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Without delving into the relative merits of print advertising in general, I'd like to hear how those who advertise in print medium track their ROI?
I've considered several possible ways but none is particularly appealing:
* "Special offer code" in the ad -- "enter code XXYY to save $5 on your first order" -- difficult to implement in conjuction with other discount or short-term sales. And some folks won't remember to enter the code, so don't get tracked.
* Ask customers during check out "where did you hear about our web site?" -- can't make it a required field and many customers skip right past it. This is my current approach though I'm not really happy with it.
* A "special" URL in the advertisement with a landing page that tracks visits -- www.somedomain.com/MagAd -- I worry that my customers (mostly older women) can't handle anything more complex than getting the www.anystore.com part entered in their browser.
* A "special" domain name alias -- like [MagAd.somedomain.com...] -- again, I worry that folks will get confused when they don't see the "www" in the URL.
So far in a year, not a single customer has mentioned that they found us in the magazine ad, though I'm almost certain that at least a few have whether they told us or not.
If you include a phone number in the ad, it's easy to add another 800 number just for that ad and then track inbound calls.