Despite the massive shift over the last decade in the way our culture consumes content, advertising in print is still just as relevant as doing so online. Any comprehensive, effective marketing plan contains BOTH print AND online marketing material, to engage target audiences on a multitude of levels. The trick is to connect the dots between your printed and online advertising materials. The good news is, with the advent of the Internet, measuring your return on investment (ROI) for your print advertising is easier than ever before—you just have to know the ropes. For the most part, the secret is to tie your print campaigns in with an online marker that clearly indicates performance—but there are other interesting ways to gather insight into your ad performance and your potential customer demographics.

Try these tips and tricks for measuring your ROI on your next print advertising campaign. You won’t be disappointed!

Offer Up a Unique Phone Number

When your ad contains a unique phone number, measuring ad response is easy: Simply count the calls coming in from that number and use a smart CRM system to track the results from lead to closing the deal. Want smarter analytics with more detail and/or for multiple campaigns? Try a paid system like Marchex. Set up your number and they do the legwork for you. Pretty handy. If you’re a smaller business or just starting out, pick up a free number plus voicemail from Google Voice.

Pull ‘Em In with Custom Landing Pages

When you’re marketing offline, you want to drive traffic online to get the most out of your message. On a basic level, you should have analytics set up to monitor your website’s traffic. If you don’t, you’re going to want to set that up NOW. (Many people like Google Analytics, but ask your web developer for a solution that works best for your business.)

Now that your analytics are all set up, you’re going to want to set up customized landing pages. Every time someone enters that unique address, you’ll be able to analyze the performance of your print ad. Try something like or Be creative, but come up with a name that’s consistent with both your brand message and your print ad campaign’s theme. Keep it short, simple and uncomplicated. You want people to get to the right place both easily and quickly.

And hey, don’t duplicate content. Your website’s regular content and your customized landing page should each display unique copy. Google will treat this copy+paste duplication as an attempt to load up your site with keywords and thus, your search engine ranking will suffer. Hire a copywriter to create unique messaging in line with your ad campaign and your brand message. If you really want to duplicate your copy, add a noindex metatag or check your WordPress plugins (like WordPress SEO) for a noindex page option.

How’d You Find Us?

Adding a “How’d You Find Us?” dropdown field on your website’s contact form is a quick and easy way to track both how people are reaching your website and also the campaign that inspired that potential customer to make contact. Be sure to add an option so they can select the specific ad campaign that brought them to your website. A dropdown field is key. It’s easier to track and leaves no room for rambling answers you’ll have to translate later; plus, you’ll trigger their memory when they read that dropdown list. Be sure to remove old campaigns to keep your list up-to-date and succinct, and to reduce the chance for error.

When in doubt? Ask! Whether you’re tracking calls through a separate phone number or not, be sure to train your customer service reps to always ask where each caller heard about your company or a specific promotion. Train your team to diligently record this information in your CRM. Your customers get service with a smile and you get results you can measure.

Try one or more of these ideas and you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll gain on your ad campaigns. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, who’s buying from where and how much, and more!

What’s YOUR favorite way to track print advertising ROI? Leave a comment below!