It is widely accepted that web analytics is essential for any business that operates online. Companies need to know what?search terms people enter to get there, the advertising channel that resulted in a site visit, what sites people visit first and where they went afterwards. This insight is indispensable. So it’s?surprising few businesses apply analytics to phone calls,?despite research showing?that up to two thirds of all small businesses identify the telephone as the?most important source of clients. Perhaps it?s because the phone call is such a long established and constant communication channel for businesses that we don?t immediately recognise that there should be a similar depth of insight available for call traffic as there is for web traffic. Yet neglecting call analytics will create a blind spot for a business? broader sales and marketing efforts. After all, what happens to a firm?s web analytics data when a potential customer decides to take a phone number from an ad and simply call? By using the same telephone number in all ads in all channels, how does the business know which ad the caller saw, where they?re calling from, and how their call statistically fits into the bigger picture of phone calls the business is receiving? What businesses risk forgetting is that sales, particularly for bigger items or services, still often boil down to the telephone call. Across industries, data overwhelmingly suggests inbound calls have higher intent and a higher value per sale than most online response mechanisms. Questions bosses must ask of their analytics capabilities include whether or not they understand how people are calling their business, during what time of day customers are more likely to call, or even why they?re calling in the first place. This type of information is indispensable when it comes to allocating marketing budgets across all of the different available platforms. Call analytics also helps organisations better distribute internal resources to maximise the value of every inbound inquiry. As a simple example, property-industry data shows that more than ten per cent?of people make phone inquiries on a Saturday. However, businesses are closed or have reduced operating hours at the weekend, meaning missed business opportunities. The same data shows over?ten per cent of calls arrive between 5pm and 8pm, whereas only two per cent arrive between 8am and 9am. Of course this doesn?t apply to every single business, but these kinds of trends provide valuable insight into how modern consumers behave ? providing actionable intelligence on how to best accommodate their needs, ensure their satisfaction, and gain their loyalty. In addition to the above points, many search-based advertising campaigns drive continuous sales via the phone. Given the fact that a consumer who sees an ad, and follows up by calling a number is highly likely to save that number in their smartphone, they are also highly likely to use that same number, and that same business, for future transactions. We have seen that, if the number advertised is retained by the company, a single click can drive up to eight calls a year from the same budget. That means a much higher return on investment for marketing when it is attributed correctly and ? very importantly ? when that number is not reused by another company. If your business relies on multiple marketing channels such as Google Adwords, ads on Facebook or in online directory services, or even offline channels such as flyers or newspaper ads, it?s great to be able to track web visits by channel, but now you can easily do the same tracking and analysis of your phone data and eliminate blind spots in your business. Carl Di Cicco?is managing director of EMEA, IOVOX
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