Phone calls are vital to your business. They are likely the point of contact closest to making a sale, and for many types of purchases, people simply won’t spend money if they can’t get someone on the phone. For these types of purchases, if you’re not call tracking, you’re not tracking at all. And if you can’t demonstrate results for your marketing team, questions will start to be asked.

Call tracking is a marketing tool for businesses that ensures you can demonstrate your marketing efforts are paying off. It can give you hard ROI figures to present to your team and company, while behind the scenes it give you the hard data you need to keep improving those numbers.

Call tracking and marketing fit hand in hand, and here are some of the best ways to use call tracking to your benefit as a member of the marketing team.

Track Multichannel Campaigns

Like most companies, your marketing team probably isn’t content doing just one type of advertising. You want to reach your clients wherever they are: in their homes, at work, in their cars—everywhere. And that kind of reach means using more than one type of advertising.

But if your phone is ringing, how are you going to know if it’s your billboard or your website driving the business? Psychologically, fellow colleagues are more likely to assume it’s the billboard if they see it every day on their own drive into work, and it’s only hard data that’s going to show otherwise. The only way you can get hard data comparing the two is if you’re tracking calls coming from each.

You can show search rankings and page clicks until you’re blue in the face, but if your team thinks it’s the billboard that’s making the phone ring, you won’t convince them otherwise. But if you can show them which calls are coming from the website and which are coming from offline marketing efforts like billboards or direct mail campaigns, you can really help your teams understand the winning strategy.

Better Testing for Campaigns

But what if it really is the billboard that’s making the phone ring, and not the website? Then you need to find out why, and the only way to do that is to test. Try one thing. Try another. And keep trying until you’ve pinned down what really works.

But how do you know what really works if you’re not measuring phone calls? You can’t. That’s what makes call tracking vital to your testing efforts. Being able to track both online form completions and phone calls will really improve your testing.

Real-Time Data and Responses

One of the scary things about the testing process is that if you pick the wrong strategy, it can really make leads tank. And that’s real money lost for your company, which can sometimes lead to the loss of other assets, like certain marketing positions.

But one of the benefits of call tracking in marketing is that it helps you watch your campaigns in real time. If a certain online campaign is doing real harm to your efforts, you can identify it right away and pull the plug before too much damage is done.

And the same thing goes for when you stumble onto a really successful strategy: you can divert more resources to the winning campaign as soon as you identify it.

Keyword Level Tracking

There’s a lot of data about what people are searching, but a lot less data about why they’re searching it. In particular, there’s very little data about how searchers who reach your site will behave once they get there. Some of them are just coming for information. Some might want to ask a simple question, and others will be interested in becoming customers.

Call tracking with keyword level tracking answers these questions. When someone reaches a website from a particular keyword search, they are shown a special telephone number, one that links that visitor to their search and to their phone call. That way you know which keywords are worth competing for and which ones are best not to spend the time and resources on.

Comparing PPC and Organic SEO

We’ve previously stressed the need to compare online and offline advertising campaigns on a level playing field. Well, the same is true for different methods of online advertising. It’s important for you to know whether pay-per-click (PPC) and organic search engine optimization (SEO) are pulling their weight.

It’s very easy to get this kind of data for PPC campaigns, but in the past this was a lot harder to do for SEO campaigns. This meant that SEO often wasn’t given enough credit or it was just let slide because it was believed that it was working. But keyword level tracking eliminates that uncertainty—you can know just as much about the effectiveness of organic SEO campaigns as you know about Google Adwords and other PPC campaigns.

Multi Source Attribution

If you are running multiple campaigns for your company, you want to make sure you’re getting credit for all the leads you’re bringing in, not just the ones that fill out a contact form. You want to demonstrate the leads you brought in with PPC–both search and banner ads–, organic SEO, and offline campaigns, such as TV, radio, and print.

Multisource attribution ensures that every report you give your bosses can glow with the full measure of business your team brought in, not just part of it.

Help Your Business Improve Call Intake

But what if the data shows that you are doing your part, but your sales team just isn’t landing the inbound calls? Rather than throw up your hands, call tracking can be combined with many features that can dramatically improve the conversion rate of inbound calls which makes it a business marketing tool that can’t be skipped.

Call recording is a basic feature that allows others to listen to the calls and understand why the prospects aren’t being converted. This can in turn help improve your bottom line. Your company will be bringing in more business from the same number of calls, and that in turn will help you look better, too. Now, instead of just bringing in prospects, you’re bringing in business.

Prospect intelligence is another feature that you can add to any call tracking campaign. This allows you to give intake personnel intelligence they need to anticipate why a prospect is calling. The most common method used is a whisper message that tells your inbound staff information about the caller seconds before your staff answers the phone.

Call management can be used to send calls to specific people within the organization, based on many factors. At its simplest, it can be used to make sure calls reach you even when your office has been relocated to the worksite or at home at the end of the day. But linking calls to keyword searches allows you to funnel callers to the people most likely to be able to help them. This improves customer service and conversion rates.

Show That Marketing Helps Maintain Business

Smart marketers know that bringing in new business is only a fraction of the impact of marketing. Quality marketing, especially brand marketing is focused not just on bringing in new business, but to maintaining old business as well.

Call tracking helps with understanding of all the reasons why people are calling, whether they’re new customers or old. It can be integrated with many types of client relationship management (CRM) software to track all the things that influence people who choose a business repeatedly. This means that you won’t have to provide a separate report or spend time consolidating data from different places—call tracking integrates with everything you’re already doing.

Win the Blame Game

You never really want to play the blame game within your company, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. When there’s bad news on the spreadsheets, the management team is going to look for teams to hold responsible. Good, hard data allows you to show that it wasn’t the marketing team that dropped the ball. Instead, you can show when it was a competing company or the intake staff, as applicable.

And, of course, reporting quality data regularly can help you avoid the blame game. If you’re constantly showing data demonstrating the effectiveness of your efforts, you’ll never have to play the blame game—your company already knows that the marketing team is valuable.

Genuine ROI Data

By linking each call to a keyword search, PPC campaign, or offline marketing channel, you finally have the ability to provide a full account of your activities. This means that you are able to provide ROI data that is not approximate and not estimated—it’s exact.

This exact ROI data will give your bosses the clear picture they need to see why your marketing plans are such a good investment. And you’ll be able to show improvement month-on-month through your own refinements in the marketing process as a result of your testing.

Use Business Marketing Tools that will Provide what you Need

Management teams these days understand that the data is out there, and that there are ways to know exactly how well their advertising campaigns are doing. There isn’t a lot of patience for marketers who ask them to “just trust us.” You can’t claim an effective campaign if you’re not able to definitively link your campaign to true business leads.

Because here’s the thing: with call tracking as part of your marketing strategy, it is possible to give a complete account of your activities. How long do you think your bosses are going to choose a “just trust us” attitude over true, verifiable data?

Use Call Tracking to Win the Future

For a while, it seemed like the rise of Internet shopping was going to eclipse the importance of phone calls and phone tracking, but now phone calls are more important than ever, thanks to the smartphone revolution. Combining the ability to provide in-depth Internet research with the ability to follow up on that research with a phone call at any time from any place has really changed the way people shop.

Your marketing efforts need to be sensitive to the current trends, but also need to be responsive to the trends that develop in the future. And in order to be responsive, you need to have all the data from all your campaigns. Seeing this data in real time will tell you exactly when a campaign changes from leading edge to old hat. It allows you to adjust your marketing efforts on the fly and never be the last to know about the latest marketing trends that really work.

Call tracking takes your marketing out of the past and into the future. Take your first step into the future by learning all the things that call tracking can do for your marketing efforts.