And I’d be rich if I got a quarter every time an agent asked me: “Can you believe I spent (large number of) dollars and NOT ONE PHONE CALL?”
I’d bet all those quarters that you’ve said that yourself once or twice…
So how can you really know which advertising methods generate the most phone calls?
Of course you should ask new leads how they found you, but tracking and measuring to determine true ROI with that method is easier said than done.
The answer is cheap, easy, and accurate: use call tracking numbers.
What is a Call Tracking Number?
A call tracking number is a phone number, different from your standard agency number, that you use to advertise. When people call it they’ll be redirected to your phone number without even knowing what happened.
The call tracking system keeps track of the number of calls, where they came from, when they came and how long they lasted.
If you to assign different numbers to different methods of advertising it’s easy to see exactly how many phone calls each advertising method generated.
Is it Hard to Set up a Call Tracking Number?
There are many services like the sales tracking software by Commence that offer call tracking numbers for prices that make it almost crazy not to use, considering how much the advertising itself costs.
At the bottom of this article I’ll tell you about Kall8, the company that I’ve used for years and I recommend but you can always just do a search on Google and find your own.
You can have a call tracking number ready to use in 10 minutes for under 5 bucks!
The #1 Rule for Call Tracking Numbers
Before getting into any specific ways to use call tracking for your marketing, I have to mention this:
DO NOT USE A CALL TRACKING NUMBER ONLINE!!!
But I’m all about online marketing… Why would I tell you not to use this technique online?
You never ever use a tracking number online because Google robots constantly search the web looking for business contact information. The more often they find your agency name, address, and phone number exactly the same across the internet, the more comfortable they are with showing that information to people looking for an agent and your agency will rank better.
Conversely, if they find your agency associated with several different numbers across the web, they won’t know which is the correct phone number and Google won’t want to risk giving website searchers the wrong info. You’ll get dropped to the bottom of the list.
If a tracking number is associated with your agency even on just one website, it could be picked up by others and the wrong information could spread to thousands of other sites.
(Caveat – Using tracking numbers within an image like the “01″ in the picture below is okay because Google can’t read the numbers or text inside the image. This means you can use tracking numbers for online banner ads)
5 Ways to Use Call Tracking Numbers
1) Measure Advertising ROI
Wouldn’t you like to know if you’re getting your money’s worth for newspaper ads, billboards, signs, TV commercials, park bench ads, church bulletins, and all the other things you spend money on to get your phone number in front of people in your community?
Assign a different number to each of those ad methods and you’ll have a clear idea at the end of the year exactly how many calls you got. (Just like the smooth operator in the image below ;))
(looks like call tracking helps you get more dates too!)
I know what you’re thinking…
But John – I don’t expect people to call me when they see my ad in the paper. I’m branding baby! It’s called drip marketing and I’m burning into their brain so they’ll look me up when they need insurance.
I suppose… I don’t really buy that but I guess that’s a discussion for another article….
Even if the “branding” theory is valid, shouldn’t you still get some phone calls? If you spent $6,000 to put your face on a bunch of shopping carts, is ONE PHONE CALL TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR?
Even if you don’t expect the calls to cover the cost of the advertising, wouldn’t it be nice to compare your different advertising methods against each other based on the number of calls you get from each?
Calculate a dollars per call value for each mode of advertising to determine what generates the most interaction and invest more in the higher value methods and stop throwing away money for the others.
Use this equation:
Dollars Spent / Number of Phone Calls = Cost Per Call
And spend more money on the methods with the lowest cost per call.
2) Direct Mail Measurement
Direct mail is a perfect opportunity to use call tracking numbers because (more-so than print advertising), it’s entire purpose is to elicit a response. I’ve heard all sorts of numbers, but they usually say direct mail should bring a 1-3% response rate.
How did they determine this? With call tracking numbers!
You don’t have to be a big-time insurance marketing company to use tracking numbers to determine the response rates of your direct mail pieces. Just take 10 minutes to set up the number and a month after your piece goes out, log into your call tracking account and see how many calls were generated.
3) Advertise In Other Regions
It can be hard to market to another area when you have an out-of-state or a non-local phone number. Use tracking numbers to get area codes and prefixes that match other parts of your state or the country or just go with an 800 number.
While I am a proponent of selling within your local community, the ability to sell insurance to a wider area can be a very valuable tool for the growth and survival of your agency.
Do you know any good fishermen that park their boat in one spot all day?
4) Get Easy-To-Remember Vanity Numbers
Looking for one of those cool 800 numbers that spell something?
Call tracking services like Kall8 do offer vanity numbers for an additional charge. A lot of the best ones are already taken, but you never know. I just used Kall8 to run get a list of available numbers that include the word “INSURE” and here’s a screenshot:
5) Lead Allocation
Most call tracking services give you the ability to forward your calls to different numbers based on things like time of day or location of the caller.
If you wanted to forward any calls after your agency closes to your cell number you could. You could also split calls to your different producers based on the day of the week.
If you own multiple agency locations, some tracking services even include the ability to automatically determine which agency location the call should route to based on the caller’s nearest location.
Why I use Kall8 For My Tracking Numbers.
There are a number of different services that provide call tracking numbers but I have used a company called Kall8 for the past 5 years and it has worked very well for me.
When I started in online marketing, I owned several different businesses that all needed separate phone numbers. I used call tracking numbers so every business phone would route right to my cell phone and the caller ID would tell me how to answer the phone.
What drew me to Kall8.com is the price. Currently, they charge $2 a month for an 888 number and $5 a month for an 800 or a local number. After that you pay about $.07 a minute. It was the cheapest base rate I could find and there’s no contract so it’s perfect for short-term promotions or numbers that you’re not expecting many calls from.
If you’re spending $1,000 a month on a billboard, doesn’t it make sense to pay an extra 5 bucks to see how many calls it gets you?
If you have other ideas about using Call Tracking Numbers, I’d love to hear them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Disclosure: Although I have been paid nothing to write this article, some of the links to Kall8.com are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have several years experience with Kall8 and I recommend them because they are helpful, useful, and inexpensive, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on their services unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.