Why Phone Calls Are the New Mobile Conversion

This article was originally posted on No Jitter, here. Using click to call, your business can unleash a new source of high-value Web and mobile leads. As more consumers use smartphones to search for information while on the go, advertisers are embracing a new (old) way to connect with consumers by turning mobile searches and mobile ads into high-value phone leads. Several factors are fueling the mobile click-to-call trend. First, businesses realize that getting a prospective customer on the phone is one of the most highly prized forms of leads, with inbound calls converting to sales at a significantly higher rate. Next, mobile search lends itself well to phone-based conversions because consumers often find it difficult to type e-mail questions or engage in a Web chat while on the go. Many searches also take place in the car or other hands-free environments where consumers can now simply ask a personal digital assistant like Siri or Google Now to find (and call) a local business. This trend is only going to grow as consumers began to interact with smart watches and other devices using voice. According to Google research, 70% of all mobile searchers have called a business directly from search ads. Research firm BIA/Kelsey estimates that mobile search will generate more than 70 billion calls from consumers to businesses in 2018. Services like Google's click-to-call enable businesses to add a phone number to ads. When a consumer sees the ad on a mobile device, he or she is able to click a "call" button and be connected directly to the business. Google's new Website Call Conversions feature provides Web marketers a way to measure conversions for calls from their Web sites occurring after an ad click. Using these services, companies can then view reports showing the number of calls generated directly from mobile ads and from calls dialed using a phone number placed on one of their Web pages. This year, Twitter also began testing its own click-to-call service. According to Adweek, Mountain Dew generated 3,500 mobile phone calls from one click-to-call promotion tweet. While the prospect of moving beyond impressions and clicks to drive new, high-value, phone leads is appealing to businesses, it does raise some important questions around how to manage the exploding call volume. The following are a few recommendations for how to manage and optimize conversion from calls driven by mobile advertising. 1. Phone number placement. Remember that all calls are not created equal. You should carefully consider where you decide to place your phone number. Using click to call on a paid ad campaign can generate a lot of phone calls but are these the types of calls you want? Consider if your goal is just to drive volume or if you'd rather generate calls from sales prospects that have a particular interest in one of your products or services. One way to do this is by placing your phone number on individual landing pages, ensuring that only those prospects who are interested in the offer click to call. 2. Filtering and pre-qualifying callers. Another way to keep your sales reps from being overloaded with calls from "less than ideal" prospects is to do some pre-screening before connecting the call to a live person. Cloud contact center solutions provide easy-to-implement interactive voice response (IVR) features you can use to direct callers to the correct department -- sales or technical support, for example -- and to collect qualifying information from the caller using touch-tone or speech recognition. Calls are forwarded to an automated response, voice mailbox or to particular sales reps depending on information the caller has supplied. An even more efficient way of filtering mobile calls is to use a solution designed to be integrated with your mobile site or app and blends mobile self-service with options for the user to request a phone, Web or e-mail response. Five9's Visual IVR is an example. 3. Route calls based on the advertisement. Services like Google's Website Call Conversions let you generate and associate multiple phone numbers with specific ads. This is how Google tracks call conversions for each ad. Your contact center software can use those phone numbers to identify about which ad a prospect is calling, and then route callers to the person or team assigned to those unique offers. Contact center solutions can also supply you with a set of unique toll free and/or local numbers to associate with your ads, landing or Web pages. This can be useful if you don't want to limit yourself to one vendor's service or for services like Google's that regenerate phone numbers each 90 days. Here again the software will be able to route callers appropriately based on the digital marketing offer associated with the inbound number. 4. Arm your sales reps with the information to respond. Not only should your software solution be able to route calls based on the number called, but also be able to pop information onto the screen that can help your sales agents respond effectively. The pop-up could include information supplied by the caller along with information pulled from CRM records. This can help you to identify if you are talking to a new prospect or an existing customer and will allow your reps to view a complete history of the prospect's prior engagement with your brand, whether that had been over the phone or online. Pop-ups also can display sale scripts that can the rep explain the value of an offer to the caller. 5. Track your results. Google's move to track how many phone calls ads generate is a strong indication of the value advertisers place on phone calls. But Google isn't able to track what happens during and after the call. (If you want to track offline ad conversions, you'll need to record the phone sale and upload the conversions data to Google). Nor does Google track conversion information from other sources like Twitter, Yelp or Foursquare. For that you'll need a comprehensive reporting solution to track not only the call volume generated by mobile ads but also the results of those calls. You'll certainly want to know if a call resulted in a sale, the resolution of a problem or delivery of information per request. With businesses spending an estimated $64 billion this year on ads geared to driving calls to their businesses, the need to develop plans and implement solutions that help them respond is becoming more important than ever before. Richard Dumas is the director of product and solutions marketing for cloud contact software company Five9.

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