Where Do Your Phone Calls Come From?

If you do your business online and make all of your sales through your website’s shopping cart, bravo. But not everyone’s website converts that smoothly. For the non-Amazons out there, the online business presence works in conjunction with the telephone to bring in sales.

But this isn’t an article about the way that a well-organized website combined with great customer service over the phone leads to conversions and loyal customers. This happens all the time, and deserves its own article. What I’m going to discuss happens before you even pick up the phone. Someone is calling you. Do you know where they got your phone number?

Let’s go beyond the obvious “from my website” answer. Depending on how you’ve set things up and what kind of advertising you do, they could have gotten your phone number from clicking through an organic search listing, a PPC, seeing it on a business card, reading an ad in a newspaper, hearing it over the radio…the list goes on. How do you know where they got your phone number?

You may be wondering why you need to know this. It’s not good enough that they got your number through one of your marketing efforts. If you can’t create some kind of list that shows how many callers came to you as a result of each of the different ways you market your website, you have no way of knowing which of those methods is most effective at attracting callers (read: conversions and potential conversions).

Here’s the big point: if you don’t know which method is most effective at attracting conversions, you don’t know where to invest your time and money in marketing your website.

Large companies like IBM have been doing this kind of tracking for a long time. Mike Moran mentioned Big Blue’s “Call Me” button, for instance. “Instead of waiting for customers to call the phone number on the site, they allowed Web visitors to press a button on the page that gets the right person at IBM to call them within a few minutes,” he noted. Visitors liked it because they didn’t need to wait on hold or explain where they were on the site, and IBM, of course, “could track that phone call from the Web visit that caused it and they could track it through to an eventual sale.”

We aren’t all IBM. We don’t have the kind of money that can pay for this kind of technology solution. That’s okay. There are other ways to accomplish this kind of tracking. Moran mentioned an online jewelry retailer that came up with another technology-related fix. It wasn’t a “Call me” button, though. This technique looked at where the traffic was coming from, and displayed a different phone number on the website to traffic coming in via different paths. In other words, “the site would display one phone number when PPC searchers came to the site and another one when they reached the site based on SEO, for example,” Moran explained. Doing this let the jeweler track sales by tactic. Thus, they could tell which marketing tactics brought in more sales, and deserved more resources.

If you’re interested in learning more about this approach, it’s called Dynamic Number Insertion. You can Google it; Search Engine Land also offers a cogent explanation. Fortunately, the market has advanced to the point that you can find companies with Dynamic Number Insertion packages. The work’s already done for you; you don’t need to do any coding yourself. I’ve seen prices as low as $50 a month for a basic package. Isn’t it worth it to know where you should be investing your website marketing dollars?

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