Contributed by Gunther Scherz

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Lord Leverhulme

Gunther Scherz

If you are nodding your head in agreement, then you are most likely in the same boat as a large number of marketers and agencies today. In this day and age, your advertising budget is under greater scrutiny than ever before, and maximising every advertising dollar is one of your top priorities. However, businesses large and small are struggling to understand which of their marketing efforts are actually delivering the desired results. Enter ‘call tracking.’

Call tracking has enabled businesses to realise which of their marketing efforts are driving results.

What is call tracking?

In simple terms, call tracking is the ability to trace phone calls back to the person who initiated the call, as well as the relevant advertising channel that prompted the phone number. This tracking can account for people who call you from your website or social network sites, as well as those who call you from other direct marketing efforts, such as print ads, television spots and billboards.

So, every time one of these advertising channels generates a phone call, the call is traced back to the source and then reported in real-time via a secured portal, with the option of being recorded for training purposes. This allows businesses to optimise their marketing activities for the methods which generate the highest quality conversion, compared to guessing on the outcome.

Call tracking can help to:

(1) Optimise offline ad spending by measuring how many calls are generated by various ad sources. By establishing and analysing a metric called “cost per call”, marketers will able to cut back on advertising channels which are not delivering results and increase budgets into channels that are the most effective. In other words, call tracking supplies businesses’ with reliable, relevant and actionable information on their advertising results.

(2) Optimise online efforts: Fact is, it is simply impossible to manage online campaigns accurately for businesses that use phones to either convert sales, handle enquiries or even just direct customers within their organisation without tracking phone conversions. Call tracking allows businesses to complete the path to enquiry/ purchase and generate the most accurate ROI for your online activity. Also, without call tracking, many search keywords, banner ads and EDM campaigns fail, whereas they would have succeeded if calls were included in the first place. As the conversion rate is directly linked to prices, it is absolutely critical that conversion rates are accurate, otherwise the advertising budget is being mismanaged.

This was not such a big problem in the past because everyone was in the same boat. Not anymore. Call tracking for online conversions may be relatively new, but not for long. As with many paradigm shifts, those that get in early have the most to gain. This is especially true with tracking phone conversions because competition is a major driver in both search keyword bid prices, banner advertising rates and organic search engine rankings. Therefore, a company that tracks calls can still benefit from keywords or banner properties that have low competition but are effective at generating phone conversions at a time when others are still waking up to the enormous advantages of call tracking. In addition, when phone conversions are added to online conversions, a company can justifiably and profitably pay higher rates for competitive keywords and banners, which in turn increases revenue for both the business and the agency managing the account.

With the advancements in call tracking technology, businesses can now determine exactly which PPC and SEO campaigns delivered the call down to the keyword level. By attributing calls to the correct keywords, you can now bid more aggressively on the keywords that are working and reduce bids on the keywords that don’t – completing the puzzle.

(3) Never miss a call again with instant missed call notification via email or sms. If all these efforts in generating demand for a business generate a phone call, and this call is not answered, abandoned or outside of business hours, the prospect is still not lost. The call tracking system will send an instant email or sms notification to the various people within the organisation to enable them to recover the prospect.

(4) Improve operational excellence by call recording, call evaluation, call whisper etc. which are all features designed to better manage the critical transition from prospect to customer.

(5) Never lose a prospect again by managing the sales force through a) monitoring call activities and b) forwarding call to a new contact within the organisation once a sales person resigns.

(6) Test artwork and copy adaptations with meaningful testing scores in the form or number of calls received which can be compared across various media.

So how does the future look for call tracking?

Call tracking is ever evolving, as new and exciting advertising channels open up for marketers to explore. A lot of businesses rely on an inbound call as a starting point of the sales process which will increase in the future as consumers shift away from filling out web forms to using smartphones which features such as click to call as a main engagement form between themselves and businesses.

In conclusion, when it comes to getting instant feedback about the phone calls driven by your marketing efforts, call tracking is the single, most effective measurement tool to determine your return-on-investment.

Gunther Scherz runs the call tracking company Avanser Singapore Pte Ltd.

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