• May 1, 2016
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Stimulate Lead Volume by at Least 10 Percent with Click-to-Call

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Nearly two thirds of all Americans now own smartphones, and for the first time last year, the number of searches conducted on mobile devices overtook desktop searches. In light of those facts, businesses that don’t incorporate click-to-call capabilities into their search advertising could be missing out on a lot of untapped revenue potential, Forrester Research concluded in a recent report.

In the research report, “Capture Customers with Click-to-Call,” Forrester analysts concluded that businesses with click-to-call ads can expect at least a 10 percent increase in lead volume.

Invoca, a provider of call tracking and analytics, says the percentage can be even higher, citing some customers that have seen as much as a 56 percent increase in call volume over a six-month period.

Using Google Mobile Search Ads that incorporated click-to-call and location extensions, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, for example, was able to increase its mobile bookings and mobile-paid-search return on investment by 20 percent and its mobile site traffic by 200 percent.

Starwood isn’t alone. According to Forrester’s data, mobile searches generated 30 billion calls to businesses globally in 2013 alone, and those numbers are expected to continue to grow every year through at least 2018, when analysts predict 73 billion calls to originate from mobile searches.

Beyond that, mobile search advertising and click-to-call is still very new and not widely adopted yet, so businesses that implement it have a real opportunity to differentiate themselves, according to Collin Colbert, a Forrester researcher and author of the report.

“It’s a really good way to attract customers,” he says.

As an added benefit, Colbert notes that with new call tracking tools from Invoca, Marchex, and DialogTech—which he identified as the leading vendors in the market—companies can gain insight into caller motivation, sentiment, and call outcomes to help shape future marketing, product, and pricing decisions. They can also see when people call, what keywords generated the most calls, and even the types of devices and platforms callers are using. This is information that can help other marketing channels as well, according to Colbert.

Companies also stand to gain greater insight into how consumers search for and find their businesses based on the types of keywords used in their searches. Colbert recommends that businesses study their call center data to uncover the most common queries, do linguistic analysis of onsite search queries, and monitor competitor keyword selection with competitive intelligence platforms from Adgooroo or The Search Monitor.

Because so much data is available, Colbert strongly urges companies to work with a call tracking vendor. Without one, getting the full value of the data “would be difficult to do,” he says.

Google, Colbert says, is by far the most advanced search engine provider when it comes to click-to-call capabilities and promises the greatest reach of all media outlets. The company offers two click-to-call ad types: call extension ads that drive landing page visits and direct phone calls, and call-only ads that initiate phone calls through the ad text or “call now” buttons.

Microsoft, with its Bing search service, and Yahoo! have yet to build click-to-call into their engines. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter offer “call now” buttons within their in-stream ads.

For all the diversity in the click-to-call space, companies that use the technology can build an application once and field it across platforms, according to Colbert. “The device type does not play a role,” he says. “It makes no difference if you’re targeting a customer on Android, iPhone, or whatever else he’s using.”

Adding click-to-call is fairly easy to do, Colbert says. “It’s not difficult for a business if it’s running search ads already. It just needs to add the phone number and the call tracking,” he says.

Before launching a click-to-call strategy, contact centers will need to be outfitted to handle the extra call volume, Colbert also stresses. And all the technology has to be integrated so agents get the pertinent customer details—including IP address, location, device type, sites visited, and purchases already made—before picking up the call.

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