Of course you know by now that if you are not measuring and tracking key metrics for your web site, every marketing dollar you spend on it is poorly spent. And even if you’re doing just the bare-bones level of metrics tracking, you’re sure to be measuring conversions. That is, unless you can’t. Or you can’t capture all of your conversions.
Various pages on your site, or depending on your enterprise, your site as a whole, have one or more desired actions you want your visitors to take. And in almost all cases, there is some kind of online manifestation of that desired action which can be tracked, such as filling out an online lead form.
But in many cases, one of the desired actions is for the visitor to pick up the phone and call you. Maybe your product benefits from a consultative or personalized sales process. Perhaps your customers don’t like to fill out forms. Most likely you know that if you can speak to them at the time they’re thinking about your service, you have a much better chance of completing the sale. But the problem is, most people have no way of accurately tracking which phone calls came as a result of the web site. You can ask, “How did you hear about us?”, but that won’t accurately illustrate the effect your site is having on phone calls.
You Can Track Those Inbound Phone Calls
Fortunately, there are simple solutions to this problem, and those solutions can do wonders for you. Just as in the print world, where different ads will show different phone numbers (from which call quantities can be measured), you can show a different phone number on your web site—even different numbers based on how the visitor arrived at your site.
There are several providers who can set up virtual phone numbers that will forward to your regular phone, with the capability to report metrics regarding the calls made to each number. (For information about Web Site Optimizers’ service, Call Tracking, contact us.) You can set up as many numbers as you need—either toll free or local, to be consistent with your regular number. While all numbers will terminate to whatever actual number you designate, you can then measure for each virtual number things like number of calls placed, average duration per call, number that were answered, that were busy, that went to voice mail, etc. Many services will allow you to have the calls recorded (provided you announce at the beginning that the call might be recorded for quality purposes). This way you can evaluate which calls turned into actual customers, or even evaluate the effectiveness of your representatives.
Greater Levels of Conversion Analysis
If you only need to know how many calls your site is driving, just set up one new number and always show it on your site. Your reports will soon tell you how many calls come from the site. But most services give you the ability to track on a far more granular level.
You can set up your site to dynamically display a different number based on the referring source of the visit. For example, you could set your site up to display one number if the visitor came from Google, or another number if they came from anywhere else. In most cases, you can even vary the number based on the keyword used in a search query. Sound difficult or technical? In most cases, your provider will have a simple code snippet to add to the end of your page that will handle the mysterious dynamic number display.
Fine Tune Your Marketing Spend to Increase Your ROI
Perhaps the most valuable area for Call Tracking services is with Pay Per Click and other online ad campaigns. Any PPC campaign we do at Web Site Optimizers comes with at least two Call Tracking numbers included, and additional numbers can be added on inexpensively. We had one client who manufactured and sold a variety of industrial products and spent several thousand dollars each month at Google and Bing, across a few hundred keywords. They had a very nice online store, but still, well over half of their orders came via phone calls into their call center. The conversion metrics from Google and Bing showed the online conversions that resulted from their PPC activities, but of course their inbound phone orders that came from people clicking on the ads and arriving at the web site were not being counted.
Some of this client’s product categories were doing quite well even by just the online sales, but there were three categories that would show only a handful of online orders per month. However, the CMO felt that those categories did receive a large number of phone sales, so he continued to spend a large portion of the total PPC spend on those categories each month.
We set up three virtual numbers and tied each to one of those three questionable categories. After just a few weeks, we started to have enough data to establish some pretty certain trends. One of those categories did indeed generate a lot of phone calls and completed sales. However, the other two categories generated a very small number of calls—consistent with the online conversion levels we were seeing. This allowed us to confidently cut back the high levels of spending in these two categories and distribute that to better performing categories in the PPC plan, resulting in more orders (online and offline) and a much better return on their PPC spend.
Your web site is most likely a very valuable component of your overall marketing plan, whether you are actually selling online or not. Just because you’re trying to use your site to generate more phone calls to your office doesn’t mean you need to be in the dark about how well it is performing. With more knowledge about what is and is not working on your site, you are armed with the information to set about improving it to make it even more valuable for you.