Tips for Measuring the Results of Your AEP Marketing Efforts

As an independent insurance agent, understanding the performance of your marketing initiatives provides many benefits. The insights gained can save you money by knowing which tactics or platforms to avoid or eliminate, can help you make more money by understanding where best to invest your advertising dollars, and can save you time by providing a better game plan for your next campaign. Ideally, a proactive marketing plan would have you measuring results throughout the duration of your campaign, however, sometimes life happens and we have to adjust. And if the events of 2020 are forcing you to take a retroactive approach to measuring marketing effectiveness, we can certainly understand that! Let’s take a look at some ways you can determine which marketing efforts performed best, which deserve improvement, and which need to be eliminated or replaced in order for you to make the most of your time and money.

Start with the numbers. You probably already have a good sense of the marketing efforts bringing you leads and sales, however it’s important to rank your advertising methods rather than simply assigning them to the categories of “what’s working” and “what’s not.” You can begin to do this using a Return on Investment (ROI) calculation: subtract the initial cost of your investment (ad dollars) from the current value of the investment (sales), then divide this figure by the initial cost of the investment (ad dollars).

Example: Suppose you invested $600 in a direct mail campaign that resulted in $1,100 in total sales. Divide your profits ($1,100 – $600 = $500) by the investment you made ($600) for a ROI of $500/$600, or 83%. Similarly, if you placed newspaper advertisements at an investment of $600 that resulted in $700 in sales, your ROI would be 17%.

​After performing this calculation on each of the marketing projects you conducted, you can then rank each from most to least profitable and begin to form a picture of what’s working for you and how well.   

Additional considerations. One obvious limitation to this ROI formula is that it fails to account for the investment of time; some marketing efforts require vast amounts of time, and some very little. One way to overcome this discrepancy is to estimate the time each marketing project demanded, assign an hourly value to your efforts and then include these figures in your ROI calculations (adding the value of your time to the cost of the investment).

It’s important to keep in mind the ROI calculation also fails to account for exposure. While the direct mail campaign in the example above is clearly more profitable than the newspaper ad, the mail campaign likely created little residual effect outside of the individual households who saw the mailer. On the other hand, while the newspaper ad didn’t generate as much revenue, the ad was likely seen by many readers which exposes your name, brand, message, and services offered to the local community.

In addition to balancing your time and money with community outreach, you’ll want to pay attention to the marketing efforts that are gaining traction. For example, suppose you started utilizing social media as a platform to reach your target audience this year. Initial sales may or may not reach your goals, however, continued effort in this medium is likely justified if you’re seeing continued engagement, gaining followers, receiving questions via instant messages or within your posts, etc.

Bringing it all together. Calculating your return on investment is extremely important to gauging the effectiveness of your advertising methods, however, the numbers alone often fail to tell the whole story. Assigning added weight to important factors such as time investment, brand-building within your community, and underlying momentum can provide greater insight into what’s working (or has the potential to work better). These insights can then help you prioritize your projects and structure future marketing campaigns. We always advocate using a healthy marketing mix and not relying on a single tactic or platform to generate all your leads. So, if your analysis uncovers a marketing initiative that’s simply not working (the first indication of which would be a negative ROI percentage), consider replacing it with something different rather than eliminating that channel altogether.

While retroactively measuring marketing efforts presents its challenges, doing so still provides valuable insights that can reduce time and increase revenue moving forward with new campaigns. Keep an eye out in the new year for an article that outlines a proactive approach to marketing campaign measurement.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate new leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at marketing@berwickinsurance.com or 888-745-2320. 

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