Practical Ecommerce

Sluggish Sales? Consider Adding Additional 800 Numbers

As much people love the web, there are always those who prefer to use the phone number on the site to inquire about company’s products and services. An important question to consider is how accurately are you accounting for phone sales when planning your ad budget? What follows are several simple ways for small business owners to figure out which traffic source generates the most phone calls.

Adding A Second 800 Number

If you’re just testing a new traffic source and want to accurately track the results, simply get another 800 number from your current phone provider to be placed on a page designed for a specific ad campaign. Everything else should remain unchanged — just change the phone number. Subsequently, when you’ll get your monthly bill, you’ll know exactly the number of phone calls generated. This is a great method to test “natural” vs. pay-per-click traffic.

Multiple 800 Numbers

Two or more 800 numbers are an excellent way if you’re running multiple campaigns and cannot afford to wait for your next month’s phone bill to figure out the results, there are companies out there that can help. For example, CallSource is able to provide you with multiple 800 numbers, up-to-date call length reporting and call recording. In order to tests multiple 800 numbers, simply create multiple pages with the same content, but different 800 numbers. Essentially, you would be looking at your phone activity as it happens, which can aid in making the best marketing budget allocation decisions. Two or more 800 numbers is excellent way to test “natural” vs. specific pay-per-click search engines (Ex.: Google AdWords vs. Yahoo! Search Marketing vs. Ask.com)

As a note, if you don’t want to deal with swapping the numbers, ask your IT team to create a simple script identifying traffic source based on the tag appended to the URL (Ex.: www.example.com?source=GooglePPC or www.example.com?source=PressRelease) and have the script swap the numbers you have purchased automatically. Make sure that you have a default number, though, in case the user comes in through “natural” sources.

Advanced Pay-Per-Click Reporting

If you’re spending over $10,000 in pay-per-click it might be worth investing into a system that will accurately report keywords that generated the call. It’s called ClickPath, and the beauty of the system is that it allows you to connect specific keyword phrases in your campaigns to a specific phone call. It works through a pool of numbers assigned to your account that are being circulated as traffic pours in. It is great for identifying keywords in the account that are not generating revenue/leads online but might be generating calls (It is not uncommon to find that broad keywords that are underperforming according to online metrics are not actually doing that bad once the phone calls are factored in). Advanced pay-per-click reporting is great way to test broad (general) keywords in pay-per-click.

There are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First, regardless of the option you would want to explore, make sure to calculate your calls-to-conversions ratio (if you’re an ecommerce store) or consider phone lead quality (if you’re a lead-generation site). Additionally, if the data tells you that answering phones just drains employee resources or happens to produce low quality leads, don’t hesitate to remove the phone number from the site.

Online success is typically all about testing. With phone call tracking, your resulting reports will be much more accurate

Greg Laptevsky

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  1. Legacy User July 31, 2007 Reply

    I have spoken with clients and they mention that people are more apt to call an 800 number with small questions already answered on the site and my client also mentioned with cell phones so big now that most people were calling her on their cell phone, thus using their minutes AND costing her money.

    How do others stand on this? I took my toll free number off of my site and didn't notice a big change in call in orders.

    — *Justin*

  2. Legacy User July 31, 2007 Reply

    I recently changed my site contact number to an 800 number and have seen an increase in the volume of calls, but I think that's a good thing. Yes, some customers call inquiring about something already answered on the site, but I think those are the same customers that would navigate to another site if there was not an 800 number. Plus, when they call, it is another opportunity to make the sell or even upsell. All in all, I think it is worth the cost.

    — *Wes Grasty*

  3. Legacy User August 1, 2007 Reply

    Can you share some 800 number providers?

    — *Ruth*

  4. Legacy User August 2, 2007 Reply

    Ruth,

    There a lot of companies out there – each one fills a specific market niche. Couple that I've dealt with directly are CallSource, GotVmail, Angel.

    In some cases, however, using your existing phone service provider might prove to be the easiest/cheapest solution.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    — *Greg*

  5. Legacy User August 12, 2007 Reply

    Ruth,

    Also check out http://www.ureach.com. They've got some good 800 plans too.

    Thanks,
    Wes
    http://www.wesgrasty.com

    — *Wes Grasty*

  6. Legacy User October 16, 2007 Reply

    You can also check out Planet Telecom. They offer very reasonable solutions for small businesses. There website is http://www.planettele.com.

    — *Andy*

  7. Legacy User October 24, 2007 Reply

    Having multiple toll free numbers doesn't really cost you any more since you pay for the number of incoming minutes not the number of lines you have. So splitting up the minutes over multiple numbers doesn't raise the total number of mintes, but it can give you extremely valuable information.

    You can use fancy services that help to track things in real time, but they do cost a little more per minute. Any regular phone company will give you a bill with every call, the calling phone number (which can be very valuable in terms of leads) the length and time of the call and the city and state the number is located in. This information becomes more and more valuable the more you segment and seperate the calls.

    If you set up different numbers for each different campaign, you'll know more about what those callers were interested in, not to mention how well that campaign is doing. The cost of the incoming calls is nothing compared to the cost of generating them and the value of those leads.

    Many callers just want to know if you're real, and willing to help them if they have any problems before they spend their money. If they can't reach you before they spend money with you, they probably won't be able to afterwards if they have a problem. So callers will ask questions that are answered on the website, but they really just wanted a little assurace which is very easy to provide if you keep that in mind when they ask what seems like dumb questions.

    I don't mean to be self promoting but if you want to find an even better number with the name of your product or website in it, try our lookup tools at TollFreeNumbers.com. We're basically the GoDaddy of the phone number business, and can find and activate good vanity numbers much faster and easier than anyone else anywhere. You can even find a series of similar numbers so people won't realize it's a different number than the main website.

    I hope that helps!

    Bill Quimby
    1-800 MARKETER
    http://www.TollFreeNumbers.com

    — *Bill Quimby*

  8. PhonePeople May 12, 2009 Reply

    PhonePeople.com offers affordable toll free service. Our website offers a direct connection to the national database to search for available toll free numbers to use with your service. Monthly plans start at under $10/month or get unlimited toll free for only $99/month. <a href="http://www.phonepeople.com>800 Numbers & Toll Free Service</a>