Slamdot and Call Tracking: Local agency marketing, done right

As any small business owner can tell you, the fewer vendors and moving parts you have to deal with, the better. You already have to keep track of a budget, personnel, and a near-infinite array of smaller, day-to-day business decisions. Coordinating with an external vendor is one more headache that most businesses just don’t have time for.

Slamdot, a Knoxville-based digital marketing agency, has taken this lesson to heart. Founded almost 13 years ago, the firm prides itself in providing enterprise-level service to all of its clients, from the biggest franchises to the smallest mom-and-pop shops.

In addition to the standard digital marketing suite of SEO, PPC, ad retargeting, and social media management, Slamdot goes the extra mile and offers its clients hosting and web design services as well.

“That way, they don’t have to go through a middleman or a different vendor if they run into any problems — they can come right to us,” explains Daniel Monday, COO of Slamdot. “We find that it really builds a great deal of trust in the client, because they know that we can handle everything and they don’t have to go anywhere else. If they have any hosting or server-side problems, we can handle that directly.”

Most of Slamdot’s clients are local to Tennessee’s Knox County, or the surrounding region. However, they also have a handful of customers from across the continental US, which is a special point of pride for an agency that specializes in local search — it proves that their work is so effective, it can be replicated anywhere else across the country, or even the world.

“Eventually, we plan to grow that big,” Monday says with a chuckle. “One day at a time, though.”

He continues: “Ultimately, our mission is to bring the quality of service you’d normally get at a big-name agency to even our smallest clients. And call tracking is very important to that mission, because it lets us tie the value of our work to a specific campaign, and prove how we’re having an effect bringing in new leads, and converting leads into customers.”

And they’ve got plenty of reasons to feel good about the effectiveness of their approach — clients regularly report a solid increase in leads and revenue thanks to Slamdot’s work. In one case, a client even experienced a 60 percent year-over-year increase in call volume thanks to the campaigns Slamdot was running.

Agency Marketer's Guide to Client Retention

Without call tracking, your business is flying blind

After more than a decade in business, the Slamdot team has developed an intuitive grasp of just how effective online advertising can be. After dabbling in digital for a few years, they made the strategic decision to go full-steam, and shifted their focus to digital marketing, web design, and related services.

But as they made the switch, they found that one old-school marketing channel was still critical to their clients’ businesses: Phone calls.

As is the case in most metro areas, phones are still one of the main drivers of new leads and customers for Knoxville’s businesses. And while Slamdot always appreciated the value of phone calls in driving revenue for their clients, the lack of a comprehensive way to track and analyze calls meant that phones never really got the attention they deserved.

That all changed three years ago, when Slamdot discovered CallRail. After a few hours of hands-on time with a personalized demo of the platform (courtesy of CallRail’s stellar Customer Success team), they were immediately impressed by the rich feature set, clean interface, ease-of-use, and the plethora of valuable data they were able to collect. It didn’t take long convincing the rest of the Slamdot team to join up with CallRail.

“I tell our clients all the time — without call tracking, we’re basically flying blind when we run a campaign,” says Micah Brookshear, search strategist at Slamdot. “For most of our clients, phone calls are a big component of the marketing funnel, because it’s one of the main ways to either bring in new leads, or convert an existing lead into a customer. Without CallRail, we’d be very limited in judging the performance of the campaigns we’re running”

A full-spectrum approach to digital marketing

Much like the full-service approach they offer their clients, Slamdot takes a similarly granular and concentrated look at the data that informs their marketing efforts. And with CallRail as a core component of their stack, they’ve got plenty of data to pore over.

Thanks to the Visitor Tracking and Automation Rules features, the Slamdot team is able to zero in on the search keywords that are driving the most calls, or the specific phrases that are appearing most frequently in inbound calls.

Even better, the automation features of CallRail’s suite of Conversation Intelligence tools has allowed them to save dozens of work-hours each week tagging and identifying calls — a big win for a small agency like Slamdot.

Another feature that has delivered serious value for both Slamdot and their clients is Call Recording. While the nitty-gritty of search keywords and campaign sources helps illuminate the quantitative side of the equation, Call Recording is the critical feature that underpins the qualitative side of the work they do.

“The subjects people are calling about, or identifying patterns or problems that appear across multiple calls — that type of thing is where call recording comes in handy,” Monday explains, adding that in many cases, they’ve seen how Call Recording alone has made a serious impact on a client’s bottom line.

By empowering their clients with both quantitative analytics and qualitative assessments of how their phone staff is performing, Slamdot achieves a full-spectrum view of the sales funnel. That way, they can see at a glance where the funnel needs to be tweaked or improved to ensure they’re driving and converting as many leads as possible.

“And that’s the great thing about call tracking: Analytics are maybe the most obvious use for this technology, but there are also a whole range of other uses,” Monday says. “It can bring serious value to your business, or help correct problems that you didn’t even know existed. That’s how we like to frame things for our clients when we explain call tracking, and they’re always excited to use it once we explain the benefits.”

Slamdot is a CallRail Platinum Agency Partner. Agencies that join the Partner Program are eligible for co-marketing benefits like this, along with webinars and guest posts. Interested in joining the Partner Program? Sign up here.

Agency tools that build long-haul client relationships

Fortunately for Slamdot, they’ve found their clients need very little convincing to sign up for call tracking services. Once businesses see all the benefits that call tracking can bring, they don’t need much more prompting from the Slamdot team.

“We’ve had clients who think they don’t need call tracking because they think they don’t get many phone calls,” Brookshear says. “And every single time, without exception, once we setup call tracking for them, they see that they’re getting a lot more calls than they think they are.”

It’s a story they hear time and again from their clients: They don’t even know that they’re missing calls in the first place because they’re not using call tracking. Oftentimes, showing them how many calls they’re missing motivates clients to sign up with Slamdot right away.

“You might only get one sales call that month, but for a small business, that one call could be your best client of all time,” Brookshear says. “And if you’re not tracking your calls, you’re gonna miss out entirely.”

In one case, they were able to prove that point to a client quite dramatically. They had been running a great marketing campaign for the client for the better part of a year, but the client needed to pause it because of budget and staff changes.

Later, when the client came back around to resume the campaign, they were shocked at the analytics they were seeing: Slamdot’s campaign had resulted in a 60 percent year-over-year increase in call volume.

“Seeing their eyes light up like a Christmas tree when we showed them those call figures is something I’ll never forget,” Monday says with a laugh. “And even more importantly, they were able to match up those calls with the conversions that took place and the products or services the customer bought, which shows the tremendous impact we were having in terms of revenue.”

He adds: “They were so impressed that they actually left the other agency they were working with, and came back to work exclusively with us, which I’ve almost never seen happen before. That client is still with us two years later, which speaks highly of the work we do, but also of the value that CallRail brings to our business.”

Successes like this have engendered serious loyalty among their clients, helping Slamdot achieve a stellar client retention rate. While digital marketing tends to be an industry notorious for comparison-shopping and churn, Slamdot’s full-service approach and careful attention to detail has resulted in an astonishing average client retention rate of two years.

“Most of our clients are small businesses, so we really have to pay careful attention to even the smallest detail,” Brookshear says. “When you’re a small business, one call can make the difference between a good month and a bad month, or even a good quarter and a bad one. So you really have to take advantage of every single opportunity you can, and the level of reporting provided by CallRail lets us make sure we don’t miss a thing.”