Your business probably expends a lot of resources finding new customers. To avoid wasting marketing money, you need to track which aspects of your marketing are the most effective. One of the best ways to do this is to discover how new customers found your business. This needs to be done regularly to keep your marketing on course.
Any new customers who come in through your website may be trackable using Google Analytics. Your webmaster can set this up and run reports. Ecommerce websites should be able to link their shopping cart to the analytics to track the source of sales. When site visitors fill in a contact form, the “thank you” page can be set up as a “goal” and tracked in analytics. You should be able to tell whether these conversions came from Facebook, an email, another website, an ad, etc.
You can get even more detailed information if you master tracking codes. Google gives you a tool called the “Campaign URL Builder“. This lets your marketing team specifically track campaigns. Use these special URLs for everything from social media to emails.
Another way of tracking new customers is to simply ask them. You need to get your staff on board to make this happen. Try this:
- Send a survey to new email subscribers asking them how they found you.
- If your website isn’t tracking properly, ask buyers how they found you when they check out or fill in a form.
- Whenever an employee has a face-to-face interaction with a new customer, make sure they record the source of the sale.
Depending on your business, some customers will find your website but place a phone call before ordering. Many may even complete the order on the phone. It is sometimes tricky to extract this information, but try anyway: How did you hear about us? You can even put a special phone number only on your website so you know where the call came from. Google ads can allow you to set up a different phone number for specific ads to help you track everything.
Tracking sources of leads can get overwhelming. Tools like HubSpot and Sprout Social are designed to organize online campaigns. They help track the sources of leads so you can discover what is working.
An over-simplified form of tracking is to publicize a specific URL. For example, put “www.yourdomain.com/card” on your business card to send people to a specific “landing page.” Then, count the number of unique visitors to this page and figure out where they went next. This can be risky because site visitors might find the page through a search engine. Google is pretty good at ferreting out supposedly “secret” pages. Try to cover your tracks by never linking to the page.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many new customers started out as email subscribers? You could figure out if your emails are pushing prospects over the threshold and turning them into customers. This would tell you whether it is worthwhile to put energy into getting lots of new subscribers. Does your bookkeeping system have the customer’s email address? If so, make a list of customers sorted by the day they first bought from you. Compare it to your email list. Good email marketing systems will tell you when the subscriber first signed up. An analysis of all these dates will tell you what percentage started as subscribers, how long they subscribed before buying, and how many subscribe but don’t buy. Calculate how many new email subscribers you would need to get a new customer, on average. This assumes that customers use the same email address to subscribe as they did to buy.
Department store merchant John Wanamaker said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That may have been true in the days of traditional advertising. In today’s high-tech world, you never need wonder where new customers are coming from. Use tracking and data analysis to focus your marketing efforts.