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Does Advertising in Wedding Magazines Pay Off? Learn to Track it Online

by: Kathy DalPra

advertising in wedding magazineI get this question a lot. I got it a couple weeks ago from a current client we're designing an ad for and last week from a wedding professional attending one of my wedding marketing classes. It seems a lot of bridal businesses are stumped as to whether this is a viable promotional strategy or not.

So you know what I do, when I'm just not sure if something is going to be worth it? I test it and track it.

It's actually not as difficult as you might think to measure the results of your wedding advertisement, even if its printed in a magazine or directory. Using your website and a few basic online tools, you can find out how much action that ad is really getting.

1. Landing Pages

When we have a client that is running a bridal magazine ad, we integrate their offline marketing with their online by creating a custom landing page for couples viewing their ad space. The way it works is that we set up a page exclusively for visitors coming from the magazine. The page gets its own unique URL, or web address, so that the only people who know about it are the ones that see their ad. We can then track the number of unique and returning visitors coming to this webpage over time to see how much traffic it's actually getting.

2. Lead Capture & Marketing Lists

This tactic goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. If you've got a special landing page for your ad, then you may want to put a lead capture form on it too. It's a good idea to give something valuable away to these brides to entice them to sign up, such as a free offer. Not only will you build your list of hot leads, you'll also be able to see how many sign-ups you get.

Also, if your webform can be set up to add these new brides to a special Marketing List, like ours can, you can also send targeted messages to JUST these brides as a follow up. This is really helpful if you tend to do multiple promotions or events with the publisher of your ad, such as if they are a producer of a bridal fair.

3. Discount Codes

If you have a full wedding e-commerce shopping cart, discount codes are a great way to track ROI. This is particularly effective for online wedding boutiques. List your special discount code in your advertisement and, when brides use it to make a purchase, you'll be able to see the exact revenue that resulted from your ad. Awesome, right?

Another thing to consider on this one: if you're looking to also grow your list of leads, then tell brides to visit a specific landing page in order to retrieve their discount code. Make sure the landing page has a lead capture form set up that will automatically send them the discount code once they submit their information.

4. Ask Them

When brides inquire on your website or subscribe to your list, add a field in your webform that asks them how they found out about you. Be sure to include the name of the publication where your ad is listed in the drop down selection. After some time, tally up the results and find out how many leads you received from your ad.

5. QR Codes

QR Codes are simple square bar codes that, when snapped with a smart phone, will take a user to a specific landing page. Many QR Code providers will offer tracking and stats so that you can see the level of activity. By adding a QR Code to your printed ad, you'll be able to see how many couples interacted with it.

6. Mention This Offer

Have you ever seen one of those promotions that told you to "mention this ad" or "mention this commercial" to receive a special gift or discounted rate? Well, this isn't just for the infomercial crowd. You can use the same tactic in your own wedding magazine ad. Give your promotion a special name or code. Then add a field to your service inquiry forms on your website that allows the bride to enter in the name of your special offer, so you can track how many prospects are responding to your ad.

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