Convert Offline – Everybody’s Doing It
March 12th, 2008 by
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.
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.
Back again, Will.
I know I was really fascinated by your explanation of this when we were chatting earlier.
Having the stats, being able to show the client where there money is going…this is extremely empowering.
Just think of all that they can do with that $20,000.00.
I’m really glad you decided to share this information, Will. You’ve been a busy guy tonight!
There are so many ways to waste money online. At least this way we can help minimize that.
The challenge of service businesses is that you’re not pushing widgets. Unless the phone rings the ads aren’t effective.
Sadly tomorrow I’ll be just as busy — writing those proposals 🙂
Great post Will.
Way beyond website analytics, call tracking is a powerfull marketing tool.
Thanks for dropping by.
For service businesses, for a deal to get done the phone rings or the door swings.
Hopefully, I won’t sound like too much of a jerk, but I don’t really get this post. You seem to be saying that you received about 60 calls on a yearly basis for $20,000 and you needed call tracking to demonstrate it was ineffective.
I would think at this extreme lack of effect would be evident in business metrics.
Thanks for your comment. And no you don’t sound like a jerk, you just point out my lack of clarity.
I’ll revise the post to make this more clear, but the point we were trying to address was “what’s the impact of this one ad placement among many”.
Among the things I didn’t say but need to are:
I hope that better explains why this was a worthwhile effort.
[…] I’ve already posted about our use of call-tracking numbers. Honestly, we want to know what’s working. Since we don’t have a directory and we’re not a one-trick pony PPC aggregator we have some latitude. We don’t have a property in which we need to outrank you. […]
Very late to the party …
Are dynamic phone numbers as effective as one or two “good” phone numbers?
For example, a “good” phone number might be defined as one that is easy to remember, like 800-200-2000 when a “less desirable” phone number might be something like 877-245-9137
During phone tracking analysis, do you skew for the impact a “less desirable” number might have on call volume? Do you even acknowledge that this is an issue?
From a practical perspective, could a website with a “good” number out-perform a “better” website with “less desirable” numbers, simply on the basis of the perceived power of the number?
I ask because in our business we believe that we did notice such an issue, and so we have stayed away from using phone tracking using dynamic numbers because our conversion rate was so much better using the “good” numbers that it overrode the value of knowing exactly where calls were coming from, re: keyword searches or ad buy sources that could be identified through the use of dynamic phone numbers.
@James Butler, Believe it or not we have never tested for that.
It’s reasonable to believe, in my opinion, that people would be more inclined to dial (and certainly to remember) a more memorable number.
All of our testing has been based on comparably “less desirable” numbers so it’s not been something for which we have a good scientific control.
It seems like the sort of thing for which one would need a 50/50 split test against exactly the same set of search phrases.
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