We hear a lot about how companies need to use call tracking to see the truly value of their marketing campaigns. But what is call tracking, anyhow?
Call tracking is the process of measuring the impact of marketing effort on lead generation and sales. It was born from evidence-based marketers’ desire for increased visibility into lead sources. If all leads and sales came from online form conversions, it would be easy to know which ads provide the best ROI without any call tracking whatsoever. But for most industries outside of basic ecommerce – including travel, healthcare, automotive, financial services and B2B technology – the vast majority of leads and sales are generated via the telephone.
How Does Call Tracking Software Work?
Call tracking systems allow companies to instantly and cheaply create local or toll-free phone numbers with the click of a button. To companies accustomed to purchasing numbers from traditional phone carriers, the process is nothing short of a revolution. Numbers can be assigned nicknames, labels and tags so that they can easily be searched and tracked.
Next, marketers associate unique numbers with particular marketing engagements such as TV or radio ads, conference print collateral, social media ads, or even search keywords.
When a customer calls, the unique number instantly reports the ad source based on the associated phone number. Other common standard metrics include call time and geolocation reports.
It’s not uncommon for even small-to-medium sized business to operate several advertising campaigns simultaneously. A brand might have six separate groups of ads based on different products. Campaign-based call tracking solutions offer a variety of numbers. Each number can focus on a different product, paid search ad group, individual ad or even specific keyword. Each number is assigned to a specific entity. Marketing and Sales can therefore easily separate calls that originate from specific ads.
Tracking Offline Engagements
Call tracking empowers companies to determine which offline engagements add the most value. There is no longer a need to ask a lead, “How did you find us?”
Direct response marketers have often struggled to gain visibility into which television and radio ads offer the best returns. For example, imagine you run a startup company that sells exercise equipment. You want to run radio ads, but you’re unsure of which demographics will offer the best ROI. You might find yourself running ads on a talk radio station, a Top 40 station and a station that plays R&B. In order to know which ads are driving the most sales, you will need to give three separate phone numbers. Call tracking systems can then let you know which radio stations drive the most sales.
In certain industries like software technology and healthcare, it’s very common for businesses to have a presence at trade shows. Marketers have long-struggled to quantify the ROI of their in-person marketing investments. If your business advertises in a trade-show magazine, passes one-page fliers out at a booth and gives a Powerpoint presentation, you can use assign a unique number to each of those engagements. Your business will then be able to associate their efforts with ROI, so that your in-person engagements be incrementally successful.
Tracking Online Engagements
Tracking Calls from Websites
There are many ways for web publishers to use call tracking. This section focuses on at least three use cases.
Tracking calls from a Business Directory Page
Sites that contain business listings are consistently surprised when they decide to start tracking calls from phone numbers listed on a page. It’s often useful as a test to see how effective page advertising is, and how much to charge for it. At a recent conference, a speaker cited a local auto repair service listing site that displayed the phone number of each repair shop. As a test, he decided to assign unique phone numbers to each listing, and forward those test numbers to the real business numbers. An amazing one out of every six page visitors actually called a number on the page. This type of evidence can give site operators both the confidence and the metrics with which to justify a substantial advertising fee increase.
Tracking Calls from Multiple Sites
As part of a network approach to inbound marketing, many companies operate several sites, each dedicated to serving a specific customer segment. The simplest and most common way to track lead generation from individual sites is to provision a unique local or toll-free number for each site, thereby having at least basic insight into which sites are driving leads and sales.
1. Easily Measure Your ROI
Having one phone number dedicated to a certain ad makes it simple to track which calls are coming in because of that ad. You can then use this information to test the effectiveness of various ads and sales & marketing campaigns.
2. Staff Appropriately During Peak Call Times
By analyzing the number of sales & marketing calls your company receives and misses each day by hour, you can better staff your call center to make sure that as many calls as possible are answered without paying more to staff the center than is necessary.
3. Target Your Clients by Location
Once you start implementing call tracking as part of your sales & marketing strategy, you may notice that a large number of calls are coming from a certain geographic location or that very few calls are coming from another. This sales data will allow you to tailor your marketing appropriately so you can best reach your intended audience.
4. Better Equip Your Phone Staff
Once you start tracking your sales & marketing data, you may notice certain patterns emerging. There may be certain questions that keep popping up time and time again, or there may be some products that are selling particularly well. Prepare your sales staff for success by giving them this information ahead of time.