evening. 

Now, you might say, well, wouldn’t someone just be calling during the drive time? The answer is yes or no. They might try and call immediately. But the chances are pretty slim that you have someone ready to answer the phone at 6 am which leads to you missing that call. But what if they take your number down? What if they remember you later on. And if you’re trying to gauge if you should be investing more in drive time, which a lot of times is two or three times more expensive for a 32nd or 62nd spot compared to should you be running in the afternoon. Maybe the persona that you look back on will continue to guide you. 

So when you’re using the personas that would guide you accordingly, you’d want to have different phone numbers. That is one thing and you might have 50 different phone numbers. 

Now the great thing is they can all forward these calls to one place. You’re not opening up phone plans or anything like that, these are tracking phone numbers, you’d be paying maybe $100 a month or something like that, maybe even less. But anytime you’re giving out phone numbers, you need a different number on everything. Direct Mail should have different phone numbers from your flyers should you decide to give out flyers in the neighborhood or do door hangers or direct mail. Every one of those so that you know which of those tactics is driving the calls.

  • Landing Pages/URL

If you’re going to drive someone to a link landing page, you want to make sure that you’re using different landing pages for all of your different tactics. So if you’re running Facebook ads, you would send them to a Facebook landing page and that Facebook landing page would be a tracking phone number that says it’s a Facebook ad. Then the form would be coded so that if someone fills it out, you will know that they came from Facebook ads. When you send your direct mail piece out, and you say, “click here for the special offer”, for example, you could use something like PERL or personalized URL. That way, you will know exactly how many people are clicking or exactly how many people are filling out those forms from direct mail versus Facebook versus Google. All those different URLs—they’re very, very easy to set up with different software tools and very easy to do.

  • Live Events

Now, the third one is a little bit tricky, but this is my stopgap. Anything that you’re doing online is a lot easier to track like Facebook ads, Google Ads, landing pages, websites—all that stuff is pretty easy to track where the lead came from. Those are going to populate into this customer relationship management tool (CRM) that I talked about. 

The only ones that are a little bit trickier, is if you’re doing a live event, for example, if you’re trying to do some kind of direct mail and you’re asking someone to redeem something, and you don’t actually have a phone number or URL that’s trackable, which I would always advise. What you can do is use the generic, I guess the word would be kind of coupon codes, but some kind of word on the piece of literature. 

If you’re doing branding content, so branding videos, you could say at this number and mention free t-shirts or something like that, I mean, there are ways to kind of slice in and say, just something along those lines to further confirm that that was the lead source. 

So trackable phone numbers, all different URLs, and then kind of code words or coupon codes as needed. 

Now, the only other piece that I’m going to give you around tracking is tools. Now, there are other tools—there’s Google Analytics and things like that. And we’ll get into that in future episodes because there’s going to be about 10 different tools that I suggest. 

Obviously, you’re going to want to track your website traffic and different things like that. But I wanted to give you more of the campaign level tracking to get you moving in the right direction initially because all that I’m looking for right now is to make sure that the leads that you’re focusing on driving that we’re able to start to put leads to dollars to activities because every dollar does count. And I want to make sure that as we’re executing things that we’re able to pivot accordingly. Now, we’re not going to pivot too quickly because if you’re not letting something marinate and really continue to kind of build that brand up there, you could say, “well, Facebook ads only drove 10 leads at $200 a lead and no one enrolled yet, and it’s a terrible tactic.” I never kill a campaign after a couple of months, it just doesn’t happen.

Here’s a little bit of a technical marketing conundrum, but I’m going to give you a little bit of feedback. 

There are two different ways that you can effectively track kind of marketing leads, but really more so than conversions. There’s either first in attribution or last—let me give you an example. 

Let’s say a parent sees your ad for your child care center on Facebook. We’d be using the Facebook Pixel, for example, and it’ll track that. Let’s say they visited the landing page, that’s a Facebook only landing page but they didn’t end up opting in. However, a day or two later, they went to your main website, and when they opted in there. 

You can either say well, it was the first lead source which I would attribute back to Facebook. Or you can say the last lead sources would put them over the edge so I would give the lead to the website. 

Candidly speaking, until you are moderate to a larger business that to me just complicates things. Marketing works hand in hand with each other—your online marketing should amplify your offline, your offline should amplify your online. I mean, obviously, I want to see leads coming in from Facebook and I want to be tracking that, but I normally am not going so granular down to see well, did they actually—should it go to the website or Facebook? 

I don’t want you to get so granular so quickly that you just start to confuse yourself. So that is kind of tracking one on one. We’ll talk more about some more advanced tracking and website stuff and eye-tracking and all that good stuff in the future, but those are the three core elements to start with. 

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.