Check Your Telephone Tracking Numbers to Avoid Missing Valuable Calls
Warning: If you’ve ever switched website vendors, this post may cause your eye to nervously twitch. Many businesses use “tracking numbers” to help them identify the source of new client leads. These numbers are placed on websites, billboards, in newspaper ads and other media. When a prospective client dials that number, it rings into your normal switchboard. The advantage is the firm or practitioner can later track calls back to a specific ad, listing or source.
Generally speaking, I’m a proponent of using tracking numbers to help determine the return on investment (ROI) for marketing and advertising tools. But you’ve got to remember to keep track of your tracking numbers. Upon request, the phone company (or a vendor) assigns the numbers from a random series. When they are no longer being used, the tracking numbers are recycled and eventually get reassigned to other businesses.
I had to deliver some horrible news to a client this week. His firm moved his website from a large marketing company to a smaller boutique firm. The boutique firm simply copied the content to the new website format, updated the phone number at the top of the page and launched it. This happened almost a year ago. You already know what I’m going to say, don’t you?
The client used tracking numbers on his original website, some of which were integrated into the content on the site, not just listed at the top of the site. Once the client left the large marketing company, he lost the use of those tracking numbers (one local and one toll-free). Those were also the numbers on his Contact Us page.
The boutique firm never bothered to look for other phone numbers on the site. No one realized the need to verify all of the numbers on its new client’s site. Had that been done, the firm would have quickly realized that it needed to update the tracking numbers, or simply use the client’s main number.
There’s no way to estimate the lost revenue sustained by the client.
When I first engaged with him, he stated emphatically that his call volume was down significantly and he couldn’t figure it out. In one of those “don’t shoot the messenger situations,” I had to tell him one of his website’s contact numbers has been helping prospective clients to inadvertently call an air-conditioning repair company in an adjacent county. The toll-free number simply wasn’t in service. Did you just get a chill down your spine?
I’m proud to say that my team did in fact catch his previous vendor’s mistake. And yes, we’re also happy to be working with him as a new client.
Don’t be afraid to implement tracking numbers into your marketing and advertising campaigns. The benefits and insights far outweigh any risks. Just remember to keep track of the numbers and where they appear.
If you’ve recently changed any of your vendors or plan to use previous ad copy in a new advertisement, take a few minutes to test the phone numbers. I’d recommend you also send test emails from the new contact links. It’s helpful to note which contact link you’re using by listing it in the body of the test email. For instance: “This email is being sent from the website contact us form.” You should alter it to identify test emails sent from a specific online profile (which is different from your contact us form). After you’ve sent the emails, you’ll be able to identify any missing versions, which may indicate an incorrect email address in the contact link.
I know what you’re thinking, but these kinds of issues do happen. Don’t assume your vendor is handling it. Take a few minutes to audit all of the phone numbers on your website. Ignoring this simple task can have a devastating impact on your business.
If you’d like to discuss your business challenges, I’d be happy to meet with you. I consult with clients about marketing & sales, business development, vendor issues, internal-process improvement and related topics. My correct phone number is (502) 208-9639.