Convert Offline – Everybody’s Doing It

March 12th, 2008 by Will Scott

Return on Investment Through Call Tracking

Since I’m clearly not going to get to the proposals I had on tap for tonight I thought I’d go ahead and document a recent client experience I’ve been talking to a few folks about.

I’ve told this story a few times recently in support of our use of call tracking numbers.

There’s an old joke “Half of my marketing budget is wasted, if only I knew which half”.

For anybody who doesn’t know, call tracking is not a new idea. Yellow Pages have used them forever they called them RCF (remote call forwarding) numbers. Essentially a call tracking number is a number which routes calls to the main business number for the purpose of tracking incoming calls. Typically, these are assigned to an ad or campaign to gauge their effectiveness.

I believe in Return on Investment! If what we do doesn’t make money for our clients they should stop paying us. The good news is we make them money and they continue to pay 🙂

But, part of what we do includes helping them understand which of their marketing (ours or otherwise) is worth the money.

We have been blessed to attract a significant number of clients within a high value vertical market. As you might imagine, we’re not the first and so many of our clients are already spending in directories and portals.

Some of these are expensive.

One of our clients was paying $20,000 / year for placement in one of these directories.

And they questioned the value.

So, we recommended the installation of call tracking numbers on their web site both for general web traffic and for referrals coming from this one directory site. After a few months we had the data we needed.

We developed a simple system that would automatically switch the phone numbers displayed on the site depending on the referral source. So, if a visitor arrived from this one site they saw a different number, calls from which were tracked.

To be clear, we did this on their site. Using simple PHP and Javascript we avoided mirroring their site and the only change was the phone number.
After 2 months we made a decision…

They had gotten 4-6 calls a month from referrals from that one site…

They shut it down and now have 20 K a year to put into more effective marketing.

We use call tracking numbers on a number of sites, both for general information and for comparative analysis. This however was a special case, and it was great to be able to help our customer stop wasting money.

Call tracking numbers are inexpensive and easy to set up. If we’d paid 10X as much for the numbers it would have still been worth it when we saved our client 20K.