What is Call Tracking and Why is It Important?
“Purchasing call tracking numbers can add up and I need to save on costs where I can.”
“I live in a small town where everyone already knows my main business number.”
“I know how my customers find me because I always make a point to ask when I receive calls.”
These are some common objections and misconceptions we often hear associated with call tracking and the use of call tracking numbers. The idea of call tracking tends to carry a negative connotation as it is an added expense, it goes against the concept of “brand consistency”, and it’s just one more thing to manage. Yes – call tracking does have monthly and per call fees, but the cost is so minimal in which the benefits and cost savings in the end greatly outweighs. Yes – it does go against “brand consistency”, but call tracking is for acquiring new customers through acquisition marketing; customers are not already familiar with your main business number and therefore, consistency in this case becomes obsolete. Yes – it is more phone numbers to manage, but if your using the right platform you’ll have access to call logs, cost per call data, and other information that cannot be derived from a conversation with the customer. The reality is, if you’re not using call tracking, you could be missing out on some pivotal data that will lead to marketing success or failure. Depending on your marketing strategy and goals, call tracking should serve as a tool to help gauge performance, manage, and boost your marketing initiatives by understanding the most effective way to spend your marketing dollars. Here’s what you need to know about call tracking and why it is so important.
What is Call Tracking?
Call tracking is a unique local or toll-free number used on marketing campaigns for tracking incoming calls and understanding the performance and ROI of those campaigns. If you’re an established business in your local area with a “shop local” mentality, consider using a call tracking number local to your area. This will help with maintaining trust and the small-town feel to potential customers who are devoted to shopping local and supporting their community. If you desire to have a larger and more national appearance, opt for a toll-free number which does not pinpoint or limit you to a specific area. Call tracking numbers, local or toll-free, can be setup to forward to any number, typically the main business line, so it does not impact how incoming calls are received for a seamless experience for your staff.
Why is it Important?
When using a variety of unique call tracking numbers across multiple campaigns, the data should assist you in making decisions to continue running, increase spend, or discontinue running existing campaigns, by tracking leads to a singular source and through cost per call (CPC) data.
Call tracking allows you to:
- Link the number of calls to a specific campaign
- Access call logs and call recordings
- Calculate CPC to determine campaign effectiveness
- Measure your expenses and gains for a more accurate ROI
- Optimize your budget and spend to favor successful campaigns
Reporting and Analytics
CPC is the metric calculated by dividing the total spend of your campaign by the total number of calls received over a given time. For example, I spent $1,000 on a Direct Mailer and received 100 calls – my CPC is $100 ($1,000 spend / 100 calls). For an even more accurate performance metric, use unique cost per call to remove repeat callers; total spend divided by total unique calls. CPC is important to understanding how much you are spending to acquire new leads and calls that subsequently can be turned into conversions from that campaign.
In addition to CPC and unique CPC, with access to calls logs and recordings you can analyze caller type (prospect, non-prospect, wrong number, repeat caller, etc.), call results (sale, service issue, unanswered, etc.), and call volume (by day of week, time of day, and duration) to identify trends, missed opportunities, and staffing opportunities.
Call Tracking Best Practices
Attributing a call tracking number to a single tactic or using a single call tracking number across a multi-tactic campaign can influence the level in which data is being collected and reported. If you wish to view data on a more granular and per tactic basis, it is best practices to use a unique call tracking number per tactic. If you are only interested in seeing performance overall for a multi-tactic campaign, one call tracking number can be used across all tactics; however, this will inhibit your ability to view data on a per tactic bases and gain insight into which tactics may be performing or underperforming.
To avoid unwanted fees, call tracking numbers can be expired or recycled once they are no longer receiving calls. Before deciding to do this, consider any calls that may trickle in even months after the campaign has ended from customers that hold onto to the ad, direct mail piece, or phone number for some time before deciding to call. You want to ensure that the number is still active and accessible for these late callers or you could be losing business. It is recommended to keep the number active for at least several months after a campaign has ended, along with monitoring the call volume before deciding to expire or recycle the number.
In summary, if you want more concrete data to support the performance of your campaigns and better understand where you should be allocating your marketing budget, call tracking is worth considering.