One of the big advantages to using “all in one” marketing systems such as HubSpot is that it gives you closed loop reporting.
This means you aren’t trying to join together a bunch of different data sources to figure out where your website traffic and leads are coming from, but instead have it all in one dashboard.
But there’s often one particular source of leads and enquiries that gets overlooked: phone calls.
Phone calls – the missing link in most analytics
So you’re probably already using some form of analytics to track where your leads and customers are coming from online. But what happens when someone calls your business using that archaic piece of technology, ye olde telephone?
In most cases a phone call is not accounted for in sales and marketing reports.
Depending on the nature of your business, this can cause a big problem.
How can you know where to invest marketing resources if you don’t know how those phone leads are finding your business?
And what’s the point of investing time and money in advanced analytics if you completely ignore an entire lead source? In some cases, (most notably B2C service businesses), phone can make up more than half of your total enquiries.
Not knowing how these callers found you is leaving money on the table.
The solution – “call tracking” to the rescue
There’s actually a relatively simple solution to this problem, and it comes in the form of something called call tracking.
Call tracking is a service offered by a variety of third party vendors. The way it works is that you are given a custom number (or a pool of numbers) to add to your marketing materials anywhere your phone number is displayed. In most cases this will be your website. The call tracking service provider gives you a code that goes where you usually display your number on your website. This code will show the custom number/s they’ve provided to people visiting your website.
It then works out the source of the phone call to that number based on the activity surrounding it.
How call tracking works on your website
For example, let’s say you’re running pay per click ads on Google. Someone finds your website by searching for “new car tyres”. They end up on your website and decide to call you via the number on your home page.
Because you’ve got the call tracking script installed and a custom number is shown to that visitor, the technology can work out which of your ads led to that visitor arriving on that page, then making that phone call, tracing it back to the source. This can then be factored into your monthly reporting data. It will track phone lead sources such as paid, social, organic, direct, etc, in the same way your existing analytics system allocates referrals.
For high volume businesses who get a lot of phone calls, it will sometimes be necessary to show different numbers to different people. You might have as many as 5 phone numbers in circulation on your website, with the phone tracking script deciding which number to show which visitor so that there’s no ambiguity about who called via the number.
Not just for your website
Call tracking isn’t limited to your website. Say you’re doing some letterbox drops, simply get a new number from your provider and add it to the printed brochures. Now you’ll know exactly how many phone calls that campaign generated and will no longer be “just guessing” about whether it’s worth investing in letterbox drops in future (Hint: it’s usually not!).
You can also do stuff like add one of your tracked numbers to your social accounts or other channels where you want to track how often calls are coming in from that source.
Does this replace my existing phone number?
Call tracking does not affect your existing phone number. Your phone number will still keep working and is still recommended for things like suppliers calling you and other non-marketing purposes. The new number/s you use in your call tracking will simply be redirected to your existing number, so nothing much will change in the day to day operation of your business, other than you now knowing where all those phone leads are coming from.
How hard is it to set up?
It’s relatively easy to set up call tracking. Once you choose a vendor and a plan, you will usually be given some code to add to your website. Some vendors also provide a dashboard where you can manage your numbers.
How to choose a vendor
Until recently, most call tracking providers were based outside of Australia. But we recently came across Call Dynamics, a call tracking provider based here in Melbourne. We’re now working with Call Dynamics on our own sites, as well as now offering this option to clients who receive a high volume of phone calls. (We’re not being paid anything to promote Call Dynamics– we just think they offer a great service most businesses would benefit from.)
How much does it cost?
It’s surprisingly cheap to get started. For example, Call Dynamics offers a single number package starting at $40/mo with a $34 setup fee. This will be adequate for most businesses that don’t get thousands of website visits a month. It should cater for up to around 20 calls per month. If you get more phone leads than that then you’ll likely need more numbers, which cost around $15/mo more per month for each number. Check out their full pricing here.
What other cool things can you do with call tracking?
Using your call tracking dashboard you can also do some other cool things like:
- Divert your number/s to different landlines or mobile on the fly
- Record incoming calls so you can make sure they are being handled properly
- Play a message to the receiver of the call so you know what number the caller has dialed (handy if you have several businesses)
- Track split test results using phone calls (e.g. if you are testing different web pages you can now track the calls from each variation)
- Sync phone call results with your CRM
- Get 1300 numbers and 1800 numbers at around the same price as renting one of those numbers on its own, but with the added benefit of tracking
- Add end of call surveys so the person taking the call can rate the quality of the lead
Bottom line on call tracking
It’s early days for us with using call tracking, but at this stage I’d say the relatively small investment of time and money in setting up call tracking makes it a “must have” for any business that wants to know how people are finding their phone number, and/or businesses who want more control over how inbound calls are handled.