My first question when I meet with a client is whether or not they measure offline events and whether or not they are even capable of being measured within their current infrastructure. I cannot emphasize offline measurement enough and the ability to connect consumers’ actions from clicking on a Facebook post to converting via a financial advisor at an office in NYC. If you cannot connect your digital marketing strategy to offline conversions, you will not exist in a few years.
First off, what is offline measurement? Offline measurement is the ability to track your online consumers through to any conversions they make via traditional marketing. We are in a sweet spot where companies are adopting digital marketing while realizing its value and asking to see the ROI– and they aren’t talking about engagement rate. We are a long way from the days where social media metrics could cut it for online marketing.
The C-suite wants to see where the digital marketing budget adds the most valuable ROI to the business– quality conversions. We live in an age where digital marketers are expected and should prove how they are contributing to the bottom line of the entire business.
Not making these connections means help with digital marketing education, and integration is needed ASAP.
A break often occurs when the C-suite does not realize that its infrastructure needs to change to make offline measurement happen. They are expecting ROI while not clearing the path for digital marketers to get there.
I flag this for any c-suite who demands digital teams to prove ROI through conversions– you need to empower them within the organization to make the connections they need to follow their digital consumers through to the end.
Here are some tips for you if you are an organization that wants to start offline measurement, or is at the beginning of offline measurement, or is struggling with the infrastructure set-up to measure offline events:
Meet With The C-Suite
One of the primary jobs of a digital marketer is to educate its company on what digital marketing is and how it needs to be used to get leads and conversions. It would be best to meet with the leadership team before taking any more steps towards offline measurement. Before you take any more steps towards creating this measurement, you need to meet with your leadership team.
Focus on the brilliant outcome of tracking ROI through the entire consumer journey while also educating your leadership team on what you need from them to move forward. It would help if you had 100% support from the leadership team to continue tough conversations with other groups.
Pull Out The Organizational Chart
As elementary as this tip sounds, this is the ONLY way you will get offline measurement to work within your company. Highlight anyone that you will need to work with to get the information you need.
Does the sales team need to feed you information? Do you need to provide information to them? Will you need to work with the customer service team? What about the financial advisors or any other extension of your business?
When I set up an offline measurement program for a global financial brand, I needed help from the Director of Analytics, social customer care teammates, the email marketing team, and the sales team. I hosted a kick-off meeting to explain what I hoped to establish via social to offline conversion tracking.
One of the most important things I did was highlight the value of each of those teams to participate. I would feature Teammate names on each report for visibility across the organization, and they could tout that they had more data to work with as to where leads were coming from and how to nurture them.
I then set up weekly half-hour check-ins with a lead from each team to ensure that we were communicating everything.
Complete A Tool RFP
Invite members of the teams that will work with you to track offline conversions to assist in choosing a tool that everyone will be comfortable using. Work with each other to create a rubric of what features this tool would need to have to function for all of the teams available. Use this rubric to score each brand at each step of the RFP process.
In my case with the financial brand, we chose five tools and participated in demos for all of them. We then invited the three that had the functionality we needed to have calls with each team member so I could answer all questions. We came back together and discussed and voted on our top two.
I invited the top two tools to host a session in person at our office. We asked the leadership team to the two onsite meetings. Following many discussions and meetings, we were able to land on a tool to use.
When looking for an offline measurement tool, you want a tool that integrates well with your sales and social care teams’ tools. Your goal is not to stress the teams volunteering to work with you on this project.
You need to track a social interaction, to a website visit, to a live chat, to a click on a Google ad two weeks later, to a call to customer support, to a transfer to a call with the sales team, to a purchase. You are not just looking for a social media platform measurement tool.
With a decade of experience in digital marketing, I have found building genuine strong relationships with other teams is one of the most important things to do. You can be the most innovative, most intelligent digital marketer and get absolutely nothing done if you have no relationships that can help you cut the red tape along the way.
Check-in with members of the teams you are working with to ask what projects they are currently working on, what they are excited about in the future, what needs they currently have. Are there new products and services they know of coming out soon?
In return, share what is happening on social media sites, search engines, native advertising, affiliate marketing. Many are interested in hearing what is happening on digital marketing channels and social media marketing but don’t want to ask. Share information.
These simple conversations help build a relationship and shed light on projects teams are working on where digital marketing would be beneficial.
I once did social media and content marketing for a tightly knit church. I understood that my top priority was to change their social media to be more external facing. Well, come to find out, half of the church’s leadership team did not believe in attracting an external audience to the church.
The side that did not want to target an external audience destroyed me. They demanded all marketing campaigns focused on the community they already built. Those leadership team members tore me to shreds, along with any hope I had of convincing them to join this project to build the church.
From that point on, there was a lot of contention when we were in meetings together because I was the “new” person coming into the church and changing things.
People do not like change. We all know this. You are going to be the symbol of “change” to someone you come across during this process, and that will more than ruffle their feathers. Know that they are not responding to you, and they are responding to change. DO NOT take their reaction personally, and always stay in grace when working with this teammate.
Who knows, they might actually come around someday!
Live In The Tool
The tool chosen via the RFP should become your new best friend. Always have it open somewhere on your computer, tablet, and phone. View real-time metrics whenever you have time during the day.
Maybe someone clicked on the phone number in the Google ad, but no one answered the phone. You can then follow up with the sales team and figure out why they call went unanswered. Perhaps the Google ads need to be dayparted to times when the sales team is online.
Committing to viewing the metrics as often as possible, paired with fully understanding what the metrics mean in regards to leads, will help you not only improve your process– but other teams to improve theirs. Improvement will automatically lead to more conversions. Win-win.
Seek Out Education
I love finding someone in my network who is also working on a similar project, and it makes me feel less like a lone crusader. Ask your LinkedIn community if anyone else is working on proving measurement from the beginning of digital to the end of offline.
You’d be surprised who answers. Pairing up with someone can be a great learning experience and a way to alleviate the stress that comes with change.
Seek out articles (hopefully that’s why you’re here!), as well as webinars, books, YouTube videos. There is a ton of online content that can assist you as you take on this task.
Don’t stop seeking out education once you feel your measurement program is in a good place. Always look for new people to learn from, new ways to tweak your program.
You want credit for the work you are doing, and who wouldn’t? The best way to get that credit is to show how digital marketing conversions can convert later on and via offline marketing.
PS- If you are a small business and don’t have the budget or resources to do everything mentioned in this article, a Google Sheet can work just as well! I work with a client who tracks calls into the main office by asking the caller how they heard of the company and what they need. The administrator then adds this information to a spreadsheet with the time and phone number of the caller.
Reviewing the spreadsheet helps me gauge the effectiveness of the ads. What is the volume of calls from Google ads? How many of them are looking for the right company? How many need what we are selling in the Google ads?
I can optimize their Google ads based on the answers that simple little Google sheet provides me with.
The same small business also tracks LinkedIn lead form ads in a similar way. Once a lead shows interested by filling out the lead form, the administrator goes into the lead forms and sends a welcome email to each lead.
The administrator then sends a follow-up ad a couple of days later, tailored to the person who filled out the lead form. This again helps illustrate whether the ads are hitting the right people at the right time.
My client has had instances where a consumer will call them before sending the first welcome email. The consumer will also often call once they receive the first email– preferring phone or email.
The administrator can track these calls back to LinkedIn by looking at the simple Google sheet we created.
You do not have to have a ton of money, nor be a huge corporation, to track offline conversions.
Raise brand awareness while increasing conversions via digital marketing
Questions? Comments? Please leave them below!
– Marji J. Sherman