Roll up, roll up, folks! Allow us to present the main mystery of the marketing budget: Where should you spend your hard-earned moolah? This question has been puzzling businesses ever since the days of print-only media and continues to flummox marketing managers in this fast-paced digital age.
If you’re a business owner, you know that each passing year presents you with more options to advertise your company, while your marketing budget strains to catch up. You’re not alone. Many companies are spreading their ad campaign money really thin, over an expanding number of online and offline marketing channels.
Let’s take a quick look at some of these channels:
Offline, there’s print, radio, television, direct mailers, and outdoor advertising such as hoardings, ads on the sides of buses, or bus shelter ads. Online you have emailers, web banners, websites, and website landing pages arrived at from pay-per-click advertisements, mobile click-to-call adverts and of course social media ads.
Phew! No wonder those in charge of deciding which channels to spend their money on, are scratching their heads in confusion.
Where to spend and how much?
This dilemma of many marketers is reflected in the famous words of John Wanamaker, an American marketing pioneer, who said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” We’re sure that sounds familiar to you too.
You could of course divide your marketing budget equally among all available channels, but that’s poor strategy. Not all advertising campaigns are created equal, and not all generate the same responses. If you could only tell which campaign was performing better than the others, you would know exactly which channel to pump more money into. Read on to discover how to do just that.
Measuring digital marketing responses is easier
Let’s break down your marketing campaigns into online and offline initiatives. Among the two, measuring responses to offline advertising poses a challenge, but measuring responses to online initiatives, is very possible.
Superior analytical tools these days make it easy to figure out how many people visit your website, which pages they peruse, which pay-per-click advertisement they click on to get to your site, how many people clicked on a particular ad, what search terms are used most often, which landing page is generating the most leads and which special offers are prompting customers to fill out an online form.
So far so good, but…
What if a prospective customer sees your phone number in one of your many marketing campaigns and calls your business contact number directly to make an inquiry? You wouldn’t know if the caller saw your number online, or on a billboard, or in an emailer that you sent out. You could ask, but honestly, that’s quite annoying, so you really shouldn’t.
In such a situation, virtual numbers, and a useful little feature called ‘call tracking’ come to the rescue. It’s easy to implement, very affordable, and works like a charm to show you which campaign is generating the most leads via inbound phone calls.
Here’s how inbound phone call tracking works
Let’s assume your business has five main campaigns running simultaneously – a billboard, a web banner, an advertisement in a magazine, a click-to-call mobile advertisement, and a pay-per-click advertisement that leads to a particular landing page on the web.
All you have to do is buy five unique virtual numbers and assign each of them to a different campaign. So your billboard lists one number, your web banner lists another number and so on. Now, when someone calls a virtual number, that number gets directed automatically to a pre-selected business phone number. For example, if you operate mostly with your mobile phone, any customer who calls any of the five virtual numbers you’ve associated with your marketing campaigns, will be directed to your mobile phone.
If you implement a call tracking solution, every single call you receive is tracked, which means, you will know exactly how many customers are calling you from a particular number and which phone number is being called the most, giving you invaluable insights into which marketing campaign is generating the most responses.
So with one clean swoop, you manage to track responses to your offline advertisements and also track phone responses to your online campaigns. And since it all happens in the cloud, you don’t even have to invest in any expensive infrastructure.
But, what if you miss a customer’s call?
Don’t worry about handling a flood of incoming calls. Implementing a simple IVR solution lets you direct customers to pre-recorded information that they need, or allows callers to leave a phone number for you to call back. In short, you’ll never lose a lead.
How do you know that customers will call?
They will call! Many customers still believe in picking up the phone and getting in touch with a business representative, before deciding to make a purchase. If you don’t believe us, maybe these figures will convince you.
Research conducted by Google and Ipsos show that 94% of smartphone users have needed to call a business directly when searching for information, whether click-to-call is available or not. The motivation of 42% of those surveyed was their need to talk to a real person.
You can even integrate call tracking with your online analytics package, or with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Doing this will give you a broader picture of each customer’s purchasing history, and his or her personal preferences.
Further, adding a call recording feature (really easy to do via cloud telephony service providers), will allow you to play back mp3 files of customer conversations, to learn how to improve your interactions with them.
We’ve certainly come a long way from the days when marketing managers had a love-hate relationship with direct mailers – the only mode of communication back then that allowed exact responses to be measured.
Today, you can leverage many technological solutions to measure your campaign ROI. Working smarter than your competition, is literally a few APIs away, so what are you waiting for?