You send email blasts, mail postcards once a year, promote your website, and spend hours figuring out if you can really get a lead from social. After all of that, you get some website inquiries and a bunch of calls to your business.
The question is, what activity led to that call?
Knowing the answer to that is essential to prioritizing marketing initiatives and budgeting efficiently.
Let’s say John Smith wants to buy a commercial printer for his business, so he goes online to find one and sees this ad:
Then (due to compelling copy), he picks up his phone and calls the number on the ad and ends up purchasing the printer.
The ad never got clicked, so Kevin’s Printing Co. doesn’t know that the ads produced a sale for them. They may even decide to stop using paid search ads and switch strategies completely.
Now, the sales guy could ask how John heard about Kevin’s Printing Co. which is great, but is that enough? In this case, John would likely say that he did a Google search. That narrows it down a bit, but was it from organic? Paid? The Snack Pack?
This is a reality that marketers had to deal with for many years, but that is no longer the case with call tracking technologies. Through one of the many different call tracking systems that we will explore later, marketers are now able to see what channels and campaigns led to those calls.
How Does Call Tracking Work?
Call tracking can implement several different technologies, but will generally either use static call tracking or dynamic call tracking.
Static Call Tracking
At its simplest form, the purpose of call tracking is just to understand what campaigns led to customers calling your office. This can be accomplished through static number call tracking. A different number is assigned to different campaigns (e.g. one to your mailer, one on your website, and one a billboard you bought) so that when you get calls, you are able to tell where they are coming from. This technique is limited, however. You have limited numbers available, can’t track keyword details if associated with a PPC campaign, and relies on last-click attribution which ignores the other touch points you had with customers.
Dynamic Call Tracking
You are able to get far more data with this model and can make better decisions based off that data.
Software-Specific Call Tracking
Some applications, the most popular being Google Ads, allow you to use call tracking natively within their application. While you are not able to expand this tracking capability outside of the application, this is a great first step to get a taste of the power of call tracking. Plus, it can be set up in just a few minutes.
Call Tracking Systems
Once you have decided that you want to incorporate call tracking into your marketing plan, the next decision is the hard part – picking a system. Like picking a CRM, there are many different options out there that have different feature sets with different types of businesses in mind. Let me walk you through a few to start you on your search.
The beauty of this product is in its simplicity. It is a simple and clean UI that is straight forward to use and even easier to set up. They also have a great support team should you have any questions or run into any issues. It is definitely a small business product, however, so if you are mid-market or enterprise then it may not be a perfect fit for you.
This is an immensely powerful platform and is a leader in the call tracking space with some of the best overall ratings from users, great analytics, and lots of integrations to choose from. It is built with bigger businesses in mind and has a higher pricepoint, so another solution may be better for the average small business.
One of the more affordable options out there, CallFire boasts IVR, a CRM, and an easy to navigate UI. It is easy to use, scalable, and versatile for many different industries, although they stand out it the non-profit space.
Tracking calls to your business is a big step towards better campaign optimization and overall marketing success. That being said, it can’t exist on its own. Adding a dynamic number with state-of-the-art tracking and analytics to a website with sub-par messaging is like adding a new dash camera to a broken down junker. Let’s get the car running first.
Want more help with call tracking?
If you are interested in learning more about what makes a great campaign and all the tools and strategies that are part of it, let’s talk.
Jacob is a digital marketer who takes joy in translating complexity into clarity. He has a passion for helping tech and finance companies connect with their customers. He also has a small cat.