Digital marketing agencies understand that technology is reshaping how companies market themselves.
They build campaigns focused on SEO, social media, online content (i.e. blogs, video, ebooks), PPC, and media/blogger relations.
As a result, digital marketing agencies are evaluated on improvements in Website visitors, leads and conversion rates — not merely ad value and media impressions as was often the case in the past.
To show their value, digital marketing agencies rely on Website analytics reporting and in many cases integrate a CRM tool — such as SugarCRM or Salesforce — to close the marketing loop and more accurately track conversions of leads to customers.
While these tools are essential for tracking new Web form leads, a 2006 comScore study commissioned by Google found that 63 percent of Website visitors completed their purchase offline. This means the source of a majority of a client’s leads may be left to question using Website analytics alone.
Additional research supports this fact: Forty-six percent of local online searchers contacted a business by telephone following their Web research (TMP Directional Marketing and comScore, summer 2009).
With so many consumers letting their fingers do the walking, digital marketing agencies must learn how to measure and analyze calls resulting from online searches. And, as nearly all consumers (97 percent) now use online media to shop (BIA/Kelsey and ConStat Survey, February 2010), tracking phone calls resulting from marketing initiatives is more imperative than at any time in history.
The Answer: Call Tracking
Phone call tracking captures source data for leads that prefer to pick up a phone rather than complete a form.
By integrating phone call data with Website analytics, agencies can see how these leads are interacting with a client’s website. Following are five reasons digital agencies should integrate call tracking into their client campaigns.
1. View the Complete Marketing Picture
Not all customers like filling out forms; they often would rather speak to a company representative by phone. Others may never visit a client’s Website at all, which often is the case for leads that found the company via print advertising or Yellow Page listings.
Consequently, it is virtually impossible to track all lead activity without some sort of call tracking solution.
With a combination of Website analytics and call tracking, each and every lead can be accounted for, providing a clear picture as to what marketing initiatives are driving new, qualified leads, and which are not.
2. Better Allocate Budgets
Nowadays, digital agencies structure marketing campaigns to include keyword optimization, social media, media/blogger relations, and both online and offline advertising.
The ability to track each initiative’s effectiveness at generating quality leads is the only way to efficiently maximize the impact of a client’s marketing budget. With an accurate understanding of lead sources, agencies can encourage them to confidently shift money toward better-performing initiatives.
3. Improve Campaign Performance
Along the same lines, seeing how all leads are entering the sales funnel can help to more accurately identify under-performing elements of a campaign. For example, which is better?
Of the 100 visitors to each page:
• Landing Page A generated 5 form completions and 10 calls
• Landing Page B generated 10 form completions and 2 calls
Without call tracking, an agency may choose to adjust Landing Page A, when in actuality it is the better-performing page.
4. Help Clients See Value
Client retention is a big focus for all digital agencies. It is far easier, and more profitable, to retain and grow existing accounts than it is to find and nurture new prospective clients. Call tracking can ensure they are not selling themselves short by only reporting a fraction of the leads they helped generate.
5. Help Corporate Marketers Better Show Their Value
In many situations, digital agencies work closely with a client’s marketing department. Depending on the organization and its leadership, marketing is constantly struggling to justify budget requests and demonstrate ROI.
By creating a closed-loop lead tracking system that shows all leads from their first interaction to becoming a customer, it becomes much easier for marketing to show their value, as well as that of the digital agency.
In addition, there may be a slight disconnect between the sales and marketing departments. Help the sales department understand the value of marketing by continually improving the lead quality and volume. By including useful details, such as Website pages viewed, calls to action taken and level of interest, the sales team can prioritize hot leads and better customize pitches.
For those digital marketing agencies using call tracking, what type of success have you seen? How has it helped your clients? Please share your experience in the comments below.