Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, November 2, 2009

3 Ways to Track the Wild Marketing Dollar

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted;
the trouble is I don't know which half."
John Wanamaker, 1838-1922

Before embarking on any marketing spending, you should try to determine how you're going to track the results. Tracking can be difficult, but it's worth the effort to guide your marketing spending in the future. Here are some thoughts on how to track results.
1) Search advertising. Why has Google has become so huge? Because when you spend money on advertising through them, you can see exactly how much it does (or doesn't) pay off for you, and adjust your advertising accordingly. You buy an ad for a search term... a user clicks on your ad, goes to your web site... and some of them buy products from your online store. You get all the information on how much you spent per visitor, and you know how many sales you made in that time period and how much profit you made per sale. A few clicks of the calculator and you know whether you want to do more of that advertising or not. If only all marketing tracking was that simple.
2) Landing pages. Perhaps you're planning to put an ad in a magazine, or buy some banner ad placements on a web site. Send those viewers not to your home page, but to a special landing page. Then you will know how many of the visitors you receive in a month were driven to your site specifically by that one marketing effort. And you should be able to track the percentage of those visitors you converted to a sale; give them a special offer (for instance, free downloadable content with your purchase) so you can track that redemption. At the end of the promotional period, you can look at your cost for the ad or banner buy and see how much you made in sales from the promotion.
3) Non-internet tracking. Let's say you're going to a convention and you want to see how many sales you can generate by having flyers handed out to convention-goers. How do you track that? Put an offer in the flyer, either leading to a special landing page on your web site (see #2 above), or if you have a booth at the convention, a Show Special offer redeemable with that coupon only. (This can be a discount, or a poster, or a signature by the author, or even downloadable content.) At the end of the show, count up the number of coupons that were redeemed. You should know how much the flyers cost you, and the cost of your promotional offer, and if you had to spend anything to have someone pass out the flyers. A little math and you'll soon know if you want to try that again.

These are just a few of the ways to track your marketing spending and what it's bringing you. A word of caution, though. Just because you didn't make money the first time you try one of these marketing efforts doesn't mean you shouldn't ever do it again. Perhaps you need to fine-tune the offer, or the placement, or maybe the timing. Sometimes these promotions can have other benefits, perhaps bringing you some PR value or helping with your product positioning. Sometimes the benefits can last beyond your promotional period. Make sure you analyze the promotion before you proceed.

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