The Coffey Blog

5 ways to measure the ROI of your print publications online

Posted on: Monday, December 11, 2017

Doug Nichols, Client Advocate/Project Manager

How can you tell if your healthcare newsletter is really working? At one time, this was a hard question to answer.

Metrics you'd track in order to pinpoint direct revenue benefits or positive image growth expectations were either not available—or not employed.

So much has changed.

Now, there are all sorts of sophisticated digital methods we can use to track print return on investment (ROI). Let's take a look at 5 tools that measure the ROI of your print publications online.

Hop online to measure print ROI

1. Google Analytics

Healthcare organizations often place PDFs of print publications online so that digital readers can access information even if they don't see a newsletter in the mailbox.

Flipbook technology takes PDFs to the next level. And this technology is tied to the power of Google Analytics.

Flipbooks are interactive versions of PDFs. Readers click an arrow or turn feature to go to the next page. URLs are hyperlinked throughout for call-to-action (CTA) opportunities with a click of the mouse.

When Flipbooks are connected to Google Analytics (which we do when we create Flipbooks), activity is subject to reporting.

There are many reports available, but the primary report of interest includes the following data points:

  • Total number of pages viewed.
  • Number of unique page views.
  • Average time users spent viewing a page.
  • Number of times visitors entered the site through a specified page.
  • Percentage of single page sessions when there was no interaction with the page.

Data is populated in real time, so you can track activity as it happens. And it's easy to export reports so you can show them to your boss.

2. Trackable phone numbers

Phone numbers make for ideal CTAs, as they help your readers take action on your articles. Replacing a standard call-center number with a trackable phone number, specific to your CTA, can help you understand what topics are getting the most traction.

Trackable phone numbers seamlessly redirect to your internal number, and if done right, your readers will have no idea that this is a replacement number. Use your area code, or select a toll-free number, to match the other phone numbers in your publication.

Reporting captures:

  • Number of unique callers.
  • Average time of calls.
  • Total minutes on the phone.

The caller's phone number is identified, so you can keep measuring impact. For example, you could look for registrations or appointment scheduling activity.

3. Custom web addresses

It's hard to assess print ROI using basic Google Analytics reports. Your visitors will type in addresses they see in their print publication, so tracking them is tough.

But a custom website address redirects traffic, and that makes tracking easy. The only people who will have access to that address will be people who have your print publication.

An added benefit: These addresses are often shorter than a typical URL, making them more design layout- and reader-friendly. For example, "morehealth.org/mammogram" could replace "YOURHOSPITALNAME.org/Imaging-Schedule-Mammogram."

There are some utilities that can shorten web addresses for you, and those utilities sometimes come with reporting features that can help you measure your progress.

4. Online readership surveys

Who better than your constituents to provide feedback on your print publication? Add a link to the survey in your publication. Set a defined time frame for completion of the survey (we typically recommend deactivating a link like this within six weeks), and tailor the survey questions to meet your needs.

The questions can be wide and varied: from preferred method of communication, to attractiveness/readability of the publication, to what health topics they are most interested in hearing about, to what action they took as a result of reading your publication.

Participation rates in online surveys are typically low, as with all types of surveys, but the responses can be revealing. Incentivizing responses is a smart way to increase participation. For example, participants could be entered into a drawing to win one of five $50 gift cards.

5. Social media reporting

Promoting your publication on social media channels will give you added and frequent exposure. Think of creative ways to incorporate the publication in your posts. You could:

  • Link to a Flipbook of your publication.
  • Share a recipe from your executive chef, and remind readers that you offer recipes in your print piece.
  • Share an article from a doctor that discusses the patient benefits of a new technology, and remind readers that these articles appear in print.
  • Write teaser posts discussing the content you have planned for the next issue of your publication.

Every social channel is different, and what works on one channel may not work on another. But by looking over your channels daily, and measuring how much interaction each post gets, you could help to hone your strategy. And each engagement on social is a metric you can track.

Ready to get started?

Tracking engagement is a smart way to prove your publication's worth. But in order to get the numbers you want, you'll need to make sure your publication is designed to engage your readers.

Simply hearing that your publication looks good and is interesting does not translate into reader engagement. Sharing messages of successful patient outcomes and aggressively adhering to a patient-first philosophy in all interactions is a sure way to engage readers and enhance their trust in your organization.

At Coffey, we specialize in creating engaging publications. And we are experts in tracking ROI. We'd love to talk with you about your goals and how we can help. Ready to get started? Contact us.

Related reading

Content is king: How to pick a partner for your disease management newsletter
9 things to double-check in your healthcare content
Use active voice to bring your healthcare content to life