How to Track Results from Email Newsletter ads
You can run tests throughout the email newsletter ad buying process.
Test before you buy the e-newsletter ad
Some email newsletter publishers, especially media companies, will let you test prior to placing an ad. Ask the company if you can test your message with co-registration.
In a co-registration campaign, you place an opt-in box on their e-newsletter sign-up sheet. You would send these registrations to your campaign’s landing page and measure conversions. If these opt-in visitors do not convert, then this may be the wrong list for you.
Test as you buy the e-newsletter ad
Ask your email newsletter publisher if they will allow you to submit two slightly different ads. If possible, ask them to send one version to half their list and the second version to the other half.
For example, you can test the offer (white paper vs. webinar) or two versions of the headline. Measure the response to each ad. Keep the winner and create a second version for your next ad in the series.
You can measure ad response results from the email newsletter ad in 3 ways:
- Use a special URL to the link for each campaign. By placing a “?” after the link of your landing page, you can ad a special code for each ad. For example, you can create a link such as www.MyCompanyLandingPage.com?mednews1. In this case, “mednews” equals the publisher and 1 would equal your first ad. When clicks come into your Web log, the log will record them as separate URL's. Over the course of the campaign, you can see which of the URL's resulted in the most clicks. You will need to sign-on to your Web log files to view this.
- Use tracking software on your server, which uses the same approach as the special URL in #1 above. In this case, though, a program on your server records the click before it reaches the final page.
We recommend AdWatcher (price $29.95/mo). This package is very comprehensive. It allows you to track email ads, banner ads, text links, PPC ads, A/B split tests, etc. and it monitors for click-fraud. The company offers both a downloadable version and a hosted version with excellent customer support.
Adwatcher (see above)
Hypertracker (price $19.95/mo). Though this package is not as robust as Adwatcher it is easy to use. The major drawback is it lacks click-fraud tracking (important for PPC ads), split-run testing, and natural traffic testing. On the plus side, it dos provide data for sales of specific products.
Test after you buy the e-newsletter ad
Once you get someone to click through to your Web site, you are only part-way to new business. You need to continue the conversation and hopefully close the sale. To track the ROI of your email newsletter ads, you need to measure the final business that result from the ad.
For most companies selling a complex service, the sales process can last many months. You need to track leads by source; so, when they hire you, you know the initial source. The best way to do that is with a customer relationship management CRM system.
Some CRM Systems to consider
Heap (http://heap.wbpsystems.com/) ($9/mo first user/ $5/mo each additional user)
Advantages: for the price, functionality is top notch, simple interface, easily customizable, integrates well with email programs (for follow-up), also integrate with Google docs, enables setting-up a series of events for lead nurturing. Disadvantage: may not scale to a large user, company information is scarce.
Zoho.com (free for 3 users, 4th user $12/mo) Advantages: cost (pay as you go), simple to use, integrates with Outlook and Word, good set of basic CRM tools. Disadvantages: customization is a little tricky, does not yet interface with the iphone.
SugarCRM ($360/year/user for 5 users) Advantages affordable, open source, comprehensive offering, and good training program. Disadvantages: some users find interface not easy-to-use, lacks some CRM functions.
Salesforce.com ($125/user/mo) Advantages: This is the granddaddy of hosted CRM, it has scores of modules to solve almost any CRM-related issue. Disadvantages: The growth of salesforce.com may be its weakness. With a large user base (500,000+), it cannot stray too far from the core.
As a result, it lacks some flexibility and functionality of more nimble competitors. The system is also expensive, especially if users tack-on a lot of app's.