Metrics Matter: How Are Your Communications Measuring Up?
With the development of easy-to-use, free communication tools it has become easier than ever to send a message to your audience at the drop of a hat. We’ve read varying reports that say the average American sees anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 media impressions per day. We aren’t sure which end of that wildly varying spectrum is right, but we are clear on one thing —regardless of the actual number, your audience’s attention is hard won these days. Which is why it’s so important to be able to gauge the response your communication efforts are garnering.
“How do we know if they read the newsletter?”
“How will we know if anyone is even going to come to these health screenings?”
“Could we get away with sending just one email instead of four?”
These are the things that keep you awake at night if you’re in charge of a communications budget. You feel hard pressed to prove that your communications are being read and making a measurable impact. But you can’t quite seem to wrap your head around how to track that desired outcome back to any specific piece of communication.
If you haven’t been strategic about goal setting and incorporating tracking mechanisms into your communications, you’ve probably been ‘proving’ your value anecdotally through qualitative data that’s easy to refute.
That’s a miserable place to find yourself when you’re trying to prove the value of what you do. So, let us address the juiciest of our Seven Secrets of Strategic Communications:
Secret #4: Measure Everything
Communicating strategically requires that you set goals and measure outcomes for your communications.
Gone are the days of canvassing all employees with the same messages via the same channels and hoping that they’ll engage. From QR codes to Google Analytics, we can now track every move our audience makes online. We can assign our communications unique codes at various stages of outreach to gauge precisely how many impressions it takes before someone finally clicks the call to action and follows through on our desired behavior.
But metrics aren’t exclusive to the online or multimedia realm. Employees don’t have to have smart phones or work at computers for you to track their responses to your communications. Simple calls to action can be linked to pieces in the physical world to measure their response rate just as effectively.
We recently helped a client boost enrollment in their new health coach program by offering a free gift for employees who brought our promotional coupon with them when they signed up.
We promoted the program through a variety of channels (coupon, tent cards, posters, employee newsletter and break room plasma screen ads) but we only tracked the response rate to the coupon because we wanted to measure how incentives drove participation. We made no mention of the incentives in any of our other communications.
HR managers were able to collect data simply by counting the coupons they received in exchange for the free gifts. Thus, we were able to measure the role of the incentive by comparing total number of sign-ups to total number of coupons redeemed.
At the end of our communication cycle we were able to look at the quantitative data and conclude that twenty-four percent of the employees who enrolled did so in direct response to the coupon promotion.
Gathering data on your communications’ response rate can seem tricky if you’ve never done it before. But a little creative thinking can go a long way towards answering the question of “what’s working and what’s not?” If you don’t know what’s working, then it’s time to get clear about your communications goals and build response-tracking strategies into your next project.
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