Many entrepreneurs and small business owners launch direct marketing campaigns through email marketing, direct mail or other methods, then forget the most important aspect of a direct marketing campaign: tracking the results. One of the advantages of direct marketing is that is trackable and measurable. You can tell, for example, how much every dollar spent on direct marketing made back in sales. But you won’t be able to analyze your data if you fail to collect it.You can test many aspects of a direct marketing campaign from the creative presentation to the offer. Each yields different insights that add valuable data to the marketing manager or business owner’s understanding of what drives sales. Tracking elements that you are testing in a direct marketing campaign offers the critical data points necessary for good decision-making about marketing campaigns.Depending upon your campaign, the media, and the budget, there are many ways you can track responses to each direct marketing promotion. The following three methods are the lowest cost methods to track results from campaigns online or offline. Be sure to track only one element you’re testing at a time, or else you won’t be able to tell which element boosted the response rate.Unique Campaign Response URL URLs are so inexpensive these days, and it’s so easy to create a landing page for a campaign that using a unique URL to track different lists or tests within an online or direct mailing effort makes sense. You can place the unique tracking URL on direct mail pieces or include links in email campaigns. Choose URLs that are directly related to the campaign name, theme or the product or company name. Keep them short and easy to type if you are including them on direct mail pieces. Make sure that the landing pages are identical; if you include different text or graphics on the landing page, you are mixing too many elements into the test matrix.Different Response Phone NumbersA unique toll free number, phone number, or phone extension can also track responses in a direct marketing campaign, especially direct mail campaigns. Many companies use this method to track responses by promotional channel. Another variation on this theme is to list different “staff” in the marketing piece. Jane’s name may be on piece one, while Ann’s name on piece two. If the call center or operator is given a list of names, and knows to tick off the number of calls next to the names, you can get a good idea of the responsiveness of a promotion by tallying how many times Jane or Ann was requested.Special Response CodesYou may be familiar with the codes on the back of catalogs in the colored boxes. These correspond to various tests or factors the catalog marketer wishes to track. Special codes may also be included on order forms to track responses. Sometimes customers find typing response codes into online forms onerous. Try rewarding customers who include their response codes with a free gift with purchase or another bonus to encourage them to reveal their response or source codes.Testing ConceptsThese three methods of tracking results from direct marketing campaigns work well with many types of tests. Whether you’re conducting a split test or a test with many variables, be sure to use tracking methods such as a unique landing page and URL, unique phone number or source codes so that you can analyze the response data later and make informed decisions about your marketing methods.