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How to Avoid Caller ID Catastrophe: The Definitive Guide to Call Tracking

Having your phone ring is our number one priority at Service Inbound – and our sister company, AdMachines! We center our focus around getting your local customers to call you from marketing and advertising strategies that range from print to paid search.

The power of a phone call is not to be underestimated. A phone call to our clients means money, opportunity, and business. Since technology today has made a phone call possible without even touching a screen or pressing a button, being able to keep up is the second priority to being able to measure the success of our efforts. Our culture has simplified and streamlined sales and information so fast that ease of use – convenience – and speed are some of the highest percentages when measuring why a customer can choose you.

OK, so what is call tracking?

Call tracking is a way for you to measure the different avenues of your marketing and advertising efforts.

This coded technology allows a “mask” number to lay over or appear as your phone number on the web. It can be assigned down to the page URL, a particular zip code, or a radius around a business.  Behind the scenes, that mask number is directed to a destination line, also referred to as your “base” line or “main line”. That same behind-the-scenes switching is then able to track data that is very valuable to your company. Along with the source of the marketing, call tracking is able to:

Along with the source of the marketing, call tracking is able to:

 

Tell you what source the call came from

 

 

Report the time & duration of your call

 

 

Record the conversation for evaluation

 

 

Call tracking is not just for web use. Say you’ve got print campaigns or email blasts going out. Assigning a tracking line to each outlet will tell you how many leads or customers you gained from that particular effort.

If you are already using platforms that don’t provide a mechanism to tell you how many calls or which callers converted into customers for you, then it may be worth considering a designated tracking line. Assigning a call tracking line allows you to get on with booking leads without worrying about capturing the data to tell you what sources are working the best to produce qualified customers.

 

Antiquated Methods

Several advertising techniques surrounding phone numbers are now considered outdated, but were previously the most effective way to ensure your customer base knew about you – and knew how to contact you!

Remember the phone book? Here’s a fun fact for you: Home service companies historically started with the letter “A” because it gave them better placement in the phone book! Readers were more likely to go to the beginning of the alphabet once they got to the section of the book they were looking for, like when they needed a plumber. It was lucrative to be an A-named company more than any other letter!

The power of remembering a phone number used to be the most important aspect of a company’s marketing. One can probably be recited or sung from common jingles – can you think of one? There’s a carpet cleaning company I’m singing the jingle to as I write this. While this is considered annoying now, it has etched its way into my brain.

Am I promoting that you go out and hire someone to hard wire people’s brains to think of you with a jingle? Absolutely not. But that’s definitely an old school method to get people picking up the phone. If you used other phone numbers for the website and other advertising avenues, you’d know when people called “The Jingle Line”, that it was from your exposure with the song!

General Rules & Guidelines

 

Numbers that start with 1-800 are no longer the gold standard – they’re actually more likely to be labeled as spam or make a caller question if there are fees or additional costs to call you.

 

Local area codes mean a lot. This translates to “this company is close to me and therefore able to solve my problem quickly”. People are not so worried about the exact phone number they’re calling as long as it’s local and gets them to the right company.

 

Tracking lines are reusable. Say you put a tracking line on an email blast last year or you have another tracking line that hasn’t had traffic in a month or two? No need to pay or subscribe to a new one – just make a note of when and where you’ve applied the tracking number so you can know if recent traffic is from a newer campaign.

 

It’s important to remember that very few people save a business phone number into their contacts anymore – at least until they’ve used your service and want to keep their access to your contact. Caller ID or your Recent Call Log on your cell phone has them covered if they need to call you back immediately. However, it’s definitely worth a suggestion to your customers to save your Main Line to their cell phone as a leave-behind after a successful appointment – particularly if you offer emergency service! Saving a number is a great way to get your customers calling you again and again – and you’ll know they’re a repeat because they’ll already be in your database.

Secure your lines. If you invest in call tracking, it’s important to use a reputable company that doesn’t put you at risk for call hawking, errors, frequent issues, or connection issues. You should also make note of your call tracking agreements, so you don’t accidentally lose your call tracking lines after a certain deadline.

Call Tracking & SEO

It is not uncommon to have our clients wonder if call tracking will influence their SEO.  And yes, having tracking lines can be worrisome to some business owners if they believe customers write down or keep a tracking line that they may not own permanently. But during citation cleanup, we work to make sure everything across the web is uniform and matches the Google listing, primarily your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP data). So how does that factor in?

Typically, having a few avenues with varying phone numbers is no problem – as long as all of them still point to your business! It’s important to keep a record and update phone numbers. Find ways to get those digits redirected to the base line if they are sending your customers to a dead end or an old line. But let’s say you’ve signed on with a popular company for an advertising package or have set up an enhanced profile to see about generating leads from reputable sources. This is the perfect example of how you may not appear completely uniform across the web. And bigger companies like Yelp, Angie’s List, or Home Advisor (who recently agreed to a merger – read about that here), are some of the sites where you’d want to follow your traffic. In-house, our policy is that if the address, website, and business name are all the same, the tracking lines can stay.

Landing pages are commonly linked as the source behind paid search ads, where call tracking is prevalent. To minimize the interference from these pages, they are frequently “unlisted” or “deindexed”, meaning Google is told not to search them for their content. So while you may employ a different tracking line each for “plumbing”, “heating”, or “cooling” – they won’t be found by databases or websites and lead to confusion down the line.

 

Track Your Calls, Track Your ROI

In short, call tracking allows you to track and measure your spend and effectiveness across many advertising platforms. You can compare and contrast your services, your print vs. digital media, those billboards on the side of the highway, or your email marketing! In addition, with the recordings available to you, you can assess quality of leads or identify conversion issues. Call tracking is an incredible tool to implement in your business so you can see how much money is coming in from a multitude of sources.

 

Call Service Inbound today to let us show you how we use call tracking for organic rankings, paid search traffic, web conversion, and digital marketing!

About the Author: Lauren Donahoo