In all my years of consulting and providing internet marketing strategies to my own clients, my absolute favorite measuring tool has always been call tracking. I love call tracking because there is simply no denying the data – especially if you get the kind of call tracking that records the phone call. You listen to the call and have that “ah ha” moment. You find yourself saying, “Oh. Mr. Turner found us online. He didn’t mention that when he called.” (They never do, am I right?) But now you can associate the profits you made with Mr. Turner with the investment you put toward your internet marketing campaign. It’s just so black and white.

You get a list of the calls you received during the month, you listen to the calls, and you make the connection. “These clients came from online marketing. Period.”

It’s a pretty common strategy. A lot of the biggest players use call tracking. In this video that includes several reviews of Yodle, several of the customers talk about their love of call tracking. Truly, if you’re unable to connect the dots between clicks and sales, consider call tracking.

Another benefit of call tracking is that it will tell you when your marketing effort isn’t working. I once worked with a client who offered interpreter services. We ran a PPC campaign that targeted businesses who needed an interpreter by phone. We bid on the right words. Our ads spoke to the service we offered and we ran a lot of negative keywords related to “jobs” and “employment”. Despite all our efforts, the majority of the calls we got were interpreters looking for work. They had searched the same keywords as our potential clients, clicked on the ads (despite the fact that they were targeted toward potential clients – not potential employees) and called our tracking number. So when we got a lot of calls, we were excited, but when we listened to the calls, we realized that these out of work interpreters were eating up our pay-per-click budget and wasting our time. So, the call tracking proved something that click-through numbers wouldn’t have – we were getting the wrong kinds of leads.

One more benefit of call tracking, one I didn’t see coming until I started listening to calls with clients: You get to listen to how your employees handle phone calls. You may not even realize this is important until you start hearing them answer pricing questions without exploring the customers’ needs, or when you hear them answer a question with a yes or no and not even start a conversation that could lead to a sale. One of my clients loved this aspect of call tracking so much that he would play back the calls every month at an employee meeting.

But wait. You say you don’t want to use some strange number on your website because you’ve spent so much time establishing your main number with clients. A call tracking number doesn’t diminish that. If your regulars have you in their cell phone like me (hello, Oklahoma Joe’s!) it won’t matter to them if you’ve got a different number on your website. It will, however, track when your regulars look you up online and help you understand the value of being found online even to those who know and love you. If you tell me that you’re worried people will save the tracking number in their phone, that they’ll get a wrong number one day when you no longer use the tracking number, well, that’s kind of a fair point. Two things. One, if the tracking number is as effective as I’ve seen it to be, you may never want to let it go. It’s not like some day is going to come when you don’t care to measure the effectiveness of your advertising, right? And two, because of the call tracking, you’ll have every number that ever calls, so you could reach out to them in the event that you do decide to give up the tracking number. Heck, it might even make for a good excuse to call them. “Hi, Mr. Turner. I just wanted to thank you for your business and let you know we’ll no longer be available at 555-915-4282. You’ll be able to reach us at… what? You want to place an order? Okay, I can help you with that…”

Don’t laugh. It could happen.    🙂

For more details on how to use call tracking effectively, check out this article about call tracking by the very guy who trained me at Google, Brad Geddes: Five Ways to Track Phone Calls…

Thanks for reading.

David McBee