More than ever, customers are calling local businesses directly from searches, without ever visiting a company's website. For SMBs, it's easier than ever to use call tracking not only to monitor this surge, but also to connect online and offline worlds and get a better return from investments.
But before answering the questions "How does call tracking work?" and "What can it do for my business?" it's important to understand what it is.
What Is Call Tracking?
Call tracking simply means monitoring your business's incoming phone calls. With call-to-action buttons easily incorporated into digital marketing campaigns, particularly SEM, it's simple to collect a great deal of information. Without this technology, however, it wouldn't illuminate your offline campaigns — or help you monitor customers who dial rather than click to call. Thus, you might assume a particular campaign isn't working, and you could be making a costly mistake.
How Does Call Tracking Work?
Dynamic number insertion (DNI) generates different phone numbers for different campaigns, allowing you to see which campaigns are generating conversions. Search Engine Land reported on data from Telemetrics, a leader in call tracking and analytics, that shows employing DNI can improve call attribution up to 37 percent. Once you have this data, be sure to asses it carefully.
Let's say a hair salon is running ads on Google, in newspapers and on buses. The salon might see 20 calls per week generated from Google, five from the bus, and two from the newspaper, and decides to cease the newspaper buy — but it may be that the majority of calls come in on Fridays, while the salon runs the newspaper ads on Sundays. Advertising in the Thursday paper might be a better strategy, and call tracking makes this level of granularity possible.
What Are the Benefits of Call Tracking?
Tracking calls can make (and save) you money in several ways. In addition to fine-tuning digital ad buys, you'll also learn which keywords and ads perform best. You'll see which landing pages generate the most calls to your business, and you might enhance those pages — and in turn, garner more response. You might even save on staffing.
Going with the hair salon example, let's say those calls are coming in before the salon opens on Fridays. You might notice callbacks don't net appointments. By seeing patterns to incoming calls, you can staff appropriately to capitalize on opportunities.
You might also discover that certain services generate more responses, and in this way, you can focus your promotional efforts on those services. Again, you might align your staffing to meet the needs, for instance bringing in additional manicurists on weekends.
This technology can also help identify customer service issues. You'll have more insight into how quickly calls are answered, how long customers are placed on hold, the conversations that take place, and more, so you can adjust as necessary to improve the customer experience.
Use It or Lose It
Call tracking offers metrics that are but one part of the overall equation. It's important to understand how call tracking impacts your SEO efforts.
Some search engines use the consistency of a business's name, address and phone number to establish ranking, so it's important that this is the same number across the web. You want to be sure to update all of your online citations with your new tracking number.
Know who owns your new number, or at least make sure the number is portable, in case you part ways with your call tracking provider.
Avoid counting existing customers twice by establishing a "first time caller" metric. This is the best route to tightening ROI.