In the final part of our series on advertising in wedding magazines we look at how to measure your results.
I’m sure you have heard the cliché “We know half of our advertising doesn’t work but we don’t know which half”.
If you are going to spend money on print advertising make sure you know if it is working. You need to measure the number of enquiries you received, how many converted into sales and how much those customers were worth.
How many enquiries are you generating from your advert? Every time you receive an enquiry/order make sure you ask how the customer heard about you. Although response rates won’t tell you if the advert is cost effective, they are an early indicator.
Consider using offer codes as an aid. I’m sure you have seen adverts which say “quote code ABC for a 5% discount”. These are useful, not just to attract customers, but also as a way of measuring where the customers saw your advert. By using a different code for each advert you can track responses from each one.
It’s not enough to receive lots of enquiries from your advert – you need to convert them into paying customers. And to do that you need to be attracting the right type of responders.
If you offer a premium product and you are receiving lots of enquiries from budget brides you need to look at where you are advertising and the style and wording of your advert. Use words like “exclusive” to attract the higher spending clients and “budget” or “value” if you are targeting cost-conscious customers.
Of course, there are lots of other factors which affect conversion, but small adjustments to your advertising copy, headline or photo can have a big impact.
Do the sales generated justify the cost of the advert? It’s great if you receive plenty of sales but they need to generate enough profit to pay for the advertising cost and leave something for you.
It’s worth calculating a couple of figures here:
1. Cost of acquiring each new customer
2. Average spend per customer
Remember to take into account future referrals – if a good proportion of your business comes from customer recommendations, you can build this into your calculation of customer value.
Timescales and Testing
All the marketing gurus will tell you that testing (comparing the performance of small changes to advertising copy etc) is essential for long term success. They are right, but while it is relatively easy to compare when you are advertising weekly in a local paper, true testing is nearly impossible if you are advertising in a twice yearly bridal magazine. By the time your next advert comes out, so many other factors will have changed to make comparisons worthless.
However, if you are running several adverts regularly, then it is well worthwhile testing different copy, photos, headlines, offers and so on.
With such a long lifecycle in the weddings market, it will take some time (often 1-2 years) before you get a clear picture of results. But you should start measuring from Day 1 – and keep measuring.
Act on your results
As soon as you start receiving responses from your adverts you should be reviewing the results. I like to categorise my campaigns:
Stop – as soon as it is clear it isn’t working, cancel the advert (watch out for penalties in your contract)
Probation – early results are not encouraging. Try adjusting the copy and monitor closely. Then make a decision on whether to continue when the contract is due for renewal.
Satisfactory – results are worthwhile but not outstanding. Again look at copy amendments to try to improve
Great – delivering really good results. Look for opportunities to do more of the same such as repeating the advert in similar publications.
Remember to keep measuring – publications go in and out of fashion like anything else. What worked one year may not work the next and vice versa.