How to Know If Your Print Marketing Is Actually Working

How to Know If Your Print Marketing Is Actually Working

Read Time: 6 Minutes


25 Jul 2017

Print marketing is fantastic for so many things. From shop launches to new products, event flyers to business cards, there are tons of ways to use print to promote your business. But how do you know if your print marketing is having an impact?


Understanding ROI In Marketing

Measuring your return on investment (ROI) should be a key element of all marketing activities. It’ll help you understand where your money is best spent, which is particularly important for new businesses that often operate on a shoestring. The basic concept is to find out how much your marketing costs, versus how many leads are generated and the overall revenue these leads create.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that you’ll need to consider the lifetime value of a customer gained through advertising against the overall cost it took to get them on-board.

What this means is to not immediately write off very expensive marketing channels, such as trade shows. This is because the clients you find at trade shows are more likely to have a long-term value to your company in comparison to a customer gained via a printed discount coupon who never returns (unless they get more discounts).

Measuring ROI For Print Marketing

There are so many different ways to use print for your business, it may seem like a daunting task to break down your costs versus customer acquisitions based on the way someone first interacted with your company.

You may find simple channels work well. For example, high quality business cards handed out at networking events may lead to a direct conversation with a business, that results in a near-immediate sale.

On the other hand, some customers and target audiences will need full marketing campaigns to persuade them to buy from you. This is where it can be confusing when working out if your print marketing is paying for itself in revenue.

Break It Down

The more detailed your data capture is, the more specific data analysis you can do to tighten up marketing spend in the future. Global companies spend millions every year just on data collection and analysis – but don’t worry, anyone can do it!

In order to measure how effective any marketing strategy is, you first need to create a way of identifying the campaign and channel type. This could really be as simple as a spreadsheet with columns for campaign name, type, channel, spend, etc (like in the picture below).

sample roi img.PNG

A detailed version of the spreadsheet above will help you to identify where your customers are most likely to deliver you value-for-money. For example, while £20 was spent on flyers in this sample, a total of £390 was spent with the company as a direct result of that campaign, meaning there was an ROI of 1850% on that marketing effort.

The formula used to calculate ROI here is:

(Earnings – Initial Invested Amount) / Initial Invested Amount) x 100

This is a standard ROI formula – and if you’re savvy, you can set up your spreadsheet to do this calculation for you automatically!

Be Unique

You’ll notice on the spreadsheet example above there is a column called “Unique URLs To Date”. This is the really important bit.

Using a URL tracker, or a shortener such as, you can really customise and track every piece of campaign traffic. It’s very easy to set up URL tracking like this, and it will give you a strong sense of the most successful campaigns for your money.

Print marketing is ideal for using unique tracking URLs like this as you can easily find out where your customers have come from, and use a tool such as Google Analytics (which is free!) to dig even deeper into the data to view the customer journey once they land on the site. You can drill right down to see exactly which pages people bounce from, or at what stage they choose to purchase.

Capture Data As Fast As You Can

When you send a unique URL out on any of your printed materials, be sure that you’re ready for the next step in the customer journey. For example, your unique URL could lead to a special landing page designed only for that campaign. It’s very simple to add a data capture form on this page to request a customer’s email address in return for something. This could be a discount voucher for your restaurant, or a whitepaper download from your business research. Without such data capture at this point, you’re going to lose valuable customer insights and lose potential ROI on your print marketing campaign.

As soon as you have captured someone’s details, from a unique landing page, you can put them into your sales funnel and see their customer journey. You’ll have records of when you emailed them, phoned them, or sent them a birthday card.

Using Print To Increase Lifetime Value

Personalisation of print is where you really gain ROI for your efforts. Print marketing can increase lifetime value very easily: whether sending out recommend-a-friend vouchers, loyalty cards to use in-store, or event invitations, you’ll always be able to track how that customer has interacted with each new campaign. As time goes on, you’ll build a big picture of your customer base, how they like to interact with you, and where your print marketing budget is well spent.

Lifetime value can also be increased with print marketing by using it for that extra-special touch (which sometimes is very literal, if you want to use Spot UV or a velvet lamination!). It works a treat to send your customers a birthday card (maybe with a discount voucher inside), or personalised thank you notes to send with a purchase. These little touches make your business memorable, make the customer feel valued, and increases the likelihood that they’ll not only return their custom to you – but also recommend you to friends. Thus, your lifetime value for the customer has increased AND you gain more customers without having to spend any extra cash on finding new customers!


About the Author

Hi, I'm Yasmin, the Sales Manager at instantprint. My main aim is to support businesses to create the best print possible by offering tailored advice and quotes.