In 1876, an invention that would define the next century and a half was inaugurated with just a few words: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” The speaker? Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. These words were a landmark in a journey that was changing the world. From organized postal systems to the telegraph, transatlantic telephone cables to the internet, the ability to communicate with people around the world opened up previously unimaginable possibilities. With call tracking, you can harness the potential of Bell’s invention to open up new possibilities for your business too!
Even in the digital age, not all marketing is digital. For some, a telephone ringing is the sound of the past. But according to the 2020 Customer Communications Review by RingCentral, 93 percent of businesses find that inbound phone sales (ones initiated by the customer) have a big or at least medium impact on their bottom line. And phone calls don’t seem to be going anywhere, as 66 percent of millennials are likely to contact a company by phone. Many companies still rely on calls to generate leads and do business and likely will for the foreseeable future.
So if you’re like most businesses and rely on calls with customers for your bottom line, here’s how call tracking can help you.
What Is Call Tracking?
Call tracking isn’t a fancy game of triangulation or spycraft like you might see in the movies (that’s a little bit outside the scope of this article). Call tracking for businesses is made possible through something called Dynamic Number Insertion.
To put it simply, while you may have a phone number for your business, it’s not the same one a customer will necessarily see when you’re using call tracking. A call tracking service assigns a different phone number to different channels – or different visitors, in the case of online call tracking.
Let’s say you have a few different marketing campaigns running, all of which utilize your company’s phone number. You’ve paid for billboard space at prominent sites around your city’s highway system. You’ve taken out an ad in the newspaper. A pay-per-click campaign is driving traffic to your site. And finally, you’re running social media ads on Facebook.
Without call tracking, each channel will display the same number. But using call tracking, your billboard campaign and your newspaper ads will have their own numbers. Your PPC campaign and social media ads will display specific numbers to different potential customers, who will continue to see the same number every time they visit your website.
So that’s how the mechanics of call tracking work. But what’s the point of it?
Why You Should Use It
If you’re putting effort into something, you probably want to know how well you’re doing at it. Call tracking gives you a window into the performance of each of your marketing campaigns. In the example we gave, each campaign has a different phone number – or in the case of your online campaigns, dynamic numbers assigned to individuals.
When a customer calls, you can identify which specific campaign they’re acting on based on the number used. Call tracking services make this even easier by managing and assigning these numbers for you. They can even help you track your SEO efforts by showing you how many people found your number through organic searches.
Google Analytics and other services help you track the performance of your digital marketing campaigns and your SEO. However, they track this performance in terms of clicks, views, and other online metrics. For the most part, they can’t track anything that happens offline.
In our example, two of the channels used, billboard and newspaper ads, were physical. If these sources converted customers, they wouldn’t show up in other analytics. That means even if these efforts were effective, they might not look like it in an analytical report. Call tracking complements other analytics services by keeping tabs on what they can’t.
Having the full picture of your marketing effectiveness can help you improve your campaigns. But it can also save you money!
You had four marketing campaigns running in our example: billboards, newspapers, PPC, and social media. Using call tracking, you get a better understanding of each channel’s conversion rates. You find out that your billboard ads don’t seem to be generating many calls, but your PPC ads have the phones ringing off the hook.
What’s the solution? Redirect money from the billboard campaign into your PPC ads and get your advertising in front of the people who respond to it! Call tracking can help you refine your marketing budget so you get the most for your money.
When Bell spoke the first words through the telephone, he didn’t think a greeting would be necessary. When the idea was proposed, Bell wanted callers to greet each other with “Ahoy!” Wired reports that it was the prolific inventor Thomas Edison who proposed the word “Hello,” which eventually caught on.
Call tracking helps you take a cue from this early innovation. Many call tracking services like CallRail (the one we use at Punch Bug) give you a call recording option, allowing you to listen in on the conversations between your employees and customers. Using this, you can determine why customers call but don’t make a purchase, what sales language is most effective, and how your team can improve. Use it to create a well-trained sales team with honed pitching skills or improve your customer service capabilities to increase customer retention.
And if your staff is greeting customers with “Ahoy,” it’s time to talk.
Staying organized is a key part of any marketing strategy. Call tracking doesn’t just give you marketing help – it’s also useful for managing and organizing your calls. Missed calls can mean missed leads, which in regular English translates roughly to missed money. Help ensure you don’t miss any calls by creating a call flow through your call tracking service. When a representative doesn’t pick up the phone, a call flow transfers the call to the next representative until someone is able to answer.
You can also assign different campaigns to different team members to keep your strategy structured. Or save your customers some headaches and create an interactive menu that helps them reach the department they need. You can even track outbound calls to see which leads are being followed up on by your sales team.
Does Your Business Need Call Tracking?
Call tracking has many uses and can be implemented in many different ways. No matter the kind of business you run, if you rely on calls with customers for your bottom line, call tracking can help you make the most of your money and time. Whether you want to stretch your marketing budget and improve your reach or improve and support your customer service team, call tracking can give your business the edge you need.