Why tracking enquiries saves £thousandsMarch 24, 2011 10:00 am Online Advertising, Website Strategy
I had a conversation with someone today that went along the lines of …
Them: “We’re going to start asking enquirers how they found out about us”
Me: “That’s good – what’s prompted that?”
Them: “We think that Yellow Pages, the Phone Book, and other directories aren’t bringing us enough enquiries compared to the investment, so are thinking of cutting them down”
Me: “How long have you been advertising in places like Yellow Pages?”
Them: “At least the last 8 years”.
Me: [Stunned Silence]
It’s a common occurrence – companies use various forms of marketing but aren’t keeping records of how many enquiries originate from each source of marketing. So, the person I was talking with has no idea which marketing expenditure, over several years, had been gaining them enquiries.
The good thing for them is that they’re going to start measuring it – but only at a point in time where things seem to be tight for them and they’ve now got to get the most out of their marketing budget.
People in business generally have a good ‘feel’ for where their enquiries originate from but often don’t keep formal records. However, even when formal records are kept, people don’t record the full picture – for example, someone may record an enquiry as being ‘website’ when it may actually have been any of:
- Search from a search engine (such as Google)
- Link in from a directory to the website (e.g. Yell.com)
- Direct entry of a url into the browser
- Link in to the site from something social media (e.g. a Tweet)
- Printed materials containing the website address
- Link from another website
So it’s important to be specific in recording enquiries that are gained. I hope that the following process is useful …
1. Create a spreadsheet containing the following key columns:
- Date (of enquiry)
- Time (of enquiry)
- Source (of enquiry)
- Description (rough details of what the enquiry was about)
- Other details that are useful to record (name of the person, email address etc.)
- When using the ‘Source’ column, use specific phrases (e.g. Google, Yell.com, Newspaper advert) or better still, create a column for each source of enquiries so that a ‘Y’ can be put in the appropriate column each time an enquiry is gained.
2. Ensure that all customer-facing staff are committed to completing the enquiries log. It may be easier to have a Google Doc created that everyone can access. Someone though should take responsibility for ensuring that all enquiries are being recorded.
3. On a periodic basis (monthly is typical), analyse the enquiries gained and assess which enquiries came from each source.
If one source doesn’t seem to be performing, don’t necessarily stop using that form of marketing – there could be various factors that contribute to it not generating enquiries. For example, many people have found that “PPC advertising doesn’t work”. In reality it turns out that it’s either the PPC campaign setup that’s inefficient or the website itself isn’t strong enough to convert clicks to enquiries.
In the same way that a company should be regularly checking on the business finances, enquiries logging and analysis should also be a regular activity, which will usually lead to further actions that are beneficial.
If you aren’t recording details of where enquiries came from then your ability to assess return on marketing investment is significantly reduced, which means that you could be wasting £thousands on underperforming marketing.