Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Make the Right Call with Call Tracking

Call tracking is a tool used to track offline conversions from pay-per-click campaigns. Even if you’ve shied away from SEA because of a seemingly low ROI or you’re an advertiser looking for another way of tracking the success of your online campaign, call tracking may be the answer you need.

Imagine if half of your conversions created by search engine advertising (SEA) resulted in a purchase over the phone, instead of online. If your company wasn’t tracking these offline conversions, how could you be sure which keywords are best converting into offline sales?

Not only would you have a difficult time managing your search engine marketing campaigns, your return-on-investment (ROI) figures would look dramatically lower than they should. This misleading data could have a profound impact on how your company approaches its campaign strategy and may result in missteps that hurt your sales.

Is Call Tracking for You?

It’s a fact that, of all the purchasing research done online, less than half of all orders are placed over the Internet. According to a 2006 research study by comScore Networks, 25% of searchers purchased an item directly related to their query. Of those buyers, a whopping 63% made their purchase offline. This means in order to track the effectiveness of your SEA campaigns in turning searchers into buyers, you need another method for tracking the customers who place orders by phone.

How Call Tracking Works

Call tracking makes SEA more quantifiable. With call tracking, you not only get the conversion tracking results, but a transcript of what happened during the call, so you can see what worked, what didn’t, and where the marketing message needs to be honed to streamline the telesales.

To start measuring calls, a call tracking code must be pasted on the landing page of your website. When a visitor clicks on the “Call me” phone icon and enters the phone number, the service company directs the visitor’s call to your phone center. Within a few seconds, the phone rings and connects you with the visitor. Your sales representative can access a screen at any time, with all the information about your customer already collected. The call tracking service then captures the call details and reports it in the interface.

Some great features of call tracking include call routing, call disposition, and the ability to review fraud. Call routing allows different searches to lead to different groups of your sales team. Not only will the search query lead the person to the appropriate product page, he or she will be connected directly to the product’s sales rep via a toll-free number. Call disposition allows the sales rep to report the results of the call at the click of a button, and the fraud feature allows you to use the referring URL to determine if a conversion is real or not.

Call tracking places a high value to your inbound calls, helps you measure your ROI for SEA more effectively, and allows your company to record calls so you can better evaluate your sales team. If you’ve made the decision to invest money in SEA, adding call tracking as a simple, cost-effective performance monitoring effort is an important next step.

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